What's the best way to get someone to give up meat? Insults and scare tactics aren't among the methods with the highest success rates. Yet the name-calling between wanton carnivores and devout vegetarians persists—and escalated this week with Pamela Anderson's disproportionate response to Jessica Simpson's "Real Girls Eat Meat" shirt.
PETA responded with some name-calling of its own, while other bloggers leapt to Simpson's defense. Though it's a silly fight between silly celebrities, it's representative of the heated arguments that occur over the dinner table between noncelebrities all the time. So since it's obvious that name-calling will not turn Simpson (or anyone else, for that matter) away from a delicious burger, Chris Baskind of Lighter Footstep offers some tips for going veg, gradually. After you make the switch, you can get a T-shirt of your own.
Start Small: Pick one day out of the week to be your "veggie day" and stick with it. By essentially making an appointment with vegetarianism, you're confronting the big stumbling block for new Veggies—planning.
Convenience is Your Friend: Almost all grocery stores have a frozen vegetarian food section these days. Annie's Naturals, Boca Burger, Eden Foods, Fantastic Foods, Gardenburger, Morningstar, and dozens of others sell an incredible range of veggie, organic, and vegan entrees—all ready for quick preparation on your range or in the microwave.
Get Tools of the Trade: A blender and a food processor are veggie essentials, particularly as you move into more complicated recipes.
Study Up: Vegetarian cookbooks are hot. You'll find everything from books which help you replicate traditional recipes—veggie style—to ethnic cooking, to the uncharted waters of the truly avant-garde.
Try Some Vegetarian Restaurants: Make the rounds and try different things on the menus. It won't be long before you develop favorites. Take the ideas you pick up and try them in your own kitchen.
(More on these tips can be found here. — MJ)
If you, like Simpson, believe that real girls (and guys) eat meat and can't bear to give it up, look here for tips on how to be a responsible carnivore. One great meat-lover's tip: Support your local butcher. You're cutting out food miles, and your steak will be fresher and probably more delicious.