woman standing on deck with mountain ridge behindThis testimonial written by Bertha Bond.  Being a vegetarian is one of the better accomplishments of my life. I used to think it was really a hard thing to do, but it is actually an easy lifestyle. There are different ways you can approach being a vegetarian. I have been a Lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means I drink milk and I eat eggs, since July 2004. I began my vegetarian lifestyle as a way of cleaning up my system from fatty meat-filled foods to a leaner healthier lifestyle. Entering my forties wasn’t an easy task for me. My body and mind were not working together. I had gotten to the point where I was really not taking care of myself and was overweight with medical problems. So I vowed to take better care of myself and there is no better way to do this than exercise and a healthy diet. I knew that if I went back to the basics with my eating habits, I would lose weight, uplift my mood, and regain the energy I once had before.

My family reacted positively to the change in me. My daughter calls me a “fast-food vegetarian” because I am not a person who likes cooking. But with the wonderful Down to Earth stores I can buy foods that are easy to make and also not worry about pesticides and other chemicals in my food. I come out knowing that everything I bought at Down to Earth (even the meatless hot dogs) are pesticide and nitrate free! So even if you don’t have the time or don’t like cooking, Down to Earth has everything you need to lead a “fast-food” healthy life. My son often asks, “Mom, are we going to Down to Earth anytime soon?” He likes shopping there. He even said that he wanted to be a chef. I think he likes helping me cook. It is fun for me and educational for him because he learns that there are options and choices you can make.

Two of the foods that you can buy and use in place of meat are tofu and tempeh, which takes on the flavor of different foods. Stir-fry is the greatest! Instead of stir-frying meat, I use tofu. My son, who is sometimes a picky eater, could not tell the difference when I cooked him a Tomato Basil Hamburger that was vegetarian. He loved it and wanted another! I was happy to do that because I feel really good when I am feeding my family the best kinds of food. You should do it too!

I know that the prices might be a bit more, but think of the healthy choices you are making for yourself and your children, and you will see that it is well worth it. You can start off slow by introducing a vegetarian hamburger here and a tofu stir-fry there… You would be surprised at the response from your family if you slowly introduce meatless dishes in your menus. My mother, who is 82, likes it when I try a new dish, most of the time it is a winner.

Even my doctor seems impressed that I am a vegetarian! Sometimes, when I go for an appointment, I share food choices that I make with them. You would think a doctor would already know these things, but most people eat what they want and do not think about what they are eating, even doctors.

One way you can learn about the different ways of cooking and buying vegetarian ingredients is by watching the TV series, Tasty and Meatless. It is a fun way to look at the vegetarian lifestyle and learn how you too can make healthier choices for your family.

So, whether you are a mother with little time, a college student (like my daughter) who doesn’t like to cook, or a child under the watchful care of your parents, you too can lead a much healthier life. Just start off slowly and, before you know it, you’ll be cooking healthy meatless meals like a pro. And if not, you could always be a Fast-Food Vegetarian like me! Good luck and healthy eating!