The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian: How to Look Great, Feel Fabulous, and Be a Better You

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Have you ever heard the term “veg-curious”? I learned this and several other cutesy vegetarian words while reading the The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian: How to Look Great, Feel Fabulous, and Be a Better You.

Veg-curious: Someone who is thinking about giving up meat, but isn’t quite sure what their particular brand of vegetarianism is going to look like.

The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian: How to Look Great, Feel Fabulous, and Be a Better You

I’m not sure that I could ever become a vegetarian but when the opportunity to review this book came up I was “veg-curious” enough to see if there may be some pointers for me. Funny enough, I’m not actually much of a meat fan (I do love seafood though). For the most part, I like to joke that I’m a “carbotarian”. Before reading this book I thought I could never become a vegetarian because of the whole “getting enough protein” thing. This book, written by Rachel Meltzer Warren, is targeted to teenage girls who are deciding if they’d like to give up meat, and need tips on what to say to their parents, or ideas on what to order at restaurants. With that said, I did gain quite a bit of insight on a topic that has always interested me. I think it’s a good read for all ages. When I was chatting with my friend about this book over lunch the other day she mentioned that she tried vegetarianism a bit when she was 15 but her parents weren’t very supportive of the idea. Had this book been around at that time, she’d have practical tips on what to say when someone asks “what is it that you actually eat anyway?”

Because this book is very much an intro-level, it’s got tips for various eating habits, even those who just want to try out Meatless Monday. I read the book via my Kindle, which I was hesitant to do at first. I thought it was going to be more like a cookbook, but it reads more like a story with advice and facts, with some recipes mixed in. Here’s the description from GoodReads:

“No labels. No fuss. It’s not about what you call yourself–it’s about how you feel. Whether you’re going vegan, vegetarian, fish-only, chicken-only, or all veggies except grandma’s famous pigs-in-a-blanket, this book is your new best friend.”

As Rachel says, “teenagers today think about food a lot more than teenagers in any previous generation. The reason: food is a much bigger part of the public’s consciousness than it ever has been”.

Throughout the book there are various tips for vegetarians, vegans, and even someone who still wants to have the occasional hamburger but wants a few vegetarian meals now and then – instead of constantly differentiating who can use these ideas, Rachel lovingly refers to everyone as “Vegheads”.

Here are a few Suggested Protein Sources for “Vegheads”

Suggested protein for Vegetarians & Vegans from the book The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian: How to Look Great, Feel Fabulous, and Be a Better You
Beans (kidney, black, garbonzo, lentils, cannellini, pinto… you get the idea), Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, peanuts) & Nut Butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc), Textured Vegetable Protein, Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, Edamame and Quinoa

Some of my favorite resources from the book:

  • Vegetarian friendly menu suggestions for popular restaurant chains like Panera Bread, Chipotle, Qdoba, PF Changs, California Pizza Kitchen
  • Several recipes:
    • I’m most looking forward to trying the “Big Banana Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookie.” Seriously, I could have been having cookies for breakfast all this time?
    • There’s a Mac’n’Cheese recipe that claims “you’ll never eat mac’n’cheese out of a box again after you see how easy it is to make this kicked up fancy mac.” I’ll use any excuse to eat my favorite “carbs covered in cheese” dish.
    • Mediterranean Pita Pocket
    • Lean Black Bean Soup
    • Unstuffed Peppers (stuffed with quinoa instead of meat)
  • This list of some famous vegetarians from the Myths & Realities about Vegetarians chapter in the book:
    List of some Famous Vegetarians from the book The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian
  • has a database for finding vegetarian friendly restaurants
  • is not exclusively vegetarian but there are several Veghead recipes
  • I’ve been familiar with for a while but I hadn’t thought about the fact that there are vegetarian and vegan meetups.

Some Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Dallas & surrounding areas:

About the author:

Rachel Meltzer Warren is a former twelve-year-old vegetarian who grew up to be a nutrition writer, educator, and counselor. She spends her time in and around NYC where she specializes in helping kids, teens, and parents cultivate a taste for healthful food. For more of Rachel’s work as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and information about how to set up an appointment for in-person or long-distance nutrition counseling, visit her website: RMW Nutrition

So if you are contemplating giving up meat, or know a young girl who’d like ideas on eating less meat in a way that works for her I’d recommend reading this book. The book was released January 7th, 2014. If you end up getting it for yourself or as a gift for someone please let me know!


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