BEING a vegetarian is a personal choice that many are now making and have been for some time. There are however, a few inevitable realities you'll live with.
Food gets harder to find, and people want to take your food
This isn't because your food is somehow inferior or inadequate.
It's because, while most "red-blooded" Aussies will deny that food without meat in it is any good, they will dive on it once it's presented to them.
When you go to a function where you have had to specifically request a vegetarian meal, nine times out of 10 it looks more delicious and appealing than whatever the omnivores are eating... and they will want to try some.
You're now the minority, and everyone wants your basil-infused pumpkin lasagne which you are now forced to defend.
Once you're done giving everyone a try, you can settle back down and enjoy your last two spoonfuls while trays and trays of meaty dinner go unloved because others have been sated on your vegetarian cuisine.
Try sitting on a long-haul flight on a plane and watch the meal envy when you're presented with a container of hot steamed veggies, fried rice and sweet and sour sauce and your fellow fliers are stuck with rehydrated potato and some kind of beef-like substance.
Food outlets like bakeries and some cafes also still treat "vegetarian" food like some kind of strange entity from a far-away swamp, making very small numbers of vegetarian foods which tend to sell out first thing in the morning, leading to many a hungry veggie having their hopes dashed.
Why not just make more vegetarian food if it sells so well? Who knows.
You will eat a heck of a lot of chips
If you have friends who like fast food joints or steak houses, if you want to keep up social eating you will eat chips.
Chips are usually the only vegetarian option at many establishments, and it can't always be avoided.
If you want to risk your friends rolling their eyes, you could always suggest you go somewhere else to buy another meal then meet them back at the original destination, but sometimes that just gets awkward.
If you have planned your evening you can pack a meal or try to have dinner somewhere else, but plans can't always be stuck to, especially if you're travelling or have to eat somewhere late at night.
Any time anyone finds out you're vegetarian, they will ask you if you eat fish and chicken
Not many things bother me as a vegetarian.
I feed my dogs meat, my family eats meat, my friends eat meat. I'm not precious about it, even though I stick to my convictions like 100% vegan, horse-free glue.
Would I like a magical vegetarian world to happen overnight? You bet your beef burger I would, but alas, I've accepted it won't happen this century.
There's one thing I do reserve the right to be precious about though... and that's when people either assume I eat fish and chicken, or tell me I can because it's still "vegetarian".
There's a term for people who don't eat red meat, and it's pollo-pescetarian.
People who just eat fish? Well they're simple pescetarian.
The last time I checked, fish and chicken were not plants.
Perhaps even sadder is when a pollo-pescetarian calls themselves a vegetarian.
And after I tell you I don't eat fish or chicken, please, please, please... don't then follow up with "well, what do you eat then?"
Because I will probably answer with something equally as obvious, like "everything that's not in the meat section at the supermarket".
People will start to "know" more about your health than you do
A lot of omnivores will just go on their merry way after inquiring about your status on fish and chicken and questioning you on how you manage to harvest enough moss and pond slime to sustain yourself on a daily basis, but some feel the need to push the envelope.
My vegetarianism was a personal choice made at a very young age and was my choice alone, it's also one that I've stuck to for 20 years and plan to continue for the rest of my life.
Yet people seem to feel the need to educate, and lecture, on the "dangers" of being vegetarian while thinking they are doing me a favour.
The fact is, at the end of the day, I'm just like anyone else.
I can exercise, go on long walks, lift things, run and be just as healthy as the next guy (or girl, for that matter).
Would a vegetarian diet be detrimental if you only ate bad food? Yes, but any diet would be if you lived off nutritionally devoid ingredients.
I've never suffered a serious deficiency, and my blood tests are always healthy.
I'm not a martyr for a cause and I know how to take care of my own health.
Sometimes I don't get sick for years, sometimes I catch every bug going - just like everyone else I know, but the sad thing is that if I do get a bout of the flu, someone somewhere will blame it on me being vegetarian and seek to "educate" me on why I need a steak ASAP.
It will become a 'thing'
People will joke about it, point you out, talk about it and question you on it for the rest of your days.
Some people will even avoid you over it.
But if it's a choice you've made and one you're happy with, keep it up, and enjoy the myriad delicious vegetarian meals (and lots of hot chips).