Eating vegetarian has never been an option for me but a particular friend of mine has grown up as a vegetarian. Her story was actually quite interesting because she didn't become a vegetarian for the moral reasons a lot of people choose to not eat meat. She also didn't care much about the health reasons for eating meat either.
You might be asking, well, what is the reason for being a vegetarian if health, or morals aren't the reason? Well for her, it is down to the taste of meat which she cannot stand one bit. Apparently, the taste of meat (even artificial meat) is enough to make her want to vomit.
For this reason, she became a vegetarian around the age that she was old enough to make a decision to not eat meat and express her dislike of the taste.
In China, growing up as a vegetarian presents a lot of difficulty and she said how she had to stop herself taking bribes from family members all the time, trying to coax her into eating meat. Sometimes it was money, other times it was direct threats. The the worst of it all is actually the false information given to her to try scare her into eating meat. Things like "you won't be able to have children", "you won't grow tall", "you'll grow spots". All of these excuses have been used to try trick her into eating meat, but amazingly, even as a young girl, she was headstrong and didn't oblige.
Today, my friend takes a lot of pride in her vast diet of vegetables and fruits, and she also knows how to get a good balance of nutrition without having to touch meat. This is often one of the initial challenges being a vegetarian - finding the substitutes for sources of protein and zinc.
Being vegetarian doesn't mean that you have to eat a bland and boring diet though, because as the pictures show, they can be colorful and really delicious too!
This is actually a sort of pre-dessert made with primarily coconut milk and sago balls. Pineapple and dragon fruit are added for effect.
Of course, salads also serve a big role in her diet and filling up calories usually involves some form of cous cous or quinoa. Early on, she told me she struggled with chronic fatigue, she thought that it might be something like anaemia but it turned out that she wasn't getting enough carbohydrates and was eating too much vegetables and not enough carbs.
Personally, I haven't really thought about being a vegetarian seriously before. In my younger days, I used to think about being a vegetarian because there was a lot of silly talk about how it could make you healthily skinny. But that's not technically or directly true.
If there ever was a reason for me to become a vegetarian, it would be because I couldn't deal with how the animals are dispatched or slaughtered. A moral dilemma worth thinking about!