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After having a conversation with a few close friends (who aren't vegetarian), they've said that the same thing has been happening with them. People (at least in my world) just seem to be eating less and less meat, drifting towards fish and poultry (rather than red meat), or eating more and more soy derivatives.

This is certainly the case for my older brother and parents. They eat far less red meat, and my brother and his wife are buying "vegetarian" products to get more soy. Indeed, I know more than a handful of people who (at least) buy soy milk and the veggie "chicken" patties.

(Personally, I often eat tofu cold out of the container, but I also enjoy the processed soy products.)

As a sidenote, my parents were very supportive of me when I decided to quit eating meat at age 18. My mom didn't fix me fancy vegetarian dishes, but she would cook my food (e.g., chili) in another pot without the meat. Like most of us in the U.S., I grew up in a "meat and side dishes" household. So, one of the biggest changes over the years for me has been eating fewer "side dishes without the meat" meals and more interesting meals that just happen to lack meat.

A great thing that vegetarianism does is "force" you to eat a wide variety of foods, which makes dinner a lot more interesting. When I have a family I won't have to worry about "meatloaf tuesdays"!

I would like to see "vegetarian option" or "vegetarian entree" used less. Since anybody can buy or order it, it is a "meatless entree" and not a "vegetarian entree". I have seen a few menus that do say "meat-free" rather than "vegetarian". I think that's great because it makes it clear that you don't have to be a vegetarian to eat a meal that doesn't include meat.

I'm not so sure it is cheaper to be a vegetarian, at least not compared to a typical meat dominated diet. My wife and I buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, no junk food (e.g., chips, snack cakes), very little processed food (e.g., frozen dinners), and occassionally we will buy a 2 liter of soda. Yet, we spend a little over 100 dollars a week at the grocery for two people.

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