Message from Montie

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So you think you can be a vegetarian?

Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at


Hot water cornbread, vegetarian black eyed peas and vegetarian collard greens, cooked by Shamontiel

Telling someone I'm a vegetarian always leads to three types of conversations--the fascinating conversation, the bonding conversation or the frustrating conversation. The frustration happens when someone chooses to accuse a vegetarian (or a vegan) of being unhealthy, needing meat in their lives and the indifferent attitude about slaughterhouses. The fascinating conversations are the ones I have with people who are interested in eating healthier or trying the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle but really just don't know where to start and ask for advice. The bonding conversations are the ones I have with people who act like a Chicago south sider would if he (or she) went to another state and saw someone rocking an entire outfit of the Chicago White Sox. You just want to walk up and hug the person for rooting for your team.


When I first became a vegetarian, I was hit with questions left and right about how and what do I eat, and I really didn't know what I was doing. I just knew I didn't want to eat meat or fish anymore. I went from gaining about fifteen pounds because I was eating fatty foods all day long to having to go see a doctor because of dizzy spells when I calmed down on the fat.


If you don't have someone who can give you advice on how to transition from an omnivore to a vegetarian or a vegan, it can be tiresome. You may just decide to give up. But don't. Here are a list of articles and blogs I've written over the years since becoming a pescatarian in 2004 to a lacto vegetarian in 2005. Read on to check out the links that include healthy eating, news, radio and print interviews, recipes, restaurants, vegan shopping advice and Web site networking.





"Feeding a Vegan Thanksgiving Guest: Six Vegan Recipes"


"Healthy Eating Tips for Business Travelers"

 "How to Be a Soul Food Vegetarian"


"How to Become a Soul Vegetarian"


"How to Feed a Vegetarian in a Family of Meat Eaters"


"How to Find Vegetarian Substitutes"


"Parents Packing Healthy Back-to-School Lunches"





"African-Americans could fare well with vegetarianism"


"Chicago Soul Vegetarian East and Eternity Juice Bar Restaurants shut down for 1,000 mice droppings"

"Chicago's VeganMania celebrates all things vegan on Oct. 10"


"Chipotle restaurant supports humane farming and 'Food, Inc.' film, not factory farming"


"Hundreds of veggie friendly Chicagoans celebrated Chicago VeganMania"


"KMT Health Food Store on Chicago's south side holds its first health fair in 2009"


"Movie Review: 'Food, Inc.' screening at ICE Theaters gives food education"


"Music group The Myriad partners with HSUS to promote animal rights"


"Soul Vegetarian and Eternity Juice Bar restaurants re-open after passing city inspection"


"Soul Vegetarian restaurant creates Feed the People Program campaign for 350's Oct. 24 International Day of Climate Action"


"Vegetarians Receive Discount Healthcare in the Netherlands"





EarthSaveRadio interview with Earth Save International's Executive Director Caryn Hartglass





"How to Cook Jerk BBQ Tofu"


"How to Make Vegetarian Black Eyed Peas"


"How to Make Vegetarian Collard Greens"


"How to Prepare Hot Water Cornbread"


Recommended, not written by Shamontiel: "The Ethnic Vegetarian"


Recommended, not written by Shamontiel: "The Tofu Cookbook: Over 150 Quick and Easy Recipes"


Recommended, not written by Shamontiel: "The Vegetarian Alternative: A Guide to a Helpful and Humane Diet"





"Alice & Friends is now Loving Hut, Chicago vegans check out restaurant changes"


"Alice & Friends' Vegetarian Café Has Great Food"


"Chicago Protein Bar restaurant owner embraces healthy eating lifestyle and protein diet"


"Chicago Restaurant Review: 5 Loaves Breakfast Café"


"Chicago Restaurant Review: Quench!"


"Chicago Restaurant Review: Vegetarian Life Makes Life Easier"


"Chipotle Restaurants Support 'Food, Inc.' Film and Humane Farming"


"Chicago Vegan Restaurant Alice & Friends is Now Loving Hut"


"Loving Hut vegan restaurant replaces Alice & Friends on north side of Chicago"


"Noodles & Company: Great for Vegetarians and Meat Eaters Alike"


"Protein Bar makes healthy eating in Chicago that much easier"


"Soul Food Vegetarian East Restaurant"


"South Side Chicago vegetarian restaurants like Quench and Vegetarian Life bring healthy dishes"





"Holiday Shopping for the Eco-Friendly, Vegan or Vegetarian Friend"


"How to Find Animal Friendly Clothes and Vegan Shop"


"How to find animal friendly, cruelty-free perfumes and colognes"

"How to Shop for a Vegan"





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Literary Nobody said:


This was an excellent post! I will definitely be reading the articles so I can become well educated while I am making the transition.

Message from Montie said:


Thank you for checking it out. People would come by this article or that article or this recipe and that interview by me and finally I got enough time to put all of my links in one cohesive blog. I've been getting a lot of good feedback from doing this. I hope it helps with your transition.

1StarDancer said:

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I became a vegetarian literally overnight...April 2006...after watching a slaughterhouse video on PETA's website. Have learned much since then although I started because of the horribly cruel and inhumane treatment of animals. I feel it is morally repugnant to torture, brutalize, and slaughter harmless, helpless animals just to "satisfy" our appetites. There is a karmic debt that will become me! I feel great and have a wonderful peaceful attitude and well...just plain inner peace. I do, however, get really aggravated at the stupidity of people, just eating all the crappy meat because they are brainwashed and cannot think on their own. I'm starting a blog about is definitely my biggest passion.

Message from Montie said:


1StarDancer, I do agree that slaughterhouses are a sick and twisted business. But one thing I don't do is try to force people or guilt trip them into eating the way I eat. I've found time and time again that when I just eat my usual diet, family and friends become curious and want to try out what I'm eating. My grandfather said he wouldn't eat soy milk until he saw a soy cow. But he kept seeing me drink soy milk and then I looked in his fridge and saw Silk. My parents were put off by tofu and soy products from what they heard, but my mother has gone to many vegetarian restaurants with me and found dishes she liked. My father has even tried a few things. Same goes for my brother who is the epitome of a meat and potatoes man. I'm saying this to say you have some very strong opinions about eating meat and the vegetarian life. If you want to get people to start eating and living like you do, you'll probably be able to succeed with it by just showing them the health benefits instead of calling them "repugnant" and talking about "karmic debts." This is the reputation that vegetarians and vegans have stamped across our foreheads and I don't think it's the way to go.

I'll give you another example. A Twitter user I used to follow kept sending tweets about how much she didn't understand about why African-Americans celebrate Christmas and how the holiday wasn't meant for us and how we spend too much money on gifts we can't afford, etc. While some of what she was saying may be true, she was putting people off by basically attacking them for their beliefs instead of tweeting about things that would help us understand the lifestyle. I was so annoyed I stopped following her. I think we have a world of vegetarians and vegans that do the same. This is why although I do respect what PETA does I think they come on too strong sometimes.

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