Becoming a vegetarian can seem like a daunting process. Here, some advice from someone who's been there.

It's hard to tell people why I became a vegetarian. I try not to flaunt my lifestyle, but it comes up. I don't want to sound preachy, radical or condescending. Why would I continue to live this lifestyle if it can cause embarrassing situations? Because I don't feel right eating cognitive creatures; I know that my choices are saving the environment; and my body is not pumped full of fats, chemicals and growth hormones. There, I got preachy, radical and condescending out of the way.

Most people who try vegetarianism do so for a very non-politically charged reasonthey want to lose weight. A friend of mine who was a self proclaimed "Kentucky meat and potatoes gal" wanted to lose weight and thought being vegetarian might be an effective diet. She came to me with a list of questions that anyone considering a diet switch would have. If you are thinking about trying vegetarianism, or maybe just want to try some meatless meals, here are some of the starter tips I gave "Kentucky meat and potatoes gal."

1. Start smallCut out red meat and wild game first. This is a gradual change. I still ate poultry and fish for a year after I gave up red meat.

2. Make vegetarian versions of your favorite meals-Replace the beef in burritos with beans and grilled veggies, try vegetarian beef crumbles from Morningstar Farms, or make spaghetti with marinara sauce and add roasted vegetables instead of meatballs. If others in your household don't want to make the switch, no problem! Make meat for them and serve it on the side. I do this for my husband and we never have any mealtime issues.

3. Start taking a daily multi-vitaminIf you are not already doing this, you should be. A daily vitamin will supplement the nutrients you may be missing when you start cutting out meat.

4. Educate yourselfYou might not agree with everything PETA does, but they are a great resource on how to go vegetarian. They have lists of recipes, meal plans and food facts that can help you choose vegetables with more protein. Other websites to try are: www.vegfamily.com and www.vegcooking.com.

5. It's okay to backslideIf you cave and have some wings at a tailgate, don't beat yourself up. It's a long process and it takes time, but in the end you will be rewarded with a healthier new you.