From omnivore to vegetarian: 'No gray area'

Story highlights

  • Diets can be hard, especially in the food industry
  • A chef and 3 food writers describe making the shift from omnivores to vegetarians

(CNN)Atlanta Chef Linton Hopkins wanted to eat healthier and lose weight.

As a cancer survivor, he tried all kinds of diets, but the calorie-counting and portion-control did not work for his busy lifestyle, he said.
By comparison, giving up all animal products was easy to understand: "There's no gray area."
    Nudged on by his wife, he began experimenting with veganism in June 2014.
    Diets can be hard, especially if eating is your livelihood. Surprisingly, perhaps, some in the food world have found the path of least resistance through cutting out meat and, in some cases, dairy and fish.
    As their experience shows, changing up your regimen does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. But, if the best diet is the one you can stick to, making a lifestyle change that you believe in might be easier than cutting out one or two things at a time.
    Making vegetables 'crave-able'
    Vegetable cookery was familiar terrain to Hopkins, a James Beard award-winning Southern chef. Despite the region's reputation for BBQ and fried chicken, Southern food leans heavily on vegetables, even if they are often cooked in fatback o