It's Not Such a Tough Road, It Just Seems Like One.

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Disclaimer: This is just "my" recommendation. Both sides of the issue, be they carnivores or vegans, may and will offer alternate advice, I'm just sharing my plan and thoughts. If you are reading this and contemplating going vegetarian, the most important advice is that you do what you feel is right for you.

STEP 1:  Give up red meat today.

This means pork too.  That "other white meat" stuff is not even worthy 
of an explanation.  Regardless, doing so will be good for your health 
anyway.  It immediately decreases the amount of toxins in your body 
and you don't throw your system into "shock" by changing years of diet
overnight (hence, my theory on why sometimes beginning vegetarians 
may look a little "pasty").  

STEP 2:  Plan to give up chicken and any other land animals.

Do this when you feel comfortable after having completed STEP1.  For 
me personally, it was about six months later.  I believe the red meat 
"de-weening" period has prepared your body for this change.  You have 
made a graduated change and are now processing less toxins on a daily  
basis.  You may likely notice that you generally feel better 
physically.  Personally, I would suffer illnesses a lot less after 
this period.  Regardless, you should feel better mentally, knowing 
that you are no longer contributing to the cruelty of factory farming.
P.S. Land animals includes all birds (read poultry).

STEP 3:  Start taking different fish out of your diet.

If you want to, feel free to stop right here (see *** below).  My
recommendation is to selectively begin removing fish from your diet 
one to two years after you've given up all land animals.  Lobsters 
should be one of the first things to go, unless you're content in the
knowledge of them being boiled alive.  Crabs too.  For me, I removed 
the "meatiest" of the fishes first.  Come up with whatever system 
works for you.  Not only should you be reducing the types of fish you 
eat, you should also be reducing how often you eat any seafood.  Start
at maybe once a week , then move towards once a month.  Start with 
swordfish, then move towards shrimp (essentially, further away from 
your species).

STEP 4:  Look for other ways to reduce your "cruelty-intake."

This step can begin at any time.  Before, after, or even during the 
other steps.  As long as you are contributing financially to a company
that abuses animals, they will not change their ways.  Battery hen 
conditions are truly sickening (and unhealthy).  Buy eggs only from 
"free-range" producers (sure they may cost a little more, but do you 
really want to help perpetuate cruelty).  Perhaps, you could try egg 
substitutes.  Be on the lookout for products that contain gelatin 
(ground up hooves, etc.), these are products like Jell-O, some ice 
creams, some yogurts.  Leather?  Your call.  You get the point.

NOTE A:  Don't get too worked up over it all!

The most important thing is that you feel good about yourself and what
you are doing.  My philosophy has always been that we are either part 
of the problem or part of the solution.  It's easy to beat one's self 
up about not going all the way vegan, but I feel that this is counter-
productive.  Every little bit you do helps.  So, don't get worked up 
over something like that your grandmother, who, despite not budging on
changing her learned diet one bit, at least agrees to give her fur 
coats to charity or toss them out.  She is now "part of the solution."
Change, be it for yourself, or the world, is gradual.

NOTE B:  You do not have to go "all out" from Day One.

Occasionally, you will get cornered by a carnivore and harassed about 
"claiming to be a vegetarian but still wearing leather shoes." Your 
response could simply be "well, you may be butt ugly, but your Mom 
still loves you and that doesn't make sense either"  It's not about 
being either an absolute saint or sinner.  It is not a black or white 
issue.  It is complex and there are many levels/shades of gray in 

"The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step."
       -- Lao Tzu