Just worked out that I've been vegetarian for almost 30 years... that's three quarters of my life come November!
Over the years the vegetarian food has progressed and expanded so much, thankfully. 30 years ago, if you were a vegetarian the place you were buying from just left off the meat and added more veg or rice or pasta or whatever back then... not any more though! Now you have entire food brands dedicated to vegetarians and the meat alternatives really are very close to the meat they are replacing!
Just as an example, if cooked meaty mince and vegetarian mince and put them onto two separate plates, even a hardened meat eater wouldn't be able to tell which was which!
The taste is different, so they are more easily told apart from taste, but there are whole varieties of food that are different, like tofu and soya and things like that as well as nut roasts, vegetarian sausages, vegetarian cottage pies, soya milk, "steak" and onion pies, vegetable fingers etc etc and shops are doing their own brand vegetarian foods too!
Even 20 years ago you'd be looking to pay through the roof for even the most basic vegetarian food you could find in the supermarket... it wasn't unheard of to pay getting on for double the price for vegetarian foods compared to meat versions of the same stuff, for example, a packet of frozen meat mince was 50p or whatever, but the vegetarian mince was getting on for being £1 or more for the same amount!
Vegetarian foods are still more expensive than the meat version, but it's been getting more affordable slowly but surely. Steve can get a 2 pint bottle of dairy milk for about £1 and the same volume of soya milk (I'm allergic to dairy so I've got no choice unfortunately) is about £1.50 or £1.80 or something but 30 years ago you'd be paying a double that for a pint of soya milk... assuming you could find anywhere that had even heard of soya milk!!
Eating out is a lot easier for vegetarians too... you at least have more of a choice (usually vegetarian lasagne or mac 'n' cheese) even at the smaller, independant pubs, whereas places like the Harvester has several choices for not much more expensive than meaty food!
People don't look at you as if you're from a different planet when you tell them you're vegetarian now... veganism still causes a few raised eyebrows occasionally, but vegetarianism is getting towards being considered "normal" at last now!
Roll on Novemberish kinda time then it'll be 30 years under me belt!