First things first, let me get one thing straight: this is not a post in which I try to convince anyone to become vegetarian. This is a post for those who are interested in becoming a vegetarian and are committed to giving it a try. With that being said, as I approach the one year anniversary of becoming a vegetarian, I thought it would be fun to share some of my tips for going vegetarian for you all! If you’re interested in trying the vegetarian life check out this post!
Do your research. Look into the health benefits of going vegetarian or vegan, look into the meat industry and the way in which animals are treated, look at some of the ecological and environmental effects that meat production has on the earth. The more you know, the better you’ll feel about your decision. Also decide what kind of vegetarian you want to be. Do you want to cut out meat, but still eat seafood (pescatarian)? Do you want to cut out meat altogether (a typical vegetarian)? Or do you want to cut out all animal products, including eggs and dairy (vegan)? Get informed and make a choice!
Decide your reasons for going vegetarian. People will constantly ask you why you decided to become a vegetarian, and sometimes when the cravings set in you too will wonder why you ever decided to make such a huge lifestyle change. That’s why it’s important to have a concrete reason for going vegetarian to keep in the back of your mind. Are you against animal cruelty and the lack of standards in the meat industry? Do you want to eat healthier and embrace a more plant based, nutrient rich diet? Or do you believe that vegetarianism helps the environment by reducing the carbon footprint that goes along with raising and processing meat? Whatever your reason, make up your mind and research it. It will totally help you through this process and give you valuable insight into the benefits of the veg life!
Slowly ween yourself off meat products and try a variety of vegetarian options. Start by having a vegetarian day once a week, or one meal each day. Then, slowly increase the amount of plant-based foods you eat and decrease the meat. Cut out red meat, then poultry, then seafood if you choose. Try a variety of vegetarian dishes. Try out things like soy, tempeh, and daiya cheese if your going vegan and decide if the change is something you could see yourself commiting to long term. Check out the wealth of vegan/vegetarian restaurants out there. You may be thinking “what will I eat” but there is actually a ton of variety where plant/soy based diets are concerned and many damn good meat alternatives too! Just search your local veggie joints, there are more and more popping up all the time since the healthier lifestyle is being embraced by so many nowadays!
Pace Yourelf! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a total diet change wont happen in a day either. Set out for gradually going completely vegetarian for a month, and analyze how you feel and how you like it. Don’t go into it thinking that it’s forever, and don’t beat yourself up if you slip or you realize that after the month vegetarianism just isn’t for you. Simply the effort of trying is commendable, and may be just one step on your vegetarian journey.
Don’t forget to get adequate amounts of vitamins and protein. Often after switching to a vegetarian diet, certain vitamins and nutrients your body usually gets from meat are no longer consumed in a high enough quantity unless you are diligent about replacing meat with specific foods that also contain similar levels of certain things like iron and protein. Do your research and you will find that it is actually not difficult to obtain those things through many plant based foods like tofu, quinoa and beans plus many more! You should be consuming a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and protein which easily can be gained from fruits, veggies, grains, legumes and soy products. Your diet should be contributing most of the valuable things your body needs like iron and protein, but sometimes it’s hard to get all of the important stuff in through diet alone, which is where vitamins step in!
Learn to cook. Even though more and more vegetarian options can be found at restaurants, and many vegetarian eateries are popping up, learning to cook and make your own meals can really help you in becoming a vegetarian and save money. I personally love going on Pinterest and searching vegetarian meals, and finding ways to recreate some of my old meat favourites into vegetarian masterpieces. Trust me when I say that cooking vegetarian is a fun adventure filled with flavour and new tastes!
Hope this helps! If you’re already a vegetarian, feel free to share some of your own tips in the comments below!