Eating healthy is all the rage. Everyone seems to want to find a way to improve their energy, lose weight, and feel better every second of the day. As a result, a lot of people are looking for simple, effective diets to shift toward, with one of the most popular choices being that of the vegetarian diet. Eating vegetarian has been proven to improve one’s health, but how do you make the change from a standard diet to a no-meat diet? Here’s a little guide to help you out.
First, no one is expecting you to quit meat cold turkey (thought you should probably lay off the cold turkey). Like many things, you need to ease yourself into the diet slowly, particularly in this case as your body is probably used to getting a lot of its nutrition from meat of all sorts. As a result, you’ll need to plan ahead and incorporate a lot of replacements, such as adding nuts and beans to your diet to compensate for the amount of protein lost from giving up meat.
With this transition, you may even want to consider an alternative, “half-step” vegetarian diet of either a flexitarian or a pescetarian choice. With a flexitarian diet, you still consider yourself a vegetarian but you have certain times when you allow yourself to consume meat, such as a designated day or you make a rule only to eat meat when a family member offers it to you at a dinner party or something. The goal is still to cut meat from your life, but you don’t have to do it all at once.
A pescetarian diet on the other hand is a vegetarian diet, except it also includes fish. Now, if you’re a vegetarian based on the ethical reasons and that’s why you’ve switched, this diet probably won’t be for you, but those simply looking for a healthy alternative will find that fish is still considered very lean and overall very healthy because of the high amount of iodine in it. You can, however, still get all your vitamins and minerals simply from fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Once you’ve made the real switch to the new diet, make sure to inform your friends and family in a way that doesn’t act like you’re trying to separate yourself from them. They do need to know that this isn’t just some fad you’re going through and is instead a real life decision that you made for health, ethic, or ecological reasons. Basically, you’ll want to ask for their support rather than their judgment or indifference. This is an important milestone in your life, so build a network of allies that will be willing to help you see your goal through.
From here, it’s just a matter of staying consistent. It always helps to search around on the Internet for vegetarian and vegan recipes as you’ll soon discover that you aren’t missing a step when it comes to flavor and variety. New recipes and ideas are appearing every day that go to show that vegetarian diets can be fantastic. Just make sure that you’re getting your proper nutrition as new vegetarians tend to forget to focus on all areas of a balanced diet rather than just “if it’s a vegetable, it must be good for me.”
Good luck in your new life as a vegetarian! May the journey be enjoyable and, above all, delicious!