10 Practical Tips On How To Become A Vegetarian
Becoming a vegetarian certainly isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone. I’ve had a few friends come up to me to tell me how much they admire my dietary and lifestyle choice.
“I’d love to become a vegetarian myself,” they say. “I mean, I love animals.”
“So, what’s stopping you?” – I ask.
“I just don’t have the will power. And, you know, bacon. It tastes so good. I don’t think I could imagine a world without bacon.”
Giving up your favourite meats isn’t easy (I know, believe me, I know), but sometimes you have to ask yourself why you want to become a vegetarian in the first place. After all, if you believe passionately enough about something, you’ll be willing to make a few sacrifices – including eliminating bacon from your diet.
If you’re looking to eat healthier, or if you care too much about animals to continue eating them, let’s take a look at 10 practical tips on how to become a vegetarian.
Have A Solid Reason
Ask yourself why you really want to become a vegetarian.
Do you want to become one because it’s suddenly become trendy and hip?
Or do you want to become one because you care deeply about animals and can’t be a part of their inhumane treatment any longer?
Perhaps you want to become a vegetarian because you want to lose some weight. Only, you’ve been trying to lose weight for five years and keep relapsing into your old habits. In which case, you might also find it hard to stick it out being a vegetarian.
Or perhaps you simply want to get healthier and cut fat from your diet.
I’ve seen people choose to become a vegetarian because of a bad episode of food poisoning involving meat, and I’ve seen folk convert because they want to help the environment.
If your reason is strong enough, you will have a much better chance of sticking to a vegetarian diet.
Another good tip on how to become a vegetarian is to start slowly.
One of the reasons newbie vegetarians fail to stick to their new diet is because they eliminate all meats in one go. They essentially go cold turkey straight off the bat.
This works for some but certainly not for all. You could take it really slow by cutting out poultry in week one, ham in week two, beef in week three and so on.
You’re not in a race to become a vegetarian here, and sometimes it’s better to ease yourself into it.
Find Exciting Recipes
Next good tip on how to become a vegetarian is to find exciting recipes.
When I first became a vegetarian, my friends said that I’d become “boring.”
“So, all you’re going to eat now is tomatoes and lettuce?” they’d snipe.
Not at all. Personally, I was bored of eating the same junk since I was a child. The same meat dishes, the same burgers and fries, the same pizza toppings.
When you become vegetarian, your eyes are opened to a whole new world of possibilities. You start trying foods you’d never heard of before, and you start experimenting with all kinds of awesome dishes.
I recently started cooking with quinoa. Six months ago I’d never heard of it, while beetroot risotto is now firmly one of my favourite ever dishes.
And a Mexican breakfast instead of bacon and sausages? Yes, please!
Take A Vegetarian Cooking Class
This is another good tip on how to become a vegetarian: if you’re unsure about where to start with your new ingredients, why not taking a vegetarian cooking class? This will be super helpful.
Don’t Worry If Others Don’t Embrace Your New Diet
I knew a girl who decided that she would become a militant vegetarian overnight. She was the kind of girl who everyone knew made rash, impulsive decisions, and one day she decided that she would change her diet because of a documentary she watched.
She also expected everyone around her to follow her lead. She started cooking vegetarian meals for her family and friends, and practically forced a new diet down their necks.
They weren’t buying it, though. For some reason, this made her change her own mind. If she couldn’t get others to follow her new fad, she was no longer interested.
Listen, not everyone is going to embrace your new diet, no matter how ethical it is. There will be doubters, and you might have to be the only one who is eating a non-meat dish at your table. But you need to have the courage to see this through. You need to be prepared to be different.
Next important tip on how to become a vegetarian is to read as much information on this subject as possible. The saying that knowledge is power is definitely true. The more knowledge you have about vegetarianism before you become a convert, the more you will be able to stick it out.
I suggest that you read up as much as you can about the subject before you fully commit to it. Buy some books, read a few articles and blogs. Find out whether it really is for you before telling your friends and family that you’re changing your diet.
Find A Substitute
You will need a substitute for all that meat you’re used to eating, otherwise you will literally starve.
Meat substitutes include micro-protein (otherwise known as Quorn), soy, grains and seeds.
Try Something New Each Week
You will become bored and miserable if you eat the same vegetarian dishes week in, week out. There are SO many recipe ideas that you can try, and branching out will certainly make your new diet more attractive.
Many vegetarians have at least 10 dishes in their armoury. Once you get to this stage, you can’t really get bored ever again. And even then, it’s a matter of adding more recipes each month.
Don’t Subsist On Junk Food
Next tip on how to become a vegetarian is to avoid stuffing yourself with junk vegetarian food. If you become a vegetarian but only largely eat candy bars, pre-packaged meals, synthetic cheese and so on, because you’re not actually all that keen on fruit or veg, it’s just not going to work out.
I have a vegan friend who looks like a barrel because he indulges on potato chips, candies and energy drinks. It’s not healthy, and it can mean that turning vegetarian actually makes you feel worse about your body image.
When I first became a vegetarian, I slipped after a few days. I was caught short at a restaurant because I hadn’t looked at the menu before we got there. As such, I found only two vegetarian dishes, and neither were to my taste. So, I ate meat.
From then on, I always plan ahead. I always know exactly what I wanted from the grocery store, and I always check out menus online before sitting down at a restaurant.
How to become a vegetarian? What are your best tips?
Stay happy and healthy!