Tips for Beginner Vegetarians
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls,
everyone would be vegetarian.”
Finally, the moment has come – you realized that you will never again eat animal products: for some ideological reasons, or simply decided that it would be better for health. It may be easy to make up your mind, but to bring it to life is much more difficult, both technically and psychologically. We have collected 16 useful tips that will help facilitate this task.
Understand the motivation
If you decide to become a vegetarian just for fun or because it is fashionable, it will be not enough on a long run. Becoming vegetarian means that you will have to change quite a lot in your way of life. Thus, first of all, clearly determine why you want to be a vegetarian. If you can deal with your motivation, then all the rest is no longer a problem.
Before you completely change your life, try to read as much as possible about vegetarianism. Find a good book or website, or better ask your vegetarian friends to recommend some good literature on this topic or give you links.
Take your favorite dishes and replace all the animal ingredients with their analogues (for example, tofu, sejtan), but at the same time try to cook the dish exactly as you used to cook it. Most likely, you will be surprised to find that you can eat your favorite dishes without eating animal products. In fact, your favorite food will remain with you after the transition to vegetarianism.
A huge number of recipes can be found on the Internet and in books. In addition, there are many communities devoted to vegetarianism, where recipes are published – you will certainly find something interesting.
Try one recipe a week
Do not try to cover everything at once – try one to two recipes a week, a maximum – two. After you tasted the dish, decide whether you like it or not. Step by step, slowly you can create your own small cookbook. In fact, most people on a regular basis use no more than 10 recipes, so that when you collect 10 vegetarian recipes, you can pretty painlessly switch to the appropriate diet.
Do everything gradually
Many people find it easier to switch to a vegetarian diet gradually, refusing first meat, then fish and seafood. It is best to start with meat. Then in a week or two, discard other animal products.
One fell swoop
Some people prefer to change their life right off, dramatically and uncompromisingly – perhaps you are one of them, and it will be easier for you to give up all kinds of animal products at once. However, before rushing into new life, try to perform some of the steps listed above, then you are more likely to be able to hold on and not change your decision afterwards. For example, it makes sense to select in advance some good recipes for vegetarian dishes that can replace your favorite meat dishes.
8. Do not worry about the protein
The most popular argument against vegetarianism is you will not get enough protein without meat. In fact, meat eaters usually consume much more protein than the body needs. The demand for a protein in an adult is much less than what you think. If you eat differently, ie. your diet includes enough vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, soy protein, etc., then you are definitely getting enough protein. Moreover, it is very difficult to eat so that you do not get enough protein – for this you would have to eat junk food only. See Myth about Vegetarianism and Anemia
Give up fast food
You can be a vegetarian and still be unhealthy if you continue to eat fast food (French fries, chips, etc.). The fact that you do not eat meat does not mean that now you can eat more fast food. It is better to eat more fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, nuts, etc., so you new diet will really make you more healthy.
Try different national cuisines
One of the most wonderful things in vegetarianism is that it makes people try the cuisine of other countries. For example, a lot of vegetarian dishes can be found in Indian, Thai, Chinese, Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Mexican cuisines. If you have many vegetarian friends, you can even arrange thematic weeks – for example, a week of Thai cuisine. This will help not only to adapt to a new way of life, but also to learn something new about other countries.
Tell your friends and family about your new way of life
If you really want to become a vegetarian, then you need to tell your folks about it. You still have to continue to eat with them – in restaurants, while visiting, on family holidays, at work – so it is better to try to involve them in what you are doing. Perhaps they will want to please you with some vegetarian dish, or you will cook something for them. It is best, of course, to prepare for such a conversation, so that you can explain why you became a vegetarian. Be prepared for the fact that some will find it rather difficult to accept, so do not pressure others, do not insist that they follow you. Only if they are interested, tell them about your choice in detail.
Do not turn vegetarianism into torture. If you feel that you are torturing yourself, you will not last long. On the other hand, if you feel that you are doing something good and right, and at the same time eat tasty, healthy food, then it will be much easier for you to stick to this diet for a long time.
Plan in advance
For many novice vegetarians, the biggest problem is going to a restaurant or visiting friends. As a rule, they forget to think in advance what will be there. Therefore, if you are going to a party, dinner or for a visit, then it is best to cook something at home and bring it with you (of course, do not forget let the your friends know that you would like to bring some food!).
Snacking is not a problem
You will be surprised, but there are quite a few really delicious vegetarian snacks that you can bring along: fried or raw nuts, berries, cheese, yogurt, corn chips, muesli. You can even make sandwiches from 100% vegetarian sausage, seitan-snack, or tofu.
Find vegetarian cafes and restaurants in your city. Going to such a place will let you learn what vegetarian dishes look like, and find something new from this kitchen. In most restaurants and cafes that serve meat, there are also a lot of opportunities to order vegetarian dishes.
Vegetarian ready-to-cook food
You have probably noticed that in the frozen food department there are not only meat semi-finished products, but also frozen vegetables, vegetarian dumplings and vegetable patties. It is very convenient if you have little time for cooking. But keep in mind that these products will cost you more than homemade food, in addition they are less useful. However, in any case it is good to have some ready – to – cook food in the freezer, in case you are too tired to prepare a full dish.
TODAY’S TIP: If you admit to others that you quit eating apples or cucumbers, no one will care. However, people may become very agitated about not eating meat. This phenomenon has its explanation: such things like meat, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs change our life. By choosing to be a vegetarian you automatically change your life, and family and friends worry that they might not fit in it. That’s why it is so important not to become a zealot who tries to change others. Stay friendly and happy in your new lifestyle, change for better and it will be a much more potent argument for vegetarianism than arguing and pressure.