Are you interested in becoming vegetarian? Are you having difficulty making the switch? Coming from a steak and potatoes background, transitioning to a vegetarian diet proved challenging at times – but it is possible! Whether you’ve been on the fence or actively transitioning, here are 11 tips to help get you started.
#1 – Before making such a huge change to your diet always be sure to check in with your medical care professional – a vegetarian diet is fantastic for many bodies, but your body may need something different. In addition, be aware of any allergies you may have – steer clear of foods you may have a reaction to.
#2 – Take your time with the transition – rushing yourself may cause you to burnout. In addition, don’t beat yourself up if you have setbacks. They happen – just acknowledge it and work harder going forward. I found that the longer you go, the easier it gets.
#3 – Introduce vegetables and fruits similar to ones you already enjoy. I found that eating similar veggies to ones I already ate regular was one of the easiest transitions, and it gave me a ton of new options to choose from. One example is celery and bok choy – similar but not identical. Another example is green beans and other string beans. I was once told broccoli and asparagus are very similar – what do you think?
#4 – Try removing one food group at a time, not a huge sudden change. Hand in hand with #2 on this list, a good thing to try is just removing one food group at a time. For example, many find that starting by removing just red meat (or an even smaller group, just pork or just bacon) is easier than removing all meat at once.
#5 – Find a support group or build one of your own. This was the biggest help during my transition – finding those who were already familiar with eating a healthy vegetarian diet. Keep in mind, your support group doesn’t need to be a physical group – there are many fantastic forums and resources available online!
#6 – Once you have found your support group, ask for their favorite recipes. This is a great way to try recipes that have been tested and approved by others.
#7 – Watch out for carbs – this was my biggest downfall at first. Pasta with sauce is a super easy vegetarian dish, but eating this every day multiple times a time is packed with carbs. My body didn’t take too kindly to the carb overload.
#8 – Try sticking with fresh ingredients when cooking or going out – often these make the best meals. Plus, there’s no concerns about what goes into your food when you stick with fresh ingredients.
#9 – Be careful with processed foods. The freezer section may seem like a miracle when you transition (and we agree there are some very tasty dishes to be found here!) but these foods are often loaded with preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients.
#10 -Don’t overdue the vegetables you do like. At first, it was easy to just stick with broccoli, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, onions, and spinach. I quickly found myself becoming bored. There’s a huge world out there full of wonderful veggies – don’t be afraid to explore it!
#11 – Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When I first started I was always hesitant to ask questions – the biggest question I was nervous about was “What are the ingredients?” I was always careful not to offend anyone but by not asking this one simple question I would wind up with meat in my meal occasionally. Don’t bite your tongue – speak up!
Let us know: What tips do you have for someone interested in becoming vegetarian? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on Facebook!
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