03 Jan Easy Steps to Become a Vegetarian
I have now been a vegetarian for four and a half years and when I became a vegetarian I used to dread when someone said “So your a vegetarian are you?” I always knew that they would start quizzing me with the usual “Why?” and “Well what do you eat?” and always comparing their eating habits to mine.
Even four years in to vegetarianism I am still researching and learning more and more about the benefits of being a vegetarian that I really enjoy having a conversation with people about it.
Yes, I still get those people who smirk and say “I love meat too much to become a vegetarian”, but the majority of people I chat to enjoy finding out what I eat instead and telling me how they try to incorporate vegetarianism into their lives. My favourite comment from someone at a New Years Eve party was “vegetarian looks good on you!”
Of course, some people enjoy eating meat, just as much as I enjoy not eating it and I never ever preach or make people feel like they are wrong eating meat. At the end of the day, my belief is that it is their choice to eat meat and it’s my choice to not eat it.
However, more and more people are beginning to cut down on their meat consumption and look for alternative choices. This is so great and makes me so excited when I hear how the overall meat consumption is dropping so I thought I would share with you some great tips I have used and read about of the past few years to help if you fancy giving vegetarianism a go, even just for one night a week!
Some facts for you to consider…
Tip 1 – Use meat substitutes
When making the move from meat eating to vegetarianism make the change gradual and almost unnoticed. Now a days there are loads and loads of meat substitutes that you can use to replace your meat. Rather than buying some chicken fillets to chop up and add to a curry, how about going to the vegetarian section in the frozen isle and picking up some Quorn Chicken? I gaurantee it will be cheaper and your meat eating brain will not notice!
The best Meat/Quorn swaps:
These are some items that I have found taste really good as a swap…
|Meat Option||Veggie Swap|
|Chicken fillets||Quorn chicken pieces|
|Meat sausages||Linda McCartney Quorn Sausages|
|Beef Mince||Tesco Quorn mince|
Tip 2 – Feed the ‘protein’ obsession other ways
Most comments from people who don’t agree with vegetarianism are about protein and not getting enough of it. However, most people are over eating on their protein and we don’t need as much as we think. However, we all make our own choices about what to eat so if you are looking for ways to cut down on meat protein, or really want to know ‘what exactly do you eat?’ here are some ideas:
Of course, these numbers do not match the meat equivalent but if you combine several of these together in one meal, then over the day they will soon add up.
Tip 3 – Get a good recipe book / meal plan
When I first started out turning to a vegetarian diet, I had also started on my fitness and healthy eating diet. I didn’t really have a clue about what I should be eating to ‘tone up’ and become fit so I decided to purchase a nutrition plan that had loads of healthy eating recipes. Not only this, but I decided to opt for the vegetarian option of the meal plan which meant that I didn’t have to try and think of meat substitutes for myself.
I know many of you will probably be rolling your eyes and saying ‘oh not another diet plan’ but actually this is a 56 page nutrition information booklet to help you understand about vegetarian proteins, how to reach your nutrition needs and all the sciencey stuff behind it (picture right). It also comes with a 103 page receipe booklet that gives you hundreds of meal ideas for all times of day.
Now I’m not suggesting you go out and purchase this guide, even though I think it’s amazing. What I am suggesting is that you get yourself a nutrition book or a recipe book (or both) and educate yourself on healthy meal ideas, how to get your daily nutritional needs and how to stay fit and healthy. In every charity shop I visit they always have at least one vegetarian book on sale and the internet contains hundreds of great websites with education and meal ideas, so you don’t have to spend a fortune or travel very far to get some ideas.
Some good websites I have come across
Click on the names to take you to the websites:
Tip 4 – Every Meal Counts
If you feel like going vegetarian is a too big a step at once for you, or you are worried that people will try to trip you up (a sad, but true thing that can happen), then just set your self small goals for cutting down on your meat.
Remember even a small amount can soon add up…
Tip 5 – Go Easy on yourself
When you start to read labels to find out if they are suitable for vegetarians, you will realise how many things sneak in meat products without realising – sweets with insects crushed up for colouring, cheese crackers using pork in them, the list is a long, crazy one! I put my hands up and say that I slipped up a lot when I first started out – I forgot Rocky Road contains marshmallow that contains gelatine, I didn’t realise Worcestershire Sauce contained fish etc. If this happens to you, then please don’t feel bad.
Remember, eating meat won’t kill you, it is just a lifestyle choice. I always got a little annoyed with myself when I ate something I didn’t realise contained animal, but then I let it go, safe in the knowledge that I never intentionally eat meat. Take it meal by meal and don’t forget to check those labels. At first it will be a slow process, but you will quickly learn what contains meat and what doesn’t. The more fresh produce you eat, the less you will have to spend checking if something contains meat or not.
Before I leave you, I want to take the time to thank each and every person that has ever cooked for me being a vegetarian. Not one person I have come across has refused to make me a vegetarian option. Everyone has been so accommodating and understanding in my choice – whether they agree with me or not. I always offer to provide a vegetarian option for people when I visit but 99% of the time people won’t let me and are always happy to ensure I am well fed.
So thank you all for being so wonderful xxxx
Some quotes to leave you with…