Vegetarianism, like most things in the world, is not for everyone. If you are already reading this, it’s usually because you have come halfway with your decision to become a vegetarian. Since your current focus is to find tips that will help you become one in the least exhaustive manner possible, here are 5 ways to go about this major life change.
1. Start It Slow And For The Right Reasons
Any positive life changes take consistent efforts spread over a long span of time. Similarly, in the process of becoming a hardcore vegetarian, your self-control will be put to task. Ask yourself why do you want to incorporate this diet as a part of your lifestyle. Wishy-washy reasons will wane with time.
If your intention is in the right place and you really have a clue about how vegetarianism will change your health, go for it. Yet another important point to remember is that don’t go cold turkey by quitting anything and everything with animal products. If you’ve been a meat-lover in the past, you need to give your mind, appetite, and body the time to adjust to a diet that’s plant-based.
2. Substitute One Meat Product At A Time
Gradually transitioning into a no-meat diet works better for many vegetarian newbies. You can try eating only one vegetarian meal once a day for the first week. Then make it twice a week in the next week and gradually give up all meat.1
Quit red meat alone for the first two weeks. Cut of chicken, fish, poultry, and pork after the second week. In this manner, you will be able to manage your cravings better and stick to your diet for long. You can still enjoy dairy and eggs as a vegetarian.
3. Avoid Any Chances Of Deficiencies
To ensure that you get all the necessary nutrients in adequate doses on your new diet, you should be aware of what to eat. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, calcium, proteins, vitamins B12 and D are among the nutrients you are likely to miss out. You can either have plant-based foods or supplements that contain them in order to prevent deficiencies from occurring.2
4. Keep Your Loved Ones Informed
When you have embraced healthy living through vegetarianism, it’s necessary that you inform your family and friends about your decision. Although curiosity, mockery, and skepticism will be natural reactions from loved ones, especially if you were an ardent carnivore in the past, remember that your resolve can win them over.
Family lunches and get-togethers with friends become much easier if they already know that you are a vegetarian. However, don’t become too preachy about the whole thing and instead let your life be an example for them to understand the benefits of being a vegetarian.
5. Explore And Enjoy The Ride
You don’t have to become all grumpy and serious just because you are a vegetarian now. Never compromise on having fun while trying out new vegetarian dishes and visiting restaurants that serve delicious plant-based foods. If you develop a negative association with your new diet, chances are you will quit it sooner than you thought. Have fun being a vegetarian.
Give it at least 2 months time to check how it impacts your weight and other health parameters. Plant-based diets have been scientifically proven to be great at preventing several metabolic and systemic diseases. If you think some extra guidance could help, meet a nutritionist to give you a clear-cut meal plan on what to follow on your path to vegetarianism.3
|↑1||Cutting red meat for a longer life. Harvard Health Publishing|
|↑2||Hunt, Janet R. “High-, but not low-bioavailability diets enable substantial control of women’s iron absorption in relation to body iron stores, with minimal adaptation within several weeks.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 78, no. 6 (2003): 1168-1177.|
|↑3||Vegetarian Diets. American Heart Association|