Many people have came up to me and told me that they have either tried to become vegetarian and failed, or really want to but never got around to it. As an advocate for animals, it is important to me to help those that are looking to make the change to vegetarianism. Would I love for everyone to change their eating habits? Of course. But one of my goals is to not be one of those "stereotypical" vegetarians. You know the kind I mean. The ones that tell all their meat-eating friends, and even strangers, how they are terrible people for eating meat and blah blah blah. Becoming a vegetarian was a personal change that I made for myself and for my love for animals, and no one should ever tell anyone else how to live their lives.
However, if someone comes to me interested in making the change I feel obligated to help them on their journey. That is one reason I started this blog. If you fall into this category, then I have some simple tips to help you start out.
1. Baby steps.
Trying to cut out a large part of your diet cold turkey (no pun intended) can be very difficult. Start small. Begin by cutting out one kind of meat from your diet, like beef, pork, or all red meat. One reason I was easy for me to stop eating meat was because in my household we never ate red meat to begin with. I only had to cut out chicken, fish, and turkey. When going out to eat opt for a turkey burger instead of beef, or the lemon chicken instead of pork chops. It might feel limiting at first, but will soon become second nature. It will then be easy to cut out poultry, and then finally fish.
2. Get to know your local food locations.
Before going out to eat I always make sure to check out the menu online (gotta love the internet age). Soon you will learn which places have options for you and which ones don't. Places you can bet on not being veggie friendly are steak houses and seafood places. Diners tend to have every single food under the sun, and if they don't have something on the menu for you they can always make it. Also explore your supermarket. Find where they hide the tofu, and the vegetarian friendly food brands.
3. Find those substitutes.
If I only ate veggies and carbohydrates, I would feel like my diet is limited too. When cutting out one kind of food, make sure to replace it with another. Tofu is a vegetarian's best friend. It is protein packed and tastes like whatever you cook it in making it a great addition to any meal. There are some food brands, like Morningstar and Boca, that make vegetarian meat substitutes like chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and even maple sausage! I find myself eating the veggie version of foods that I didn't eat the meat version of! These have really expanded my diet which has made being a vegetarian very easy.
4. Find support.
It is easy to feel stuck when making a change. Find people that have both recently given up meat and those that are old pros. Find a friend that wants to try vegetarianism too and you can go on the journey together. It is always easier when you are not alone. And find people that can give you advice if you lose your way.
Hopefully these tips were helpful for those looking to try vegetarianism. Remember, even just cutting out meat from one meal a week can make a difference! And happy new year everyone! Good luck with any changes you hope to make.
Bye from the Veggie Side!