12 Tips for Becoming a Vegetarian

Want to become a vegetarian? without too much trouble, here are my recommendation:

  1. Have good reasons.If you just want to become vegetarian for kicks, probably won’t stick with it for long — not because it’s hard, but because any lifestyle change or habit change requires a little bit of motivating. You need to first think about why you want to become vegetarian, and really believe in it. The remainder is easy.
  2. Read up. Before starting anything fresh, I tend to read as much as possible about whatever it is that I’ll be doing. I propose you do so with vegetarianism. Check out a couple of good book from the library( or better yet, borrow from vegetarian pals ). And there are tons and tons of good locates on the Internet. One of my favorites is GoVeg.com.
  3. Find good recipes. You don’t need to go out and buy a lot of new cookbooks, although that’s certainly an option. But again, there are a lot great recipes online. Try GoVeg.com … another favourite of mine is Post Punk Kitchen( likewise envision their forums ). In reality, it can all be a little overwhelming … but don’t worry, you don’t need to decide on anything. Just look through the recipes, take note of a few that appear really good, and decide to try a few of them. You have the rest of your life to try out other recipes!
  4. Try one recipe a week. My recommendation is just to try one new vegetarian recipe a week. If you like it, add it to your list of staple recipes that you eat on a regular basis. If the recipe isn’t that great, try another next week. Soon, you’ll have a good index of 5-10 great recipes that you love to prepare and eat. And actually, whether you’re vegetarian or meat eater, that’s probably all you actually eat on a regular basis anyway( for dinner, at  least ). Most people simply have 7-10 recipes that they prepare regularly. once you have that many vegetarian recipes, you are good to go.
  5. Substitutions. Also test your regular recipes that you love, but instead of using meat, use a meatless replacement. So if you love to eat spaghetti or chili, for example, replace a ground-beef alternative from Bocca or Morning star and only cook it the mode you usually would. There are alternatives for just about any kind of meat, and some of them are quite good. You can go on consuming what you mostly eat, but meatless.
  6. Start with red meat. I propose a gradual transition into vegetarianism … although you can do it all at once, I’ve found that for many people, a gradual transition runs better. There’s no need to give up all meat at once. Try a few fresh recipes, maybe eat one vegetarian meal for the first week, two for the second, and so on. If you do this, start with red meat, as it is typically the least healthy.
  7. Then the other meats. After a couple of weeks of going without red meat, try cutting out pork for a couple of weeks. Then cut out chicken, the seafood. With this two-week approach( and you are able to even make it 3 weeks or a 30 days for each stage if you want to go more steadily), you’ll barely notice the difference. I’ve found that I don’t crave meat anymore, although I did for about a week.
  8. Consider dairy & eggs. Vegetarians vary widely on this, so there’s no mandate to give up dairy or eggs if you’re giving up meat. Do what feels right for you. But if you go meatless for awhile, and want to try to go a little further (in terms of health, the environment, and helping animal suffering), consider these foods. For one thing, they are often high in saturated fat, especially compared to soy alternatives. It was easy for me to give up eggs, as I’ve never been a huge fan, but transitioning to soy milk took a few days to get used to … although I can’t stand the taste of milk now.
  9. Think about your staples. A helpful practice is to make a list of all foods you regularly eat, for dinner,breakfast, lunch, desserts and snacks. Not meals, but ingredients. And then should be considered vegetarian alternatives, and make a new list. For example, instead of eating chicken in a stir-fry plate, you are able to try tofu. With a new list of staples, you should have no trouble stocking your fridge and pantry.
  10. All in one go. Some people prefer to give up meat all at once. While this takes a little more determination than the gradual result I advocate, it’s not that hard, actually. Just prepare yourself by taking some of the steps above (discovering recipes, substitutes, a newest list of staples, and reading as much as possible), and then give it a shot. It will  take a few days to get used to it, and then you’ll have very little difficulty after that. The only things you’ll have to work out, once you’re utilized to going without meat, are things like eating out, eating at others’ mansions, and other similar issues. Read on for more on these.
  11. Junk food. Again, you can be a vegetarian and be very unhealthy, if you devour junk food. Being a vegetarian is not a a licence to devour junk food (although you can probably indulge yourself a little more often now that you’re not eating meat). Try to stick with fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, soy protein, low-fat dairy and other nutritious foods for the most part.
  12. Ethnic food. One of the great things about becoming a vegetarian is the fact that it often stimulates people to try new and interesting ethnic foods (or reminds them of foods they love but don’t eat much). Great vegetarian bowls can be found all over the world, from Italian pasta to many Indian plates to spicy Thai food to Chinese, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Mexican, South American and more. It can be interesting to do a series of theme weeks, trying vegetarian dishes from a certain country for 1 week, and then moving around the world and sampling other great ethnic foods.

There are tons of other good resource out there that cover way more ground than I can do in this post.