Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular for three main reasons: personal health benefits, animal ethics, and ecological sustainability.
Whatever your reasons are for considering going vegetarian, now is a great time to make the shift as grocery stores, restaurants, and the larger culture have all started to accommodate vegetarians (and vegans!).
So, to make your transition easier, we have compiled a list of 5 steps to go vegetarian.
1. Start with baby steps
Quitting meat cold-turkey can be a recipe for disaster for many people. It may lead to cravings or make you throw in the towel as soon as you’ve begun. So, start by gradually removing meat from your diet and gauge how you feel each day.
Perhaps, you can begin by avoiding red meat, chicken, and pork, then move onto abstaining from seafood, then maybe eggs and dairy if you so choose. You can leave out animal options from one meal a day or one or two meals per week, and keep reducing it slowly.
At the same time, you should try adding in more grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits in your diet.
2. Spruce it up with alternatives
Going vegetarian doesn’t mean sticking to a handful of the run-of-the-mill veggies or avoiding proteins. You can explore alternatives like beans, grains, nuts, and other forms of soy proteins. Try exciting dishes that have stir-fry tofu instead of chicken.
Going vegetarian and building muscles aren’t mutually exclusive. Plenty of athletes and bodybuilders out there have a completely vegetarian diet. Tempeh is a great alternative to soy protein. You can even try veggie burgers and stuff like Quorn, which is a meat-free alternative.
3. Explore various fruits and veggies
Now that you’re considering going vegetarian, there’s a whole world of new, exotic fruits and veggies that you can explore. For instance, try some quinoa, barley, couscous, alfalfa, and orzo. You can also try exotic fruits like dragon fruit, rambutan, African cucumber, or lychee.
Aside from the new tastes, these fruits are also very nutritious. You can create amazing salads tailored to your tastes or try your hand at baking with fruits and veggies.
4. Discover new vegetarian cuisines
Contrary to expectations, vegetarians have a wide variety of cuisine options. Explore the tastes of the world by trying out new cuisines such as South Indian, Mexican, Burmese, Ethiopian or Mediterranean, and more.
Not only will you give your taste buds an adventure, but you will also ensure that you never get bored of eating the same veggie dishes every day.
5. Avoid junk food
Becoming a vegetarian doesn’t automatically make you healthy. To reap the most benefits of a clean, plant-based diet, you should avoid eating junk food that is high in fat and unnecessary carbs.
Make sure to read the labels when you go grocery shopping to avoid harmful content or animal-based ingredients.
Instead, you can incorporate fruits, veggies, grains, beans, nuts, legumes, soy protein, low-fat dairy, and other nutritious foods in your snacks that are light on the tummy and taste great.
Going vegetarian has a wealth of benefits, including but not limited to a healthy, long, and active lifestyle with high energy levels.
If you want some yummy meal plans to get you started or continue on your vegetarian lifestyle, try some of our healthy vegetarian meal plans.
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