Read these 14 Becoming Vegetarian Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vegetarian tips and hundreds of other topics.
So, the thought of becoming a vegetarian seems appealing to you but you're a bit overwhelmed. Are you trying to figure out exactly how to become a vegetarian? If you want to convert but are not ready to quit meat cold turkey, try gradually switching over.
Start by eliminating only one type of meat from your diet (like beef). Then, after some time, drop another. And, throughout this process, begin incorporating vegetarian meals into your schedule. Start off slowly, have a couple vegetarian meals a week. Over time, increase the number of vegetarian meals until all meat is eliminated from your diet.
Most people have favorite dishes that can be easily converted to meatless versions. These can be homemade meals or menu items at a restaurant such as spaghett with marinara sauce, vegetable lo mein, and bean burrito. Also, if you enjoy vegetable lasagne, stir-fried vegetables, or pasta primavera, you can begin your transition by making these meals more often. In addition, pick up some great vegetarian cookbooks to play with so you can keep mealtime interesting with some exciting meatless dishes.
When many people hear the word "vegetarian" they think of waif skinny people consuming a diet of celery and carrot sticks. People often think that surrendering meat will cause their diet to become bland and boring. All of these ideas are falacies. Rest assured that limiting yourself to a vegetarian diet won't force you to dine on boiled rice and flimsy lettuce leaves every day.
There are hundreds of different vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts, fruits and seeds out there. So many, in fact, that it would be impossible for you to exaust all of the possibilities. You could use ten new exciting and delicious vegetarian recipes to prepare every meal from now until your hundreth birthday and you still wouldn't have experienced all that the wonderful world of vegtarianism can offer your pallet.
Many people are deterred from becoming vegetarians for reasons of athleticism. It is a common misconception that becoming a vegetarian will decrease athletic capabilities. Much to the contrary, every time you consume a vegetarian meal you are doing wonders for a body. Proper nutrition can and will affect athletic performance so, if an athlete chooses to go the vegetarian route, it is essential that adequate amounts of energy and protein are consumed so that he or she can still perform.
Being a vegetarian athlete can take a little more planning than someone on a meat-based diet, but it also offers far more benefits. Vegetarian athletes need to ensure an intake of nutrient-dense plant-based foods. Try not to exist primarily on highly processed and refined carbohydrates like pasta, bread and pretzels. Instead, include beans, tofu, nuts and vegetables to meet an athlete´s nutrient requirements. In other words, eat a well-balanced, high protein diet, and make every bite count. The less-processed the food, the better.
There are many vegetarian options that are nutritious. Here are some options:
Countless successful athletes are vegetarians including Olympic runners, karate national champions, swimming world-record-holders, and Mr. America bodybuilding champions.
Although it is relatively simple to spot animal products in a listing of ingredients, such as gelatin, lard, rennet, and animal fat, the real trick is to read every single label of every single bit of food you are thinking about buying. You should realize that animal products show up in some of the most unlikely places: fruit pies, vegetable soups, Easter candy...the list is endless. If your goal is to avoid all animal products, make it a habit to search ingredient lists before taking a bite.
Clearly understand the reason(s) that you desire to change. With well defined goals and objectives, the extra effort that is sometimes required to transitions diet lifestyles will not seem difficult. Reasons to change can range from concerns about the environment, concerns about how animals raised for slaughter are raised, religious beliefs, or the desire to lead a longer, happier, disease free life. Define your own reasons to insure your success.
If you are new to vegetarianism, you might begin to notice a bit of peer pressure from some longtime vegetarians who have become vegans and are pushing you along to do so also. You may get this feeling from books, or people you'll meet. Ignore it, and compare yourself to no one but yourself. Adopting a vegetarian or partly vegetarian diet is a highly personal decision. Do what's right for you, and move at a pace that's comfortable for you.
In going vegetarian, some people end up replacing one fatty protein source (red meat) with others, such as cheese and soy products. Instead, plan meals around legumes and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, adding just enough of the fattier cheeses to give them some body and flavor.
When you first start out as a vegetarian, you may notice an increase in gas. Your body´s reaction to your change in diet is a very common and perfectly natural one. The gas is likely caused by the high fibre content in the foods you are now eating - which, by the way are great for your health. Bean-O, unfortunately, will not likely be effective, as is not designed to eliminate this type of gas, but is targeted towards the sugar that cannot be digested in some beans. Therefore, it only works after eating beans and some vegetables. Your body will adjust to the changes in your diet with time and you will be much more healthy because of it. However, if the gas is too much of a problem for you, you can try eating very slowly, chewing your food carefully and avoid swallowing any air. Activated charcoal tablets (available without a prescription) can also provide relief for you when taken before a meal.
Keeping a food diary can help you chart your progress as you adopt a vegetarian eating style. Keep a log of what you eat for several days as you start your transition. Six month later, do this again. Compare the two, and note any changes. Do this at regular intervals to evaluate your progress and to recognize if you get stuck in a rut.
If you find yourself in the awkward position of having to explain your decision to be a vegetarian simply answer in a sensitive, non-judgmental manner ,and remain very honest. Whether you made your transition for the sake of animals, the environment, or your own health, discuss your rationale with those who might inquire about your choice.
Also, to help ease tension among those close to you so they will understand and respect your choices, try to make yourself less of an "inconvenience" by bringing your own food to family get-togethers. Bring enough to share so they can taste what you eat and these foods will seem a little less intimidating. They might even agree on how exciting it can be to taste new foods.
If you have switched to a vegetarian diet but find yourself feeling hungry, tired, and irritable, you may not be eating enough. Some people who switch overnight haven´t had time to figure out what they can eat thus they end up eating only a few different types of foods which don't provide enough calories or nutrients.
You might want to spend some time in the public library and find books about vegetarian diets where you will learn the different ways that you can substitute other nutritous foods for meats and dairy products(if you are vegan) and still be able to maintain your daily calorie requirements.
Another good option is to go online where there are several sites such as http://www.goveg.com/books.asp that will help point you in the right direction.
You can start changing your eating habits at any time of the year. In the summer, there is the advantage of a wealth of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the tendency to eat lighter, including salads or a lunch of cheese, fruit and bread. In winter, there´s the comfort of soups, stews and baked things.
If you are about to start college and are concerned how you will be able to stick to your vegetarian diet here are some great hints to help you:
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|