There are around 375 million vegetarians around the world.
If 375 million people can do it, so can you!
However, when you’re new to the vegetarian world, it can be an intimidating place. This is especially true if you’ve grown accustomed to certain meat-filled meals. You probably find it hard to control your cravings or even fulfill your nutritional needs on a vegetarian diet.
But don’t worry, a lot of people experience these things, and there are definitely ways to make the process of going vegetarian a lot easier.
So here are eight tips that are certain to help you make the switch!
1. A Gradual Change Might Be Easier to Sustain
If you have trouble jumping into it, then don’t. Try making a gradual change in your diet, like consuming at least one vegetarian meal a day or eating vegetarian meals on one day of the week. You can slowly build up to two days a week, and eventually build up to a fully vegetarian diet, instead of making a drastic change.
That being said, some of you may find “taking the plunge” much easier than a gradual change, so do what you think works best for you.
2. Surround Yourself With Reminders of Why You’re Going Vegetarian
What is your motivation for going vegetarian? The environment? Health? Animal cruelty?
Or perhaps it’s every one of these.
Whatever it is, surround yourself with reminders of why you’re making this change. If you’re active on social media, follow blogs or accounts that support your cause or advocate for a vegetarian diet. Put up little sticky note reminders in the kitchen that remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
3. Try to Find One Recipe You Like, Every Week
One of the hardest parts of changing a diet is finding alternatives to the things you like. So take this opportunity to experiment in the kitchen with new recipes every day, or at least once a week. There are tons of vegetarian recipes to choose from; dedicate yourself to finding at least one that you really like and you’ll find the transition much easier!
You can also look for vegetarian alternatives for meals you already enjoy. You’ll find tons of vegetarian variations of your favorite meat pasta, chicken salads, and more.
4. Experiment With New Vegetarian Restaurants
Consider this – there’s never been a better time to go vegan or vegetarian. It’s something a lot of people are trying to do, and restaurants have wised up. You have so many amazing options for finding delicious vegetarian meals – go out there and find them!
If you don’t particularly like vegetarian meals from one cuisine, try another! Sometimes it’s more the flavor palette that doesn’t work, rather than the main ingredients.
5. Go Grocery Shopping When You’re Full
If you’re someone who has a lot of trouble with cravings, this one’s for you. You are definitely more likely to crave something when you’re hungry, so the next time you go grocery shopping make sure you’re at least somewhat full.
This will help you make better and smarter buying choices that maintain your commitment to a vegetarian diet.
6. Find Vegetarian Alternatives to Protein
You probably know that one of the biggest qualms of turning vegetarian is finding sources of protein. But here’s the deal – there are a whole bunch of options. There are nuts, peas, quinoa, egg, soy, cheese, and a whole lot more. All you have to do is a bit of research and find something you like.
Then when someone asks you the inevitable “but, where do you get your protein from?” you’ll have your answer straight and ready.
7. Spend Time With People Who “Get it”
Look, there’s no avoiding it – people can’t help but critique. And unfortunately for you, there are going to be people who constantly criticize your life choices even though it doesn’t affect them in the slightest. Now you can give them an explanation if you like, but you definitely do not owe it to them.
Also, if they’re the kind to constantly pester you into trying non-vegetarian meals when you say you don’t want them, it’s best to just avoid them. Surround yourself instead with people who support your choices, or at the very least don’t constantly question and critique them. The initial stages of changing your diet are hard enough without having to deal with all that negativity.
8. Regularly Read Up on the Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
If you find temptation kicking in, immediately read up on the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Learn more about why other people made the switch, ask them for their advice and what helped them when they were just starting out.
The internet is full of all kinds of great sources for new vegetarians. When you find yourself feeling unmotivated, gather some inspiration from those.
A Lifestyle Change Isn’t Easy; Go Easy On Yourself!
Above all else, remember to go easy on yourself. Changing old habits is a hard thing to do. If you’ve been a meat-eater ever since you were born, then of course going vegetarian will be hard. So if you occasionally give in to the cravings, it’s okay – focus on the bigger picture.
Don’t beat yourself up about it; allow yourself to make mistakes, and after a while you’ll find the whole process much easier.
Find vegetarian meals you like, find your motivation, and soon every meal will be a happy one!
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