5 Tips for Becoming Vegetarian

Becoming VegetarianIn Part 1 of this 2-part post on becoming vegetarian, I talked about the benefits of going vegetarian. Besides better overall health for yourself, benefits of becoming vegetarian include health of the planet and animal welfare as well. Though it may seem daunting to go meat-free if you’ve never tried it before, I’m here to tell you it’s not nearly as hard as it seems.

Today there are so many more vegetarian resources in the way of websites, recipes, cookbooks, Facebook and Pintrist pages, than when I became a vegetarian 25 years ago. Many ethnic foods have great vegetarian options, including Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese. Read on for more tips on becoming vegetarian.

5 Tips for Becoming Vegetarian

  1. Eliminate meat gradually: if you don’t want to go cold turkey (no pun intended!) start by:
    • Eliminating red meat the first week
    • Eliminate pork/lamb the second week
    • Eliminate chicken/poultry the third week
    • Eliminate seafood the fourth week
  2. Make familiar recipes sans-meat: choose some of your favorite recipes and leave out the meat. Try:
    • Spaghetti with marinara sauce, accompanied by salad with garbanzo beans.
    • Tacos with black beans and rice instead of meat, plus all the other yummy taco fixins.
    • Vegetarian chili, just make your favorite chili recipe with out the meat.
    • Veggie burgers with all your usual condiments.
    • Pizza with all your favorite veggie toppings: try pesto, sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and artichoke hearts. YUM!
  3. Look at vegetarian web sites and cookbooks to get ideas for new types of foods and recipes. Here are a few resources to get you started:
  4. Eat organic dairy and cage-free eggs if you are going vegetarian for health reasons, Dr. Andrew Weil suggests that eating organic dairy is more important than eating organic fruits and veggies. The antibiotics and chemicals found in non-organic milks get concentrated in cheeses, butters and ice creams. If you’re going vegetarian for animal-cruelty reasons, eating cage-free egs is kinder to the chickens that laid your eggs.
  5. Don’t worry about getting enough protein according to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), most western diets have twice the necessary protein, which can contribute to kidney disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and kidney stones among other ailments.

PCRM also offers an excellent 15-page PDF Vegetarian Starter Kit (download PDF.)

If you’re planning to become vegetarian it’s a good idea to start taking a B-complex vitamin supplement. B-vitamins are one thing that can be hard for vegetarians to get enough of. Look for quality supplements from reputable sources. I take Emerald Laboratories B Healthy Vegetarian Capsules.

If you are already vegetarian, please leave a comment to share some of your vegetarian resources. If you are considering going vegetarian, please leave a comment to let me know how it goes. Here’s to a healthier planet and a healthier YOU!

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