Becoming a vegetarian might seem like a fad for people who want to follow celebrities like Ashley Judd or Drew Barrymore, but for a majority of people this option is driven by more serious factors like cost, environmental concerns, and (most importantly) personal health, including weight loss.
Whatever the driving factor is for you, there are always going to be challenges in becoming a vegetarian. After all, you might be very used to seeing that large chunk of meat on your dining table!
Before I describe some of the steps to being a vegetarian, let’s explore the common reasons for vegetarianism. In Canada and the U.S., where meat is more affordable than in other parts of the world, an individual may choose to become vegetarian for reasons other than cost.
What are those reasons?
Four Compelling Reasons for Becoming a Vegetarian
Concern for the Environment
Conservation of natural resources like fossil fuel, forests, soil and water.
Non-vegetarian foods consume more fuel and water to get cooked, and many thousands of acres of forests are destroyed every year to raise and graze livestock.
This is one of the main reasons why a majority of people want to become vegetarian. They know that all of the nutrients obtainable from animal sources can also be found in plant food.
So their goal in becoming vegetarian is to reduce their fat intake, reduce the level of cholesterol in their blood, as well as reduce the risks of developing cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, and heart ailments – all of which are benefits of vegetarianism!
Animal Foods are Deficient in Important NutrientsBelieving that foods of animal origin are deficient in important nutrients like carbohydrates and vitamins (except B complex).
Drugs like steroids that are regularly used to improve productivity in animal husbandry are also reasons why you may be looking at becoming vegetarian.
Avoid Killing of or Cruelty to AnimalsLove and concern for our co-habitants on this earth prevent many people from eating animal meat.
Needless to say, you probably have your own personal reasons for becoming a vegetarian. But even so, the switchover to vegetarianism may not be as easy as you think. Below I’ve written some simple steps to being a vegetarian to help make this job easier for you.
Becoming a Vegetarian: Six Steps to Get You Going
Decide what type of vegetarian you want to be
Becoming vegetarian doesn’t have to mean giving up every kind of meat.
For example, you could become vegetarian and still continue to eat fish or eggs.
Give up one kind of meat at a time
For example, stay away from red meat or chicken for a few weeks, and watch how you feel.
Bring as much variety in your
vegetarian meals as possible
This is a common misunderstanding that I’d like to clear up right now: being vegetarian doesn’t mean eating brussel sprouts all day!
There is no shortage of diverse and wonderful vegetarian recipes on the internet, on the shelves of your local bookstore, or on this website!
Plan your vegetarian meal menu IN ADVANCE
Plan your vegetarian meal menu for the week, well in advance. Buy as many varieties of fresh garden vegetables as possible, so that you do not have that last minute urge to go for non-vegetarian fast food.
Eat soy and even peanut butter to make up for any feeling of protein deficiency.
locate good restaurants in your area
Look into supplements
Fortified cereals and soy are good sources of vitamin B 12 that might be missing from your diet when you are trying to become vegetarian.
How about having vitamin B-12 supplements regularly to make up for the loss of this important vitamin from your diet?