So, are you ready to become a veggie?
Whether you're determined with a noble cause to become a vegetarian, or you're just trying it out, I think you'll find your journey surprisingly pleasant.
I personally became a vegetarian by "trying it out" for 30 days, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. My health improved, my energy levels increased, and I just feel so much better overall.
So, here are some tips from others and my own experiences on how to become a vegetarian (^^):
1. Find where your motivation lies and have good reasons, whether it be environmental concerns, health & well being, animal welfare, religion, or even weight loss/maintenance, etc. Believe in yourself! ^^
2. Read as much as you can about vegetarianism. There are lots of resources online and offline (i.e. library). For a starter, some of my favorite books are Becoming Vegetarian and Becoming Vegan for nutrition information, and How to successfully become a vegetarian for online resources. And of course, there's VegTaste.com! ^^
3. Determine what kind of vegetarian you want to be. Lacto-ovo? Pesco? Lacto? Vegan?** Set a date when you will start and stick to it. You can either slowly eliminate animal products in your meals, or you can go vegan cold turkey. Some people find it easier to start very slowly, first eliminating red meat, then white meat, then fish. But some people prefer to go vegan or raw vegan in one day! As for myself, I gave up red & white meat in a few days, then gave up fish in a week. Cravings faded away completely after a week or so. Don't give up! Believe me, your taste buds will thank you, and you will be able to taste a lot better. Remember, meat is an acquired taste!
4. Take a VegPledge! to get a free 6-month subscription to Vegetarian Times, an excellent vegetarian magazine filled with yummy veggie recipes. Also good online source of vegetarian recipes are Vegan-food.net and VegCooking.com, for example.
5. Love eating out? Just ask for a vegetarian option in your favorite restaurants! 8 out of 10 restaurants will offer some kind of vegetarian menu and will even cook a veggie dish off the menu for you. Fill out restaurant surveys to ask for more vegetarian options. Remember, it never hurts to ask. Also look for veggie restaurants at Happycow.net around the world.
6. Try a variety of different ethnic cuisines. Delicious, amazing vegetarian dishes can be found all over the world, from Italian pasta to many Indian dishes to Thai food to Chinese, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Mexican, South American, Korean, Vietnamese, French, and more! When cooking, I love Buddha's Table for authentic Thai cuisine (i.e. Pad Thai).
7. Substitute meat with a plethora of meat alternatives. Improvise your favorite recipes and spin them into amazing vegetarian dishes with all kinds of different tofu, tempeh, veggie ham, mock duck, etc. Be creative and have fun!
8. Remember, being a vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean healthy. I knew some vegetarians who ate mostly cookies and white breads and no veggies for meals. Take care of your body and nourish it with colorful vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Try a new vegetable and/or fruit every week. (Personally, I juice pounds of vegetables & fruits 2-3 times a week, for health & taste - will post about juicing later.)
9. Visit your nearest farmer's market, or join a CSA to experience fresh local produce. Meet those who grow your food! You will love how these taste compared to supermarket produce (that probably traveled far too much). If you can, try to shop organic. After all, you're saving all that money by not buying meat!
10. Tell others and keep your interest in vegetarianism. Knowledge is power. Tell your most loved ones why you became a vegetarian. Keep a positive outlook and they will eventually understand. Heck, they might even become vegetarians themselves!
11. Find support by meeting fellow vegetarians. Enter your zipcode at Vegetarian Meetup website and find out if there is any meetup around your area. If there isn't one, you can always start one! Currently there are 284 Vegetarian Meetups formed around the world, with 37,858 Members, in 193 Cities! 4,535 Meetings have been organized so far!
**Vegetarian Types Defined.
(Note that Pescatarians & Semi-vegetarians are not full vegetarians, but I believe are future vegetarians! ^^)
- Pescatarian (also spelled pescetarian):
Pescatarians abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish.
A vegetarian who eats both dairy products and eggs. This is the common type of vegetarians.
- Ovo vegetarian:
A vegetarian who eats all egg products but no dairy.
- Lacto vegetarian:
A vegetarian who eats all dairy products but no eggs.
A vegetarian who does not eat any animal products. Some vegans even do not use animal products such as wool, leather shoes, belt, & jacket, honey. Also called Pure Vegetarian or Strict Vegetarian.
- Raw vegan:
A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). “Raw foodists” believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body.