Transitioning to Vegetarianism

Hello everyone! I’m glad you’ve decided to stop by today. This post is a little different than the posts that I’ve sharing recently. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve decided to make a pretty drastic lifestyle change:

I am transitioning into a vegetarian. 

The first question I always get is “why?”

For me, personally, its because of the countless number of health benefits from following a plant-based diet. However, transitioning to vegetarianism holds a wide range of issues for people–from protest of animal cruelty to health to support of sustainable farming methods. I think the reason to become vegetarian is personal for everyone. Mind you, I’ve only since cut out meat for a mere 2 weeks, so I’m still trying to assimilate into the vegetarian community. I love meat, don’t get me wrong, but in retrospect, it’s not something that I eat with every meal. My vices are definitely chicken and beef, and it has been difficult not incorporating those into my meals, but not being a huge meat eater from the start has definitely made it easier to transition.

Below, I’m going to list some common questions that I’ve been asked and have researched pertaining to vegetarianism:

What are the different types of vegetarians?

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: does not eat meat, fish or fowl, but  eats dairy and egg products
  • Ovo vegetarian: does not eat meat, fish, fowl or dairy products, but eats egg products.
  • Lacto vegetarian: does not eat meat, fish, fowl or eggs, but eats dairy products.
  • Vegan: does not eat any animal products including meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy, honey, etc. Most vegans do not use any animal products such as silk, leather, wool, etc. as well.

1. How do I become a vegetarian?

There are several ways to make the change. Do whatever feels more comfortable for you. Like other types of cooking, vegetarianism can be simple or complicated, expensive or inexpensive, and use foods that can only be bought in a natural foods store or your local supermarket. There are a lot of common recipes that are easily made vegetarian, such as spaghetti and other pasta dishes, burritos, tacos, tostadas, mashed potatoes, three bean salad, pancakes, French toast, waffles, grilled cheese sandwiches, hummus, grilled veggies, oven-roasted veggies, rice, etc. The other way would be to start exploring other cuisines or methods of cooking (go for Thai, Indian, Chinese, etc.) that exclude meat in the dishes to begin with. Some people like to try both approaches. You could also try making the dishes you usually do and just substitute tofu, seitan or other meat substitutes for the meat in the dishes. (Most supermarkets carry tofu and often other meat substitutes in the produce section. Check the frozen section, near the breakfast foods, for veggie burgers, veggie crumbles, links, and patties.)

2. What are some common misconceptions about vegetarianism?

There are several myths about vegetarianism that I will quickly debunk:

Myth: You can’t get enough protein from plants.

Meat is not synonymous with protein. In fact, almost all foods (except alcohol and sugar) contain some. A half-cup of beans even has about the same amount of protein as one ounce of meat. To get all of your essential amino acids, I have been eating a variety of protein-packed plants, including lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, and milk (almond works if you’re cutting out dairy).

Myth: Becoming vegetarian equates weight loss.

Not all vegetarians are slim—or healthy for that matter. Vegetarians who eliminate meat, but continue to eat highly processed foods are not getting the benefits of a plant-based diet. So when you sub out meat, make sure a plant, not processed junk, takes its place.

Myth: Vegetarian eating is expensive.

Sure, produce comes with a price tag, but at three-plus dollars per pound, meat is one of the priciest groceries money can buy, making vegetarian eating less expensive by comparison.  If your fresh produce is getting pricey, consider buying it frozen.

Myth: It has to be all or nothing.

Trimming your meat habit (even just a little) could cut your risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, a 2009 study in Archives of Internal Medicine found that if women were to eat only 9 grams of meat per 1,000 calories, 21% fewer women would die of heart disease. Even if you decide to go full-vegetarian for health reasons, it’s OK to give in and have a buffalo wing during the game or a slice of turkey on Thanksgiving. In fact, one Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that two-thirds of self-professed vegetarians have eaten some meat in the past day—and are still healthier.

Myth: You have to eat fake meat.

Meat substitutes are often full of sodium, preservatives, and additives, so in some cases, it’s healthier to just eat the real thing (remember, vegetarianism doesn’t have to be all or nothing). There are healthy meat substitutes out there—just be sure to read food labels carefully. Personally, I’m not a fan of imitation meat in the slightest. I’ve found that proteins such as black beans, mushroom, and quinoa are great substitutes for ground meats.

Myth: Your meals will be boring.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I love to cook, so boring meals don’t exist for me. There are plenty of vegetarian recipes in-store and online that will satisfy everyone’s food preferences.


 

I don’t want to make this post too long, as it is only an introduction into this new lifestyle that I’m pursuing. In subsequent posts, I will be sharing some vegetarian staples that I have purchased from my local grocer as well as some meal prep recipes for my work weeks.

If you have any additional questions about vegetarianism, please click here; this particular site house an abundance of information beyond the few things that I have discussed with you all.

 


 

Are any of my followers vegetarian? If so, share with me your experiences and recipes! I’d love to read them.

 


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