Usually, following a vegetarian diet is a process that occurs over time, or it’s something you were raised into. Consider the following steps before deciding to adhere to a vegetarian diet.
Step 1 – Define Your Reason
So, you’ve decided to become a vegetarian and follow a vegetarian diet. This should not be a spur of the moment decision. You really need to define why you are making this choice, so that you can get the support you may need, and you have a reference point if it gets hard.
There are many reasons one may choose to become a vegetarian. Among them are religious reasons, ethical reasons (the inhumane treatment of animals), and health reasons.
Step 2 – Define Your Type
You may not even be aware that there are different types of vegetarian diets to follow. You may decide to become a vegan, which means you choose not to eat any meat, dairy or egg products.
You may decide to become a Lacto-Vegetarian, which means you include milk products in your diet, but not egg or meat products. Or maybe you’ve decided on the Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian diet, which includes plant based eating as well as milk and egg products.
Maybe you’ve chosen to be even more flexible and are going to follow a Lacto-Ovo-Pesco-Vegetarian, which means you will include fish and chicken in your diet along with milk and egg products.
Step 3 – Learn About Protein
You need to learn about the benefits and necessities of protein in your diet, so you don’t become protein deficient. Non-vegetarians get most of their protein from meat sources. A vegetarian diet usually needs to be include tofu, or some type of other soy products, because soy is the closest vegetable protein that resembles meat.
Step 4 – Start Gradual
Trying to adhere to a vegetarian meal plan right away can be too difficult. It’s best to start gradually. For instance, if you are a big meat eater, try eliminating meat one or two days a week at first. Then go from there, eliminating more and more each week until you reach your vegetarian diet goals.
Step 5 – Find Replacements
It’s simply unrealistic to go into a new way of eating without learning how to replace the things you have been eating. Going from a regular diet to a vegetarian diet needs to be thoughtful. Buying processed and ‘junk’ food to replace what you are missing will cause health problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Step 6 – Try New Recipes
Make it a priority to try at least two new vegetarian recipes each week, so you learn what the right options are to maintain your health, and, in fact, benefit from your new eating plan. There is a wealth of recipes available online or in cookbooks that are easy, economical, and yummy.
Deciding to make a healthy lifestyle change is a great choice, and you will find that it doesn’t have to be difficult with a little bit of planning.