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Tips for going vegetarian




This week marks the annual National Vegetarian Week (yes, that's a thing). Two years ago (on my first Vegetarian Week as a complete vegetarian) I wrote a bunch of (now cringy) posts each day that week to highlight it. This year I'm keeping it a little bit more low key with a simple guide for anyone who is considering going vegetarian (partially inspired by knowing a few people making the jump).


Veganism has been going really well for me and within the last two months has began to feel very natural. However I did find the transition from veggie to vegan different from meat-eater to veggie, so this guide is based only on my experience of going vegetarian three years ago with advice for meat-eaters wishing to transition.

Motivation
Despite having went vegetarian at age twenty, I had considered it for most of my life and had questioned why humans ate meat for as long as I knew there were people out there who abstained from it. There definitely is some twaddle on why people should be vegetarian but to make a commitment to this lifestyle you'll require a strong reason that you feel deep inside of you. I'm a vegetarian because I think eating meat is wrong, not because I read something in a beauty magazine about glowing skin.

Gradually transition
If you take away any piece of advice from this post, make it this one. The likelihood of you waking up tomorrow and being a full-on vegetarian is unlikely. If you want to cut it out a meat at a time, go with that. I personally cut out meat at home once I was finished what I had (just like going CF, finish it but never re-purchase) then began forcing myself to pick the veggie option in restaurants, then moving onto by-products before getting to the point where I became the awkward dinner party guest.

Nutrition
In terms of health meat-diets, veggie-diets and vegan-diets are all as viable as each other. And it's a load of guff that non-meat eaters automatically have protein deficiencies. However, because society, parents and health classes at school generally teach us that protein comes from meat (and only meat) before cutting it out a diet it's essential to hit the books (or internet) and read up on plant based sources of iron, protein, B12 and iron.

Meat substitutes
I know very few long-term vegetarians who eat Quorn or tofu on the regular as over time they've lost the taste for meat, even the fake stuff. However these products are really good for the transition period.

Reading food labels
Gelatin will become the bane of your life as it comes in many a surprising food. Just last week I discovered I shouldn't be drinking Kopperberg (oops). It's pretty self-explanatory that McChicken sandwiches are off the menu but you'll need to start turning food packets over and reading ingredients on non-obvious foods such as cheese, worcester sauce, alcohol and sweets.

This is also something you'll need to chat to meat-eating spouses/friends/parents about to make sure they don't accidentally feed you something.

Get yourself a good cookbook
My first vegetarian cookbook was Vegetarian Nosh for Students which I still use regularly and highly recommend. It covers a wide range of food types, has advice on going veggie and almost all ingredients can be found in a mainstream supermarket (including the city-centre Metros).

Eating out
I'll still generally only eat at a restaurant if I can find a menu on their website however over the years I have learnt the art of guessing which kind of establishments are better for non-meat eaters. Indian, Italian and Greek places are safe bets. However American diners, Mexican, burger joints and posh places are pretty much out the question.

Parents/Spouses
I wish it could be a non-issue but it's no coincidence that I went vegetarian after I had moved out and not long after I became single again. Sorry, but I don't have advice here other than stick to your guns.

Other lifestyle choices
After transitioning into a vegetarian diet it's worth considering if you wish to lead a vegetarian lifestyle, though it is your own choice. I don't wear leather, feathers or fur. I also don't use cosmetics tested on animals. You can transition into this pre-diet or post-diet (I've been avoiding leather since my mid-teens) - whatever feels correct for you.

Handling questions
After three years most people don't seem to bat an eyelash at my diet and friends I've made within the last three years have never known me any other way. However when you decide to go 'public' about this lifestyle choice be prepared that you'll receive questions about your reasons etc (or why it took you 20 years, the question I found myself on the receiving end of most often). In my experience most of these questions are from genuinely curious people (and I'm happy to answer) but be prepared for silly questions about protein intake, whether you eat fish and what you would do if you were stranded on a desert island.

Other people are the most annoying thing about being veggie ;)

Are you vegetarian? Is this true for you as well? Are you considering going veggie and want any more pointers? 

Morag x

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4 comments:

  1. Great post :) I have a veggie one scheduled for tomorrow :) xx

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  2. I decided to turn into a veggie when I was 10 and have stuck to it ever since, best decision ive ever made!

    http://velvet-winter.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the tips. I haven't made the decision to turn veggie but definitely understand why others would want to!

    Just followed you on twitter, facebook! I just made various social media accounts so I'd love any support :)
    Raincouver Beauty

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  4. Just starting to transition to veggie and it's so good to find so much support and advice around :) I particularly like your blog, very helpful and you seem so genuine!

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