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How to Become a Vegetarian: A Step By Step Guide

How to Become a Vegetarian | smelltheroses.com

Switching to a plant-based diet is a decision that deserves a lot of thought. I thought about going vegetarian for a while before actually starting the lifestyle change. I have to admit, I gave more thought to WHY I should become one and not as much to HOW to (properly) become one. That being said, I am writing this post for any of you who have been considering it.

Before getting started, I want to make it known that I know not everyone wants to be a vegetarian and I don’t write this thinking everyone should be. It is a very personal decision and I respect that. 🙂 And remember, I ate meat for the first 23 years of my life so I would never judge someone for doing the same. This post is simply a resource for those interested that I wish I had before I made the switch!


How to Become a Vegetarian

Now, let’s get started.

1. Ask yourself WHY you want to switch to a plant-based diet. 

  • This is the most important step because your answer to “why” is what is going to guide you through the entire process. When it feels tough or you start having cravings, it is going to be what keeps you on track and motivated. I wrote an entire post on why I made the switch (read it here), but everyone has their own reasons. Do your research and be honest with yourself. If you are not passionate about this lifestyle then it will never work for you.

2. Pick what type of plant-based diet you want to follow.

  • Dependent on your reason(s) for going plant-based, you may want either more lenient or strict diet guidelines. In other words, you may want to remove all animal products from your diet or eliminate certain animal products. Read my post on types of plant-based diets to help decide which one fits your needs.

3. Map out your nutritional needs.

  • It is important to match your caloric and macronutrient needs (protein, fat, carbs) with your lifestyle.
  • Your nutritional needs will vary based on your gender, activity level, and personal philosophy. If you’re not sure what your target caloric intake and macronutrient ratios should be, I recommend starting with the presets on the My FitnessPal App (ComputeriPhone, iPad, Android). This app calculates each value based on your body mass index, activity level, and ideal weight. If you disagree with the app’s presets you can manually adjust them to fit your needs. Starting out, I logged all my meals/snacks on the app to ensure I was eating enough calories but also getting the right portions of macro/micro nutrients. (Side Note: For those of you who do not wish to switch to a plant-based diet, I still recommend this app. There is a misconception that by going vegetarian you will become malnourished but the average American’s diet is not properly managed.) 
  • As with any major dietary change, you should make sure you are following up with your doctor and getting annual physicals/blood work. If you have a complex medical history, I recommend consulting your doctor before changing your diet. 

|| Once you have completed these first three steps, I recommend one of two methods to start implementing this diet/lifestyle change. One doesn’t necessarily work more effectively than the other across the board; it all depends on the individual. Read both and see which one sounds more realistic for you. ||

4. Think gradual baby steps!

  • Unfortunately, it is not realistic to switch to vegetarianism overnight. Don’t get me wrong, I have heard of people who have done this but it is much easier said than done. Gradually changing your diet will make the change less noticeable and easier to make a permanent part of your life.
  • Option #1: Start by cutting out certain types of animal products at a time. I recommend eliminating red meat first (beef, pork, lamb, veal, etc). You can start by replacing these foods with chicken/turkey/fish alternatives if that makes the change less drastic for you. Next, gradually start eliminating chicken and turkey meat. Many believe this is the hardest step in the process since these meats are staples in most people’s diets. However, almost everything made with chicken can be made with an alternative (think eggplant, avocado, tofu, imitation meat – sounds gross but most are made from natural plant proteins & fibers, etc.). You will slowly redesign your favorite recipes to fit your new plant-based lifestyle. I can confidently say, there is a vegetarian version for just about every meat-based meal. Once you have reached this point, you can consider yourself a pescetarian (what I am although I follow a vegan diet most days). To be able to truly call yourself a vegetarian you must eliminate fish and seafood. If veganism is your ultimate goal, gradually eliminate eggs and dairy. The entire process can be as fast or slow as you like!
  • Option #2: Start by eliminating meat and/or animal products from your diet for one day of the week. You can eat meat as your normally would the other 6 days. Use those regular days to prepare for your plant-based day by writing out your meals and researching new recipes. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. Gradually increase the number of meat-free days per week. Like option #1, this can be as gradual as you like. If you start feeling overwhelmed, slow down. There is no rush!

5. Always be prepared. 

  • More than likely, you aren’t going to be able to always prepare your own meals. Although restaurants and food stores are introducing more vegetarian options, there is still much progress to be made. Before going out to eat, I recommend looking up the restaurant’s menu. If you are going to a sports game or theme park, you will notice sometimes vegetarian options are so limited you have to choose between a hot pretzel and mozzarella sticks. In an effort to not eat like a picky 5-year-old, you have to plan accordingly. When vegetarian options are limited, try to eat something small before you go out (I suggest a protein shake) and have vegetarian-friendly snacks on hand.

6. No diet is perfect and mistakes can happen. 

  • Every vegetarian’s worst nightmare is the thought of accidentally eating meat (esp. if you went vegetarian for the animals). I will admit, it happened to me and I immediately felt sick to my stomach (I thought I bought tuna when it was actually chicken salad 🙁 ). A sudden rush of panic and immense guilt came over me and I felt like all my previous efforts were wasted. No one is perfect and mistakes happen. These mistakes are more likely to happen when eating out which is why I recommend cooking for yourself as much as possible. If it happens to you, think about what went wrong and make an effort to be more careful in the future. One mistake does not discredit the impact your previous efforts have had on the lives of animals!

I hope you have found this post helpful! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Leave them in the comments section or contact me directly by email.

Final thoughts: I am significantly happier living a plant-based lifestyle and think of food completely differently than I use to. This lifestyle’s benefits are truly endless.

Thank you for reading!

 

2 In Food/Supplements/ Wellness

Types of Plant-Based Diets

TYPES OF PLANT-BASED DIETS

Vegetarianism is not easily defined because it can mean different things to different people. There are definitions to help understand the different types of vegetarian diets but even these are not completely accurate. For instance, I technically have to consider myself a pescetarian because I occasionally eat fish even though I usually stick to a vegan diet. It is important to not get hung up on defining yourself or feeling you have to fit into one of the following categories! I have listed them to show you that not all plant-based diets are the same and there is a version to fit everyone’s different values and lifestyles.Watch The Channel (2016) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Types of Plant-based Diets:

  • Vegan = eat NO products derived from animals; this often includes honey
  • Lacto-vegetarian = eat dairy + plant foods but no meat, fish, poultry or eggs
  • Ovo-vegetarian = eat eggs + plant foods but no meat, fish, poultry or dairy foods
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian = (most common type) eat eggs + dairy + plant foods but no meat, fish, or poultry
  • Pescetarian = eat fish + eggs + dairy + plant foods but no red meat or chicken

Many people begin their transition to vegetarianism as a pescetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian. Some stop here while others slowly transition to full-blown vegan. Either way, I believe by switching to any of these plant-based diets you are making a positive difference! 🙂

Are you a vegetarian? If so, tell me about it in the comments section.


Source : Vegetarian Society

2 In Food/Supplements/ Wellness

Why I Became a Vegetarian

Why I Became a Vegetarian: smelltheroses.com

I’ll be honest, it was not difficult for me to become a vegetarian. Before May 22, 2015, the only meat I ate regularly was chicken, turkey, and fish. I had eliminated “red meat” from diet several years before this. I don’t remember exactly why I stopped eating beef but I do remember reading some article that stated “red meat” was hard on our digestive tracts so I just went with it. This wasn’t hard because there was a turkey alternative for all my favorite foods. I should also add, since my little sister was obsessed with pigs (and still is 😉 ), as we grew up, pork was strictly prohibited in our household.

That day in May when I took the leap and abstained from chicken and turkey, it was barely even noticeable. I ate the same things I usually ate but replaced the meat with other sources of protein. There was definitely a learning curve in the beginning. I had to do my research and start to look at food differently: each food I put into my body had a purpose. I was no longer eating to feel full or for taste, I was eating to nourish my body. After a few weeks, I knew I would never go back.

When did I decide to go vegetarian?

I became interested in vegetarianism when I graduated high school but never seriously considered it. Like most, I focused on all the reasons NOT to become one. I convinced myself it would take too much time/effort which I didn’t have and that, as an athlete, I wouldn’t be able to get enough protein to repair my muscles. Any time I mentioned the interest, people told me “you’re going to waste away” or “you’re going to become malnourished”. Fast forward to my final year of undergrad — I promised myself I would make the transition to vegetarian. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make any excuses because my cheerleading career would be over and I would have plenty of free time. I’m happy to say, the day after graduation was my first day! 🙂

So what exactly convinced me to go vegetarian?

While many people switch to a plant-based diet for the health benefits, my primary motivation was my love for animals. Raising my two doggies showed me we have more in common with animals than we have differences. All animals have emotions just like you and me – they can feel love, excitement, attachment, fear, and suffering.

When I started doing research, I quickly realized the only thing difficult about becoming vegetarian was acknowledging the horrific reality of the meat industry. The animals do not live a single day without pain and suffering. I didn’t believe what I read until I saw it. As much as I didn’t want to, I forced myself to watch real undercover videos as I cried in horror. I doubt even the most devoted meat eaters would be able to watch those videos without getting upset. The images from those videos are forever engrained in my head. The second I saw them I knew I could never eat meat again.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” – Paul McCartney

I believe it is natural to question the way we eat and what we eat. We inherited our diets from our parents which they inherited from theirs and so on. In other words, eating animals is our “cultural norm”. Like any of our beliefs, we have a right to question them and explore alternatives. I don’t expect everyone who reads this post to walk away and never eat meat again. I wrote this post because I think more and more people are becoming interested in this lifestyle and want to learn more.

Final Thoughts: People become vegetarians for many different reasons. If you are seriously considering this lifestyle change, I can tell you first hand the best reason to make the switch is justice for the animals. I believe you are more likely to stick to something when you are doing it with others in mind and not just for yourself. This is one of the only “diets” that not only affects you but also others as well! These animals have no control over their situation – it is on us to be their voice and proponents for change. Having switched to a plant-based diet, I feel genuinely happier and healthier than ever.

If you would like to learn more about vegetarianism, here are the resources I recommend:


Thank you for reading! I hope you took something away from this post.

If you liked this post, let me know in the comments!