Going vegetarian is a good idea for many reasons. Though you may be giving up meat, and all the tasty meals that include it, vegetarians enjoy many health and lifestyle benefits. For instance, vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressure than those who eat meat, and they are less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other health-related issues. Vegetarian diets are also less harmful to the planet than traditional diets, which rely upon emission-heavy meat processing plants. In fact, once you become a vegetarian, you effectively cut your daily carbon footprint in half, according to PETA.
Lastly, vegetarians trim hundreds of dollars from their grocery bills annually, just by saying no to meat. A study published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition claims that a vegetarian diet could save Americans about $750.00 a year. Hey, that’s a considerable chunk of change – with it, you could even finance a new laptop for college! Needless to say, there are many reasons why you might be interested in becoming a vegetarian, but as with any other major lifestyle shift, it’s important to ease your way into the change, if you want to enjoy the success that comes with it.
To help you along this new adventure, uCribs is here with a few suggestions that will soften your transition from omnivore to herbivore – take a bite out of these 4 tips below.
Be prepared to ease into your new diet.
We know it’s tempting to jump headfirst into anything “new,” whether it be a new relationship or a new diet. Yet, when it comes to something as dramatic as cutting meat completely out of your daily meals, you’ll want to refrain from going cold turkey. (Pun intended.) Easing into this new diet is a much better way to acclimate your body to these changes and ensure that your vegetarian lifestyle sticks for good. Try swapping meat for a bean or soy-based product, like tofu, for one or two meals per week. From there, up your vegetarian meals until you’ve eventually transitioned fully into your brand-new, veggie-consuming way of life.
Keep your fridge and pantry well-stocked.
You might think that it will be easy to ignore the siren song of the local BBQ joint when you’re a vegetarian, but you’ll need to stay prepared with veggie-friendly foods if you want to stick to your newfound goals. It’s all too tempting to cheat on your new diet when you don’t have a well-stocked pantry, so keep your kitchen supplied with plenty of meat substitutes, beans, and of course, fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs, which are versatile enough to be included in a wide variety of meals. Whether it’s lunchtime or a random late-night craving, you’ll always be ready to mix up a delicious, veggie-friendly meal or snack.
Enjoy meat substitutes in moderation.
These days, there are many plant-based meat substitutes lining the aisles of your favorite grocery store. From faux hamburger patties to tofurky sausage, you might find it much easier to edge your way into a vegetarian diet with a few of these meat-free products in your fridge. While you’ll have to adjust to the product’s different taste – hey, even the best meatless products cannot replicate the taste and experience of eating a sirloin steak – meat substitutes will allow you to continue making some of your favorite recipes. Just be sure to monitor your consumption! Even though these products may seem innocent enough, some of them come chock-full of additives and preservatives, so read the labels carefully to stay aware of what you’re putting in your body.
Use recipes to make vegetarian meal prep much easier.
Before you were a vegetarian, you might have thrown together countless meals without glancing at a single recipe. Since you’re now foraying into a different diet, however, you’re probably much better off allowing recipes to guide your first few attempts at vegetarian cooking. Think about it: you won’t know everything there is to know about vegetarian meal prep when you’re first starting out, so why not hand over the reins to food bloggers, like Sprouted Kitchen or Cookie and Kate? Their recipes will guide you to true veggie bliss – so much so that you probably won’t even miss the meat! Yeah, you heard what we said.
Vegetarianism has a long list of benefits that will improve your health, checking account balance, and carbon footprint. While a vegetarian diet may greatly differ from your current one, just know that it’s totally possible to make the switch, if you truly have an underlying motivation to pursue vegetarian eating. Keep these 4 pointers in mind when you’re starting out, and you’ll be “living on the veg” in no time!