Thinking about making a change in your diet? Vegetarianism, which is a diet
that comes in many forms from vegan, which eliminates all animal products,
including dairy, and ovo-lacto, a diet in which only meat is eliminated.
Vegetarianism in one of the many methods people are choosing to improve health,
increase energy, and reduce the risk of certain diseases. However, if you’re a
meat eater, or even if you’re a vegetarian that eats dairy products, you should
make the change to vegetarian or vegan diet gradually, so that you won’t shock
your body and become inconsistent in your eating habits. Here are ten steps to
help you adopt and maintain a healthy vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
#1: Make sure you’re completely aware of your decision.
Why exactly are you becoming vegetarian? Are you trying to lose weight? Is
the vegetarian diet recommended by your doctor? Be sure that you know exactly
why you’re becoming vegetarian, as well as the benefits of your new diet
choice. This will motivate you to actually begin taking action towards becoming
vegetarian or vegan. Many vegetarians tend to skip this step when trying to
adjust to a vegan diet, and end up getting frustrated with themselves after
they discover they don’t have the willpower to stop eating dairy right away.
Even though vegetarians may not eat meat, becoming vegan is still a major diet
change, and patience is necessary in order for the process to be effective.
#2: Pay attention to how you feel after you eat.
Just because you’ve decided to become vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean
you’re going to start tomorrow. So, for the next week or so, pay close
attention to how you feel after each meal while consuming the foods you
normally do. If you tend to feel very sluggish after breakfast, or are unable
to concentrate as well after lunch, it could very well be a result of your
diet, so think of meal alternatives while you’re adhering to your body’s signs;
be sure to write them down so you don’t forget. You may even want to make a
list of the pros and cons of vegetarianism, just to keep motivated.
#3: Purchase Vegan and Vegetarian Cookbooks and Magazines.
If you spend money on a cookbook or a vegetarian lifestyle magazine, you’re
more likely to actually use it. Browse through the books to look at the
presentation of the food, and be sure to read any captions that will tell you
about specific nutritional benefits of each meal. This will also give you
realistic vegetarian and vegan recipe ideas; sometimes photographs of certain
foods can make you feel like preparing the same meal is next to impossible;
however, when you see the ingredients, you may not feel so intimidated.
#4: Start eliminating certain things from your diet.
If you’re trying to become vegetarian, try to eliminate one thing from your
diet each week, and be sure to have a replacement. If you’re taking beef or
pork out of your diet, replace it with chicken or turkey. After a week or so of
poultry, try only eating fish. Then, you may be ready to switch to tofu or
other soy-based meat substitutes. If you’re becoming vegan, try eliminating one
dairy product from your diet per week; it may be easier to start with something
you don’t consume on a daily basis. Start with treats like yogurt or ice cream
(and replace these things with soy-based products), then gradually move to
milk, eggs, and cheese. If you have something to put in the cupboards in place
of the items you’re giving up, you’ll be less likely to cheat on your diet.
#5: Take yourself seriously; start living in your new diet.
If you don’t take this diet change seriously, no one else will. Try a new
vegetarian recipe each week for dinner, or increase your snack intake daily (of
fruits, vegetables, and nuts, of course). When you’re invited to parties or
get-togethers, bring a vegetarian dish. If you’re the only one in your house
that is converting to a vegetarian diet, set your food aside while you’re
cooking for your family. These small changes will let your friends and family
know that this change is very important to you, and they’ll be more likely to
be supportive if they know you want to stick to it.