Hello my lovely readers! Today I wanted to switch the topic completely up. I’ve been a Vegetarian (and now Vegan) for well over 10 years. One question I get asked quite a lot is how to make the transition. Sometimes I find it hard to explain just how easy it actually is, once you ignore the doubts in your mind. So I thought write down some tips that helped me, for anyone out there who has been considering becoming Vegetarian or Vegan.
I’m not one for forcing my beliefs on people, so nowhere in this post will I try to convert my readers! This is not what this post is about. But if you’re looking to make the change, then here are a few helpful tips!
#1 – Figure out why
First of all you need to ask yourself why you’re wanting to make the transition. Is it for the animals or is it for dietary reasons? Either way, having a clear understanding of why you’re doing it is the best way to start. Then, I would recommend researching the advantages and disadvantages of a meat-free lifestyle, to help you weigh up and have a clearer vision on what you want to do.
#2 – Don’t tell yourself it’s a sacrifice
One of the biggest problems I find when people ask me how to cut meat out of their diet is that they end up thinking it’s too big of a sacrifice. They enjoy eating meat, they know they want to cut it out of their life but they feel like they can’t. First of all, you can. It isn’t a sacrifice. In fact, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself (and the animals duh). You obviously know it’s a good thing or else you wouldn’t have considered it. Do not panic, because my next tip is going to be the reason why you won’t miss meat.
#3 – Google all the meat replacements
Your biggest panic will be that you love meat and you’ll miss it but never fear. It’s not like ten years ago when meat replacements tasted like cardboard. Fear not, you won’t have to eat “rabbit food” every day! There are now hundreds and hundreds of options for “Fake meat” that taste SO DAMN GOOD!!! Get on the internet. Find the stores you shop at and check online what they have. You can literally get anything you want now including Vegan cheeses and butters. You can get the meat-free version of chicken, beef, bacon slices, pork, pepperoni, sausages, turkey, meatballs, deli sices, minced meat, ANYTHING!! Even FISH!!!! You don’t have to stuff your face with tofu every day, which let’s face it, isn’t for everyone. I literally never run out of options on what to eat. I want a pepperoni pizza, I’ve got it. Bacon sandwich? You bet. I even have hot pockets in the freezer will meat-free pulled pork in them which are yummy. There are so many options out there and they are starting to make them more affordable, you just have to do the research and then give it a chance.
#4 – Little by little
My good friend Eric offers his advice, to start slowly – “Mostly just little by little. First month, eliminate cow. Next month, eliminate pig while keeping cow out, next chicken, next fish etc. Next, ingredients in premade food, next eggs, next milk, next cheese, etc – All the way down” .. Eric has been a Vegan since 1996 and has a Bachelors Degree in Foods and Nutrition and is currently finishing up his Masters degree, with plans to continue on to a PhD.
#5 – Don’t pressure yourself
When I first became a Vegetarian, I had an oops moment. I made the decision to switch over, then I went to Quizno’s (Sub shop) and ordered a chicken sandwich and half way through, realised what I was doing, but I carried on eating it anyway. Even if one day you can’t resist the temptation, don’t kick yourself for it, it happens. Start again the next day. Nobody is watching you, nobody is judging you. Take it one day at a time! But don’t give up. It takes 21 days for something to become a habit.
#6 – Learn how to check labels
At first, I found it so annoying having to check the labels on food packaging. It became really tiring and boring. Do I have to watch every single little thing I’m eating? Really? And most people wouldn’t want to do that, but it get’s easier. Once you figure out which ingredients are in which foods, you’ll be a pro and won’t need to check the labels quite as often. So, I know it’ll probably be annoying for a little bit but keep going 🙂
#7- Learn how to cook
The problem I had for years is I didn’t really know how to cook so I’d eat the most basic, unhealthy Vegetarian foods and some of them got really boring and because I was overloading on carbs, I got fat. I only really started to find more options when I taught myself how to cook. I started to make my own non-meat versions of meals I saw on menus in restaurants or on TV or stuff I had eaten in the past and it’s lead me to learning about all the options that are out there and where to get them from. I love cooking and I never run out of options. I can make the vegan version of pretty much anything you give me and it tastes fabulous! Have fun with it, it doesn’t have to be boring.
These are my tips on how to transition. If you’re considering making that change, then let me know if any of my tips help and if you have any of your own, leave me a comment! Alternatively, you can search online for Vegan support groups, who will link you to websites on how to make the transition and send you starter packs, recepies etc. You can check out Happy Cow for restaurants in your area, tips, receipes and lots more! You can also check out PETA for some eye opening videos, tips, starter kids etc etc.
Thank you for reading 🙂