How To Transition To A Vegetarian Diet
By: Sereda Aleta Dailey
Tags: Animal product, Cold cut, Food, Lacto vegetarianism, Lifestyle Choices, meat, New Moosewood Cookbook, Ovo-lacto vegetarianism, Protein, Soy milk, Soybean, Veganism, vegetarian, Vegetarian bacon, Vegetarianism
Practice reading food labels and recipe ingredients.Then check off all the items that aren’t vegan such as, meat, fish, dairy, gelatin etc. After that, replace the animal based ingredients for there vegan equivalent. Here are a few options to get you started. Replace the products with animal derivatives with its vegan/ vegetarian equivalent:
Dairy Cheese-Vegan Cheese with no Casin
Cheese-Vegan Cheese (should have zero casin on the label)
Beef – veggie mock beef strips (usually seitan- based
Sausages-there are many mock sausage versions on the market
Sliced sandwich meat-a variety of mock veggie sandwich meats exist
Chicken-veggie mock chicken (usually gluten-based)
Butter-substitute oils or vegan margarine. For baking, solid coconut fat is a great choice and it is good for you in small quantities owing to its vitamin E content.
Ice cream-replace with soy, coconut, almond or rice substitutes
Dairy Milk-replace with soy, rice, nut or oat.
Eggs-there are many egg-substitutes on the market.
Pectin-(for example, use pureed apple in cakes).
New Evidence that eating Vegan can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The little known truth about protein is that most of us get too much, not too little of it.
Calcium-rich foods to try: spinach, collard greens, kale, soy milk, fortified orange juice, sesame seeds, tahini, broccoli, almonds, carrots, and rice milk.
Be sure to shake your soy milk and orange juice before drinking, as the calcium can settle to the bottom. Women need about 45 grams of protein per day and men need around 55 grams.
One cup of tofu contains about 20 grams of protein, so women, eat some tofu and you’re almost halfway there!
Many foods contain protein and if you’re eating a well-balanced diet, you’re probably consuming more than enough protein without even thinking about it.
Make sure you’re eating a variety of protein-rich foods.
Eating whole foods really helps to completely take the guesswork out of proper vegan nutrition. Every time you choose whole foods over processed and packaged foods you’re definitely ahead of the game.
Consume high protein foods like tofu, seitan, soy, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, brown rice and whole grains.
It’s possible to get more than enough iron on a vegan diet.
Drinking coffee and tea, particularly with meals, can limit your absorption and should be consumed at least three hours before a meal.
For an iron boost eat tofu, lentils, spinach, soy, chickpeas.
Vitamin C also increases the absorption of iron.
Fat, Calories and Cholesterol in meats and dairy are a huge burden on your system.
Give up meat and dairy for 3 weeks and see huge results.
Eliminate animal products and you’ll gain a tremendous amount of antioxidants plus this fiber that you’ll add to your diet by switching to a vegan diet cleans out your system immediately.
The Simple Steps:
- Consider your reasons for becoming vegetarian. These might include moral or ethical reasons regarding the treatment of animals or equal food distribution, religious reasons, health reasons, environmental reasons or a combination of any of these.
- Set guidelines. Where will you stop? Many vegetarians eat eggs, cheese, etc. NOTE: Generally the least strict form of vegetarianism is being a pesco-vegetarian, excluding all meat from your diet except for fish (be aware that some will consider this not to be vegetarian), while excluding all animal products from your diet is Vegan. Other options to include/exclude from your diet are:
- Gelatin (Gelatin, including Kosher gelatin, is ground up bones, beaks, horns, hooves, skin, tissue, etc.)
- Rennet (produced from the interior of the stomachs of animals and used in the production of many cheeses, often not listed as an ingredient)
- Dairy (milk and subsequent products)
- Get some vegetarian cookbooks and find some vegetarian recipes that interest you.Vegetarianism is a great way to try tons of new foods that you may even like better than meat! Try the titles How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, 5 ingredient Vegetarian Gourmet, Healthy Asian Vegetarian Dishes, The New Moosewood Cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Veggie Food and others. Being vegetarian is not a deprivation! Who would miss meat when you can try so many new meals?
- Take a look around supermarkets, food stores and health food shops and see the variety of vegetarian food that is available. Be open to trying and researching new fruits and veggies such as starfruit, pomegranate, grapefruit and others. Also, look in your grain isle for new grains like orzo, quinoa, couscous, barley, alfalfa and others. They are all delicious!
- Eat vegetarian as much as possible without giving up meat entirely. Learn to enjoy vegetarian food before you quit meat cold turkey (no pun intended).
- Research your nutritional needs. Read up on vegetarian nutrition and vegetarianism in general. There is plenty of information on the internet and in books. make sure that with your new diet you’re still getting enough calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals. It’s a good idea to take vitamins and calcium tablets if you don’t already.
- Tell parents or a significant other about your choice. Make sure you have some solid research to back you up, as some people are very resistant to the idea of vegetarianism because of misunderstandings related to health, evolution or religion. When informing your family of your dietary choice, stay calm and polite, even if they find it difficult to accept.
- Start to eliminate the types of meat gradually, having “one last meal” with the relevant ingredient and resolving not to eat it again.
- Red meat, such as beef.
- Pork, such as bacon and ham, after a week.
- Chicken after another week.
- Fish and shell-fish, such as crab and salmon, after another two weeks.
- Make sure you eat enough food. There is protein in almost all kinds of food, so contrary to conventional belief, it isn’t necessary to worry about protein or count grams per day. As long as you eat 1200 calories or more a day, protein should never be an issue. Still, especially if you are trying to gain weight it is important to eat a wide variety of legumes, nuts, and seeds into your diet to make sure you get enough calories and healthy fats.
- Get a good variety of fresh fruit and vegetables to ensure that you keep high levels of B vitamins, iron and vitamin C. If you are concerned with deficiencies. Again, you should really take a good multivitamin each day, you can ask a nutritionist or a doctor in that matter. Also, learn about how getting more profit of the combinations of food you make, like iron (legumes, green vegetables) and vitamin C (lemon), for example.
- Eat healthily. As with any change in diet, be careful to keep all of your food groups in balance. These are carbohydrates/grains, fats, protein, veggies, fruits and fiber.
- Find good meat substitutes. Some taste quite realistic, and can help when you’re new to vegetarianism and have meat cravings. Others tend to be less realistic, and are simply an interesting new food to try.
- Quorn is a company that makes chicken patties, nuggets, and beef products from mycoprotein. It tastes very similar to meat.
- Morningstar makes bacon, sausages and riblets that do taste very similar to meat. Actually, Their breakfast sausage patties and chicken patties taste so similar to the real thing, that they have been known to fool a carnivore or two.
- Boca products taste quite similar to meat, especially the “ground beef”.
- Schneiders Au Naturel products are very realistic, as are Veat.
- Yes make everything from “turkey” slices to “pepperoni”.
- If you find yourself eating meat at times or “cheating”, you can always start as a pescetarian. This means to only eat fish meat, it’s a good way to start and it gets your body used to not having as much protein. so if you are a beginner, try to start just eating fish then gradually go to no meat at all.
- Try Indian vegetarian foods. India has the largest population of completely vegetarian people in the world, so they know what they’re doing. The majority of Indian dishes are not spicy or strong and there are literally hundreds of vegetarian dishes which are a much better alternative to salads.
- If you can’t stand the idea of truly giving up hamburgers, hot dogs, et cetera, loads of stores have lots of alternative choices for your situation. Many consist of fake meat with the alternative being soy. There’s so many foods you can make without meat, you can find whole recipe books. Try tofu instead of meat. And also, why not try just decreasing your intake of meat instead of forbidding it? Like only having meat at dinner instead at lunch too.
- Even if you don’t want to become a full-time vegetarian, do try some of the tastier meat-free dishes, such as dahl.
- Read “The More With Less Cookbook”. Although not all the recipes in there are meat-free, it does give some such recipes, as well as tips for using plant protein.
- Start going to more Indian, Thai, Chinese, or Japanese restaurants, as they tend to have more selections available for vegetarians. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
- Most restaurants will prepare food without meat when requested.
- Many familiar foods such as peanut butter are chock-full of protein.
- Join a vegetarian message board for support (see External Links).
- If in the early days of going vegetarian you have a lapse and eat meat, don’t panic! Just remind yourself why you decided to go vegetarian in the first place and carry on as before.
Don’t be scared or fooled into thinking that eliminating meat will automatically make you prone to anemia. Do some research! Vegetarians who eat a variety of fruits and vegetables are actually less likely to develop nutritional deficiencies than people who eat junk food (including meat).
- Stay strong! Many people are against vegetarianism, and you may read or hear things that may tempt you to go back to eating meat.
- It only takes a couple of weeks of eliminating meat before you will stop having cravings. It might be better if you eliminate all meat from your diet at once, and keep it out for a couple of weeks. Before long, your cravings will be eliminated and you won’t want it anymore.
- If you are experiencing meat withdrawal, and you most likely will, don’t eat foods that taste similar. Doing so will only increase the cravings. Instead, eat something you love, even if it’s chocolate. You will lose any pounds you gain by eating comfort foods fairly quickly after you are rid of the cravings.
- Seek out vegetarian groups. Whether in person or online, this will help you to learn, get support, and meet like-minded people. This is a good way to share recipes.
- You should think of yourself as the animal!
- Understand that you can still enjoy some of your favorite foods as a vegetarian.
- Check labels for food that may not be “suitable for vegetarians” – some processed foods have hidden animal ingredients such as gelatin, animal fats, cochineal and rennet. The main ones to check are vegetarian cheeses, yogurts, soups, desserts and some sweets and biscuits/cookies (particularly red-colored ones, which sometimes contain dye made from beetles called carmine/cochineal).
- Only eat cheeses that list enzymes as microbial or vegetable-based. Most cheeses are in fact not vegetarian, as they contain animal enzymes derived from killed calf stomach.
- With a switch to your new diet, you might feel increased awareness about food and animal rights related issues. Try to be compassionate with your friends and family who may not understand your switch, and try to avoid judging them harshly based on their lack of information. It’s important to remember that you will set a better example by enjoying delicious vegetarian foods and living healthfully than by preaching to others.
- Make sure you are not a junk-food vegetarian. While not consuming meat is healthy, eating junk-food all the time is even worse than eating meat.
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