Starting a vegetarian diet is tough. Trust me, I know. So when people ask me how and WHY I’m vegetarian it doesn’t surprise or offend me. From an outsider looking in, to live a life without the perceived luxuries of meat seems like punishment. But this is not the case. Since becoming a vegetarian I sleep better, have softer skin, a less flaky scalp (yes seriously), and just feel good. Also, because grocers have embraced vegetarian preferences, it’s become less overwhelming to buy meat alternative products. But in any case, I’d like to address a frequently asked question:
“How do you start a vegetarian diet?”
Well, it’s all a process. A few keys to success include 1) knowing your starting point, 2) going slow, and 3) being patient. When we have a goal it’s common for us to imagine ourselves at the finish line in all our glory eating fabulous vegetarian meals with no problems. However, we tend to forget about the right now. If you are considering making the vegetarian transition, or just cutting some forms of meat out your diet, first think about what your diet and lifestyle are right now, how your daily routine and lifestyle influence your current diet, who cooks your meals, your monthly budget, the food options at your local grocery store, etc. Then start slow, don’t remove and replace everything at once just replace ONE thing at a time and master that.
For instance, if you want to journey into the wonderful world of vegetarianism, how about every Thursday you try to have a vegetarian lunch and do that for three weeks; and don’t have the same lame lunch but challenge yourself to having different types of lunches: from a quinoa bowl to tofu tacos to a yummy summer salad with cranberries, walnuts, and whatever else. Surprise yourself with various yummy options. This will allow you to learn and build your vegetarian knowledge as well as confidence. If you find that you are buying your lunch, then why not experiment with preparing your lunch at home – not only will this save you money but will further build your food knowledge.
Go slow with this change and be patient. If you forget a day or mistake real chicken for tofu, it’s all good, you’re still learning!