1. Know the reason you want to turn vegetarian
If you want to become vegetarian just for the sake of being vegetarian, chances are, you won’t make it for a long time. This is not because it’s difficult to be a vegetarian (far from that). It’s simply because any lifestyle change requires purpose and motivation. If you don’t know the reason you’re doing something, you won’t find the motivation to keep doing it. Same goes for turning vegetarian
2. Read on the topic
I don’t know about you, but whenever I am looking into something new, the first thing I do is read about it, then perhaps talk about…but I always read about it first to get a better understanding of the subject matter. You should do the same thing about the vegetarian subject matter. If reading is not your cup of tea, go on Youtube and find great videos on the topic. Some people are better with videos than with text. If you like reading, then I suggest you check out GoVeg.com
3. Find great vegetarian recipes
Don’t go overboard here. Start slow; i.e find one vegetarian recipe a week and cook it. If you like it, write it down and add it to your collection of vegetarian dishes. It won’t be long before your collection is boasting 10 to 15 delicious vegetarian recipes.
4. Learn the art of substitution
Since your meat recipes are still fresh on your mind, a great way to turn vegetarian is to cook the same meals but to substitute the meat with non-meat. For example, substitute the ground beef with Morning Star or Boca. If you ever asked yourself: What do vegetarians eat, then check out The Vegetarian’s Beginner’s Guide 30 Day Course. Bottom line, you can keep eating what you love eat, but just choose their meatless alternatives.
5. Start gradually
The best way to kick a habit is to do it gradually. If you are a smoker and smoke 10 cigarettes a day, you can’t quit cold turkey. Perhaps you start by cutting your daily consumption in half (i.e 5 cigarettes), then 4…and before you know it, you are down to zero. Same goes with turning into a vegetarian. Start cutting out the red meat first because it is the least healthy of them all. Leave everything else as is. Do this for a week or two, then another type of meat; pork for example.
6. Think about cutting out dairy and eggs
This is entirely up to you, because some vegetarians eat dairy and eggs while others don’t. So if you want to keep those in your daily diet, by all means, feel free. But if you go meatless for a while and are getting pretty comfortable in your newly found passion, then definitely go further, by taking out dairy and eggs from your diet. This is partly because they contain a significant amount of saturated fat relative to soy alternatives.
7. Make a plan of attack
Put some time into planning your meals carefully. For example, it would be useful for your to write down your breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner ahead of time so that you have a good idea what you will be eating that day (whether you’re eating at home or outside). If you don’t do this, you are very likely to fall into the temptation of just eating whatever you see first. And that might mean eating meat items as well
8. What about junk food?
The biggest misconception I hear about turning vegetarian is that you automatically become healthy. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I personally know of many vegetarians who are unhealthy because they eat a bunch of vegetarian junk food. So remember, junk food is a no no, whether you are vegetarian or not. Instead of junk food, try including more fruit and veggies in your diet. Also, load up on whole grains, nuts, beans, soy protein, and other nutritious foods.
9. Broadcast your plan
If you plan on doing something, tell other people so that they can hold you accountable and/or motivate you. The same goes for turning vegetarian. Tell your family and friends about it. This is also helpful because they will know ahead of time what to cook, if they are inviting you over for instance. This will certainly prevent those awkward moments when you say “well there’s nothing on the menu I can eat because I am vegetarian now”. However, keep one thing in mind. Never force anyone to go vegetarian with you. Let them do it on their own.
10. Have a blast
Last but not least, don’t make the whole vegetarian experience a grueling one for you. Have fun experimenting different dishes and have fun doing so. If the vegetarian experience starts to become a restrictive experience, then chances are you won’t last long at all. So keep that in mind.