Have you been thinking about going vegetarian?
Wondering where to begin?
Clouded with so many doubts about becoming vegetarian?
Well, you are in the right place!
Let’s get started.
What do you mean by a Vegetarian Diet?
Simply put, vegetarians do not eat the meat of any type.
And it doesn’t end there.
The University of New Hampshire blog describes 7 types of Vegetarians.
· Consumes plant-based foods.
· Takes dairy.
· No eggs
· No meat.
· Take plant-based foods.
· Take eggs.
· No Meat or dairy.
· Take Plant-based foods.
· Takes Egg.
· No meat
· No seafood.
· They take chicken.
· No other meats.
· Follows Plant-based diet.
· May or may not include dairy and Eggs.
· Occasionally takes meat.
Next to the Lacto-Ovo type, the most common practice people follow is the Flexitarian type diet.
Having said all that, how does one become vegetarian?
Is it easy?
Is it hard?
Do I have to quit so many food choices?
Remember, going vegan may not be easy for everyone. But becoming a vegetarian can be!
11 suggestions and tips to become a vegetarian without difficulty:
1. You have to take things slowly:
If you cannot quit your meat-eating that quickly, don’t worry. Become a Flexitarian or a Lacto-ovo vegetarian first. Take your eggs and dairy (cheese, milk, etc.). And even consider occasional fish and meat.
You don’t have to change things overnight. The right way is to slide slowly.
2. Have Vegetarian Days:
Fix a day in a week. Any day is good. Have plant-based foods and no meat that day. Try for more than a day or two. See how it goes. Put yourself into challenges like Vegetarian January, Meatless Mondays, and such.
See how it goes!
Little steps like these make things easy for you.
3. Don’t be too meticulous in your food choices:
Our foods should make us feel nourished, healthy, satisfied, and wholesome. So, to become vegetarian, you don’t have to be too picky. You don’t have to avoid so many foods or go vegan in everything.
Nor do you have to give up meat overnight? If you still crave a meat sandwich or a sunny side egg, go for it!
4. Start with a Plant-Based Breakfast:
If you are trying to become a vegetarian; here is an easy trick. Start your day with a plant-based breakfast.
Try it for a week and see how you are doing. Continue further if you liked it.
· A simple sandwich with boiled eggs
· Smoothie bowls with fruits and nuts
· Vegetable stews with your bread
· Vegetable Lasagna
Come up with your own list too!
5. Try meat recipes with a vegetarian substitute:
Cook your regular meat recipes with a Plant-based substitute. Instead of meat, try adding mushrooms, soy, chickpeas, beans, vegetable patties, eggs, broccoli, etc.
6. Give up the least healthy meat choice first:
Non-vegetarians have options like seafood, chicken, goat, pork, beef, etc. Start by giving up the least healthy meat choice first. And you can cut down the rest in this least-healthy order.
This trick will help you control your meat cravings without discomfort.
7. Do what feels right to you:
Giving up dairy and egg is your choice. Not eating meat but taking fish is your choice. Or, occasional meat and regular Plant-based diet are okay too.
There are no rules or scales to become a vegetarian. It is about what feels comfortable for you.
8. Explore Food Choices:
Apart from the basics we know, there are many plant-based food alternatives to our surprise.
You can find plenty of nutritious food choices and sources on a vegetarian diet.
9. Things take time:
Adopting a plant-based diet and reducing meat intake take time. It's difficult to overcome meat cravings, the tastes, and the flavors.
That is alright.
There is no hurry or a time frame. Go from four legs to two legs to no legs.
Things take time!
10. Think of a Health Perspective:
Meat-eating has some red flags to them. You have the risk of bad cholesterol and heart blocks.
And eating processed meat for a prolonged time increases the risk of cancer in the body. Going vegetarian helps you avoid many lifestyle problems to a good extent.
11. Easy on your digestive system:
Un-hygienically stored, cut, prepared, or processed meat is a risk. It increases the chance of food poisoning, bloating, and other digestive problems. Vegetarian diets are easy for your stomach compared to meat and dairy.
By now, we hope you can get the picture of the whole vegetarian diet things. If you feel convinced about the idea of a plant-based diet, then we have a few more things to tell you.
25 things you need to know before you go vegetarian.
1. Don’t be Rigid. Try to be flexible. You don’t have to quit your dairy, eggs, favorite cheese, and chicken right away.
2. Choose your vegetarian type. Find the diet type that's comfortable for you.
3. Start with minor changes. Begin by adding more plant-based food to your table.
4. We understand the difficulty in overcoming the meat cravings. Replacing your meat recipes with a plant-based alternative is an easy trick.
5. Set your challenges. Try Meatless Mondays, Vegetarian January, No-Meat Months, etc.
6. Enrich your diet with iron and Folic Acid. The body absorbs the haem (animal) iron faster than plant-based iron. So take care in adding an adequate amount of iron and folic acid-rich foods.
7. For proteins — you have tofu, tempeh, egg whites, nuts, nut butter, seeds, lentils, etc.
8. Make sure you include Omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet. You can find it from sources like chia seeds, hemp seeds, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.
9. Try new recipes. Explore new cuisines. It will keep things interesting. You don’t have to have a boring vegetarian meal.
10. Give up the least-healthy meat choice first.
11. Do not get into supplements right away. In case you want to or have to, consult a certified doctor/nutritionist.
12. Increase your fruits and vegetable intake. They give fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other essentials needed for our body.
13. Have your cookies, cakes, and pastries without guilt. You can find recipes that have no eggs and dairy.
14. Cheese, fries and pizzas are not proper vegetarian diets.
15. Try looking for ideas from blogs and other online platforms. You can find verified profiles in the line of vegetarian diets. Get ideas for your meal preps, menus, recipes, etc.
16. Include an adequate amount of carbs. It is a healthy way to keep you full on a vegetarian diet.
17. Going gluten-free is your choice. Not all vegetarian diets will be gluten-free.
18. Vegetarian is not about having lettuce, greens, fruits, and salads. Salads will not keep you full or feel satiated. A satisfying meal is highly essential.
19. Not everything labeled plant-based is healthy. Watch the ingredients when you buy things.
20. You are trying to quit your meat. It is not a chance to overdo your proteins and carbs, okay.
21. You don’t always have to be in a home-cooking mode. Store some convenient foods just in case.
22. You have a good snack and mid-meal options. Explore.
23. Don't deprive yourself. It makes your vegetarian diet look restrictive and grueling.
24. Jump right in or dip your toe? Take your time. Transition gradually to your plant-based diet routines.
25. You do not have to quit your love of pastries. There are ways to make them without dairy and eggs.
You can make your diet as flexible as possible in becoming a vegetarian.
Proven Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet:
1. Lower Blood Pressure levels:
We have two instances to prove the point for you.
Study 1: A meta-analysis (clinical trials) by Yoko Yokoyama et al.
Consumption of a vegetarian diet can lower Blood Pressure. We can use such diets as a Non-Pharmacologic means of reducing BP.
Study 2: A Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) Study
The study considered 32 people who chose their diets.
Compared to meat-eating people, those who followed the vegetarian diet saw 7mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure. And diastolic pressure came about 5mm Hg lower.
2. Lower Levels of Hypertension:
Study: Vegetarian Diets and Cardio Vascular risk factors by Fraser G et al. Cambridge university Press published it online.
The research conclusions are:
· Vegans and Lacto-ovo vegetarians had significantly low systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
· There were significantly lower odds of hypertension (0.37 and 0.57, respectively) when compared to non-vegetarians.
3. Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
Non-vegetarian diet is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Processed meats and red meats have the potential to cause heart blocks. And also increase the bad cholesterol levels in the body.
When it comes to heart health, choose plant-based diets. And consider low-to-moderate meat-eating. At one point, stop meat-eating.
4. Healthy weight loss
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and pulses, microgreens, and sprouts have one thing in common. They are rich in fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals!
And has an appropriate amount of calories and carbs in them.
Along with physical activity, a wholesome vegetarian diet is sufficient. You can shed those extra weights. And don’t forget to regulate your sleep cycle. A good sleep, a good diet, and good physical activity give you healthy weight loss.
5. Lower risk of stroke:
A vegetarian diet offers a lower risk of stroke compared to a non-vegetarian diet style. But there is no firm evidence or studies to back this claim.
6. Good for skin, hair, and nails:
For skin and hair, what goes inside plays a vital role than what you put outside. That is why; including nutritious foods in your daily diet is vital.
Including protein, iron, and vitamin-rich food help your skin, hair, and nails get their luster and shine. And you can find all those nutrients in a plant-based diet. The more you include nourishing foods, the healthier your body becomes!
7. Lower risks of Lifestyle Problems
The risk of kidney stones, gallstones, obesity, hypertension, thyroids are all growing. They all have one major player— your diet!
Apart from external factors, your diet plays a vital role in controlling many of your lifestyle problems. A healthy vegetarian meal can bring more nutrition to your table!
If you still have doubts about going vegetarian, here is a list of FAQs for you. It will help you get an insight into common questions you have in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions and doubts about becoming vegetarian for beginners:
1. Is it healthy to become a vegetarian?
Appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthy and nutritionally adequate. It provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of major diseases and lifestyle problems.
— American Dietetic Association (Harvard Health Article dated April 15, 2020).
2. Is there a difference between a vegetarian and a vegan diet?
A vegan diet completely avoids animal products and by-products. It avoids food sources that have even small traces of animal sources, too. A common plant-based diet includes eggs, honey, and dairy.
3. How to go vegetarian easily?
· Reduce the meat intakes per day per week per month.
· Have more vegetables and fruits servings per day.
· Become a flexible vegetarian first. Take your eggs and dairy. It can help you balance the No-Meat diet you started.
· Plan meal-preps.
· Cut down the least healthy meal first.
· Substitute plant-based ingredients in your non-vegetarian recipes.
Take things slowly. Do what you can every day.
4. What do Vegetarians eat?
It depends on people's personal choices.
Along with plant-based foods:
· People take dairy and eggs.
· People take dairy (in any form) and no eggs.
· Some people prefer fish and no meat.
· There are flexible vegetarians who occasionally take the meat of their choice.
We can see strict vegetarians too. They are like complete vegans and prefer nothing from animal sources.
5. What are the common vegetarian meals for beginners?
· Fruits and smoothies
· Smoothie bowls
· Toasts and sandwiches
· Vegetable rolls
· Vegetable lasagna
· Have your home-prepared dips, sauces, and mixes.
· Pulses and lentil gravies
· Vegetable stews and curries
· Rice bowls
· Roasted/air fried vegetables
· Tortillas and wraps
· Muffins and bread
Try different cuisines.
You can find interesting, simple, and budget-friendly vegetarian recipes online.
Go for it!
6. How does vegetarian help the environment?
· Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
· Reduced meat wastes
· Less water consumption
· Avoids the use of antibiotics and hormones on poultry and animal meats
· No infecting waterways with fat/animal wastes
Vegetarianism has the base to support the environment in multiple ways.
7. What does it mean to be a vegetarian?
· You have better chances of bringing nutritious foods to your table every day.
· You can maintain a proper digestive system.
· Maintaining a healthy gut becomes easy.
· You have lower risks of lifestyle problems like bloating, constipation, diabetes, cholesterol, etc.
· You can avoid high-sodium level foods. They help in reducing blood pressure levels.
· You have a better chance of having fresh foods instead of processed or packaged foods.
8. Will going vegetarian help me lose weight?
Develop three things for that.
· Change your diet. Have more plant-based meals.
· Have a moderate physical activity. A minimum of 10-15 minutes of morning walk every day will do.
· Try to regulate your sleep cycle.
· Quit the junk in any form—be it the food or the beverages.
There is no quick fix for weight loss. And do not follow any fad diets.
Move your body.
Gradual and healthy weight loss takes the time it needs.
9. Why do people go vegetarian?
· Conscious decision to go meatless
· Ethical/Environment reasons
· Weight loss
· To control or overcome lifestyle problems like diabetes, BP, cholesterol, obesity, and such.
· Spiritual/Religious beliefs
· Overall health perspective
The University of California (Davis) did research to identify why people are going after vegetarian diets.
They concluded that individual health is the key motivator for people. All other reasons were secondary.
10. How to lose weight fast with a vegetarian diet?
· Do not believe in quick weight loss.
· Do not get into any fad diets (even if it is vegetarian).
· Quit the diets that make you feel unfulfilling or starved.
· Don’t go for crucial workout regimes. Take things gradually and appropriately.
· Get proper guidance for weight loss.
· Fix your food with wholesome plant-based ingredients. They support healthy weight loss.
With weight loss, slow and steady works well. It stays long.
11. How hard is it to be a vegetarian?
It’s not that hard.
· Start slow
· Take things gradually.
· Start with simple food changes.
· Do simple meal preps.
· Remind yourself why you wanted to start a vegetarian diet
· Think from your health perspectives
Compared to becoming a complete vegan becoming a vegetarian is easy.
12. What are some of the easy vegetarian foods for weight loss?
· Starting the day with soaked nuts and raisins.
· Have lentils, legumes, sprouts, microgreens.
· Have green smoothies. Add two or three pitted dates to enhance the taste.
· Fruits and berries smoothie.
· Have healthy mid-morning and post-lunch snacks.
· Start cutting down dairy. Or take it in limited quantity.
· Take vegetables and fruits rich in fiber and water content.
· Oats and quinoa.
· Try different overnight-oats recipes. You can make them healthier and more fulfilling.
· Include chia, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower seeds. They are rich in omega-3.
· Prepare your protein bars with home ingredients.
· Have soups. They can keep you healthy and stay full longer.
· You can add nut butter to your fruit shakes. They will keep you full.
· Make some time. Prepare your sauces, dips, mixes, granolas, etc.
· Time is a definite constraint. So start with meal preps.
As a start, try cutting down the least healthy food choice or beverage choice in your day.
Have an active lifestyle!
13. How to go meatless?
· Start by cutting down the least healthy meat choice first.
· Take meat in the afternoons for lunch. Have vegetarian breakfast.
· Cut down your meat intake to once or twice per month.
· Try meat recipes with a vegetarian alternative. It can satiate the cravings to a great extent.
· Take up challenges like meatless Mondays, no-meat month, etc.
· If you are taking meat for your proteins, then you can find suitable alternatives for vegetarians.
Focus on what you can eat instead of what you are missing.
14. What is it an easy vegetarian meal plan for beginners?
· You can plan your meals based on the type of vegetarian you are.
· An egg is a healthy option. You can prepare a hassle-free meal anytime.
· Make sure you never run out of bananas, milk, and dates. Smoothies are handy.
· Pancakes will come in handy anytime.
· Have vegetables at least a few. You can boil or bake or stir-fry or air-fry them.
· Oatmeal is a quick and easy meal. You can make it healthier by adding fruits and nuts.
· You can prepare vegetable patties.
· Apart from salt and pepper, have different spices in your pantry. You can explore various recipes to keep things interesting.
· Have a journal. Write recipes, meal preps, or meal plans for the next day.
· Sauces, yogurt dips, gravies will come in handy. Prepare in small batches and store them.
These simple ideas will help you draw a good meal plan.
15. What do vegetarian diets do to your body?
· They are rich in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
· They lower the rate of hypertension.
· Decreases cardiovascular problems.
· Becomes a significant source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
· Takes care of your gut.
· Reduces the risk of gallstones and kidney stones.
· Fiber-rich plant-based foods prevent bloating, constipation, and gas troubles.
A vegetarian diet does healthy changes to your body compared to a meat-eating diet.
16. What are the essential vegetarian tips for beginners?
· Start slow. You cannot quit your meat-eating overnight.
· Choose the type of vegetarian you want to be.
· Change your meals. Start by having a plant-based breakfast.
· Include fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, greens, pulses, and legumes.
· Avoid faux vegetarian meets. It involves heavy processing.
· Don’t force yourself into vegetarianism.
· There is no time frame to become a vegetarian. We try to make better food choices every day.
· Not everything labeled vegetarian is healthy. So avoid processed or packages outside foods.
· Try to take some time and do meal preps.
· Make sure you cover almost all essential nutrients in your meal for the day.
· Include iron, calcium, protein, and vitamin-rich foods.
· Explore and look for different food sources and recipes.
Try with these simple changes. It will give you a comfortable start towards plant-based diets.
We hope our complete guide on How to become a vegetarian was useful. We believe we have shared credible data with you about plant-based diets and foods.
Kindly remember one thing. In any type of diet, what matters most is how nourished, gratified, and fulfilled you feel. Make sure you follow this!
Happy going vegetarian!