It's always a good time to change your diet, and more and more people are making the change to plant-based diets. Not only is it better for you, it's better for the environment. It's easy to do and you will see and feel its effects within a few weeks. If you are seriously considering it, here's some helpful tips.
Read up on what you are getting into. Check out some useful sites online, check out some recipe books, there are fabulous recipes online and even 'how to' cooking videos on youtube. Ask around, ask your friends or other family members who are vegetarian or vegan and get some testimonials from people who actually follow a vegetarian diet.
Changing from a meat-based diet to plant-based diet is easy but if you are not used to having the better portion of your meal be vegetables, then don't do it all in one day. Try it for one meal, maybe once a week to start, then increase it. Also try visiting a vegetarian restaurant and see how a professional makes it.
If you are a heavy meat eater, start with a certain type to start. Remove all beef and pork to start, again, start slow. You may find you don’t miss it and can increase the days without eating any red meat. Once you are used to it, then takeout chicken or fish until you are going without meat and are not feeling like you are missing out.
Always look for ways to replace the protein. Nuts, beans like kidney beans and grains, such as quinoa are excellent sources of protein. There are decent meat substitutes available in many health food stores and major grocery chains carry tofu and other soy based 'meat' products. They have come a long way in flavour and texture so if you are missing the BBQ because you don't eat meat, you can take a soy or bean burger or a package of veggie dogs. Other protein sources are dairy and eggs.
Once you have given up the meat, you should feel healthier. It is possible to be a vegetarian and not be healthy. Many new vegetarians or vegans don’t feel as full after a meal and tend to overeat. Filling up on breads, pastas and junk foods isn't wise and may in fact lead to weight gain. Legumes, hearty vegetables and dishes like lentil stew or stir fry with rice is plenty to satisfy a hearty appetite. Raw vegetables as a snack can fill you up and stop cravings.
You will feel better and making the decision to reduce or eliminate animal product helps you, the environment and cuts down on the amount of fats and potentially poisons and other hormones and steroids often found in animal proteins. Ease yourself into it, enjoy discovering new foods and dishes to prepare and share and welcome to your new lifestyle.
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