The Dos and Don’ts to Giving Up Meat - Rivertea Blog
Monica Munteanu | On 14, Jun 2013
We have enjoyed it and cooked it in various forms for thousands of years, but these modern times bring a dietary revolution: eliminating meat from your meals.
Whether it is for health or moral reasons, or just don’t like the taste of it any more, the common trend is to give it up and choose the path of veganism or raw foodism. Since we were little, we were always forced to eat our veggies – there was no negotiating. Now doctors and nutritionists have taken our mother’s place and are advocating the same thing. The only difference is now we truly understand why they’re so important for our health.
However, giving up meat and turning to an all veggie diet isn’t something that you should just do over night. You need to prepare and get all the info you need to make sure the transition goes smooth and you’re developing a healthy dietary system.
Keep on reading to see the dos and don’ts you need to know and act on when becoming a vegetarian.
Decide what your diet will actually be – you don’t need to give up all animal based food at once. You can be a lacto-vegetarian, an ovo-vegetarian, a lacto-ovo-vegetarian or a pesco-vegetarian. It all depends on what you are ready to renounce and what would help you better get used to not eating a juicy steak anymore.
Make sure you get enough protein – you will be hungrier than usual at first so make sure you get enough protein from other sources. You can have eggs or cheese and, if you’re going all vegan, tofu, beans and soya are the top choices.
Get all your vitamins – meat does have its ups. It is an important source of iron and B vitamins, so you’ll need to find the right replacements. If you’re giving up fish as well, don’t forget about omega 3. Some alternatives are spinach, collard greens, lentils, chickpeas, beans, mushrooms or hummus. It also helps to take natural supplements. Make sure you know everything you need to make up for when giving up meat.
Make vegetarian versions of your favorite meals – there’s no need for you to become a master chef in vegetarian cooking. Not at the beginning, at least. Keep your favorite recipes, just replace the ingredients. For example: the meat from a burrito can turn into beans and grilled veggies.
Make a list of snacks – there are a lot of great snacks you can nibble on in between meals, especially so you won’t feel hungry in the first couple of weeks after cutting out the meat. You can have fruits or cut-up veggies, almonds, whole grain cereals, yogurt and many more.
Give yourself a break once in a while – you’ll be craving it occasionally, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You can have a little bit on holidays or other special times. You’ll have trouble crafting a menu when travelling, so if you’re in another country you can still enjoy the local cuisine.
Quit cold turkey – it’s hard to give it up all at once. You can start by reducing the quantity you consume per day, start eating once or twice a week or just drop red meat for starters and continue having only chicken and fish for a couple of months.
Be afraid to spice it up – being a vegetarian means more than just salads. This is your chance to explore new foods and recipes and relish on dishes you’ve never dreamed of. Your diet will certainly change and along with it so will your understanding of taste. Also, there’s a variety of meat-free ethnic food for you to try like Chinese or Lebanese.
Quit at first try – nothing can really compare with the taste of meat, so any substitute will seem disappointing at first. Don’t surrender just yet. Try it again, maybe with a garnish or a different sauce.
Start eating junk food – it can be overwhelming in the first few weeks, when you’re not very sure what to cook. But don’t fill up on French fries or chips, there are a lot of other foods to try like grains and vegetables, tofu or soy. Take a trip to the vegetarian shops in your area and fill your pantry with delicious ingredients. Buy one or two cook books, as well.
Starve yourself – most people around you do eat meat, so make sure you don’t starve when going out with friends or attending a party. Be prepared with snacks of your own or check if there are plenty of things for you to enjoy on the menu.
Think you know everything – just by reading a couple of articles doesn’t mean you have mastered vegetarianism. Most meat eaters don’t know much about a right diet. So, learn as much as possible and talk to a lot of people. Most of them are willing to provide a bit of advice and teach you something from their own experience.
It’s not as easy as you may have thought, but is anything worthwhile not even a little bit hard? You’ll be healthier, more energetic and you’ll live longer. Also, you’ll be in good company: famous people like Pythagoras, Leonardo De Vinci, Albert Einstein, Madonna and Paul McCartney have long since pledged their vegetarian lifestyle. Stay healthy and have delicious meals!
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