When I became a vegetarian, I had to deal with those terrible meat cravings almost each hour daily. I had been a huge meat lover for almost 25 years yet I thought it’d be easy to switch to a plant-based diet. Actually, it’s wasn’t easy, probably because my family and friends are meat eaters, but I managed to do it in a month. There were two reasons why I decided to become a vegetarian. The first one is because I love animals so much that can’t imagine eating them, and the second one is because I want to feel healthier and live longer. If you want to follow my example, here are the most important steps you should take to become a healthy vegetarian.
1. Spend more time with animals
When you spend a lot of time playing with animals, you forget about your meat cravings. Look in their eyes – they are as beautiful as human eyes. Animals are innocent. Most of them can’t protect themselves from people. I often hear many people say that animals are cruel creatures, but humans are much more selfish and cruel. Of course, there are many kind people who raise chickens as family pets, but they are in the minority.
Going vegetarian is one of the best ways to protect animals and set a good example for others. If you are trying to cope with your severe meat cravings, consider having as many pets as you can afford or volunteering at the animal shelters each week. Every time I see a piece of meat, I imagine the eyes of that animal and hate those who killed it.
2. Incorporate new eating habits gradually
It’s almost impossible to become a vegetarian overnight. Even if it is, you are more likely to start eating meat in a few days. Switching to any type of meal plan is a hard work. Just like you can’t learn a new language fast, you can’t change your eating habits in a day. Start slowly. Try to reduce your consumption of red meat this week, and eliminate its consumption over the next few weeks. The same goes for fish and chicken. Pay a visit to your nutritionist to learn how to change eating habits gradually, without wrecking your health.
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3. Experiment with new flavors
Plant-based dishes are also delicious. You will find many interesting ingredients and discover surprisingly unique flavors. Next time you go grocery shopping, wander around the store and see what you can try instead of meat. While many people believe that going vegetarian is expensive, a savvy shopper knows that it’s not true.
4. Get a vegetarian cookbook
If you don’t know where to start, a good vegetarian cookbook may inspire you to experiment with new ingredients and cook many incredible dishes. When you enjoy the food you eat, you don’t crave other ingredients, including meat. The more pictures your vegetarian cookbook have, the better.
5. Opt for meat substitutes
When cooking for my family and friends (they are all meat lovers), I always use meat substitutes in my dishes. The fun thing is that no one has ever noticed that. I usually hear something like, “Oh, so delicious, I didn’t know you started eating meat!” In fact, I don’t even plan to switch to a meat-based diet, but I know how to make others think they are eating meat. If you are a new vegetarian who can’t cope with meat cravings, consider adding some meat substitutes to your everyday diet. Soya mince and soya chunks are some of the best ones.
6. Fall in love with fruits and vegetables
Including more fruits and vegetables in your daily eating plan is another step you should take to become a vegetarian. Think of all possible ways to add fruit and veggies to your dishes and eat them raw to combat sweet and meat cravings. I love using fruits in gluten-free pies and cookies, and dairy-free smoothies. I also add berries to my water and tea. When it comes to vegetables, I use them almost in every meal.
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7. Stick to your goal
When you are trying to become a vegetarian, it’s vital to stick to your goal. Each morning remind yourself why you gave up meat. Whether your goal is to eat healthier, lose weight, save money or save animals’ lives, keeping this goal in mind can help you fight meat cravings and establish new eating habits. Spending time with other vegetarians can also help you stay on track with your goal.
8. Watch your nutrient intake
It’s highly important to watch your nutrient intake on a daily basis in order to avoid any nutrient deficiencies. Your diet should give your body everything it needs to work properly, so if you experience any health issues, it may be a sign your body is nutrient deficient. Ask your doctor or dietitian to help you come up with a vegetarian eating plan to get the nutrients you need.
Adjusting to a new eating plan is never easy. Vegetarians should always look for new ingredients to replace meat in their favorite recipes, watch their nutrient intake and fight their meat cravings. If you are planning to become a vegetarian, make sure you visit your doctor first. Not everyone can become a vegetarian due to certain health issues. Are you a meat lover? Can you imagine being a vegetarian?