A Vegetarian’s First Steps
So you’re thinking about crossing over? Here are a few key steps I took that helped me through the process of becoming a vegetarian and it’s been working for me thus far. Hopefully it helps you as well :
Why do I want to become a vegetarian? This was an integral assessment for me in making the decision to make the transition over to vegetarianism . Understanding that people make the choice to become vegetarian for various reasons (health, faith, just because, sheer curiosity, etc.) but for me it was really about trying to transform my life from a health prospective. It started with the products I used on my hair (which is a whole other post and/or blog) to the products I used for my body). My body wasn’t processing foods the way it should have been and I pin pointed it to the types of foods I was eating. I started looking at my diet and realized I needed to alter that as well. I didn’t really have a regimen but I made a conscious effort to tone it down with the red meat about 1 year prior to my transition. I rarely ate pork (only during Haitian- centric events as I couldn’t resist my griot, haha) , only had beef occasionally (about 1 or 2 times a month ) and I wasn’t a big fish eater ( read – last resort if nothing else was left) . So, my diet consisted of mostly chicken and turkey. Because my diet was relatively progressive, my decision to cut out meat altogether wasn’t as drastic as it would have been if I were to eat meat daily regular basis.
Now for others, their “purpose” for the transition may not be that serious or that deep , but I found it easier for me to stick with this new found lifestyle in my moments of “carnivorous weakness” once I remembered the reason why I was even doing this.
2.Research. Research. Research.
There are so many sources of info that it can sometimes be overwhelming to weed out the pertinent info. Google was my BFF as well as talking to people who were vegetarians & vegans to see how they did it and how they supported their lifestyle as such. I actually was originally thinking of becoming a vegan but after some reading on what the lifestyle about and what it really meant- I decided it wasn’t for me and it wasn’t even feasible for the type of life I led. It’s perfectly OK to modify so that it works for you
One of the reasons why I launched buddingveg.com was because I didn’t really find a 1 stop shop for those that were looking to transition so, in true Scorpio fashion, I created a place that would provide just that. So I did it for Johnny (yes I just made an Outsiders reference) & most importantly I did it for us!
3. Make It Happen
Pretty self explanatory but sometimes harder done then said. Setting a date worked for me I found it was easier to keep track of progress with a starting point.
4. Building a Support System
This is so imperative especially if the change you’re making is drastic one. Joining like-minded communities, speaking with those in your network that are vegetarians/vegans, etc. , attending meet up groups and being a part of sites like buddingveg.com (see what I did there?) are so essential to not only the maintenance but also the growth of a vegetarian lifestyle.
When attending certain social events, I found that it was difficult to adhere to the new lifestyle because there was really no meatless dishes. Needless to say, that resulted in a a couple slip ups due to cravings that could not be controlled and lack of umm “support”. Having support and having people know that you don’t eat meat helps curb those tempting situations. There’s always the option of bringing your own dish – which is something I do on occassion for those that may be less sensitive to your eating preferential.
Lastly, having a support system helps you to keep in the loop with any tips, recipes or foods that you can incorporate into your diet, which leads me to my next point….
5. Keep It Fresh
Speaking both literally & metaphorically. Vegetables aren’t as boring as you think ( or maybe that was just me, lol) and I actually find it fun now to taste new fruits/veggies , learn about their benefits and seeing how I can integrate that into my diet. I don’t want to be limited to rice & pasta to be “full” so finding new ways to cook is a good way to keep it interesting and keep me motivated.
Also, don’t be afraid to switch it up! After 4 months of being a vegetarian I became and still am a pescaterian ( imagine that!) after learning about the health benefits and wanting “meat” without really having meat.