Becoming a Vegetarian

by Sharon Hopkins

Vegetarianism has become increasingly popular in this day and age. There are several reasons why more and more people are giving up meat everyday and turning towards vegetarian food on a permanent basis. Some of the reasons why people are becoming vegetarian include personal or peer preferences, religious beliefs, economics, the protection of animal rights and health issues. There are some people who may have more than one reason for becoming a vegetarian. Contrary to what most people believe, becoming a vegetarian does not just mean avoiding meat; there are various forms of vegetarianism, which include:

  • vegetarian diet : A proper Vegetarian does not eat any form of meat, fish, cheese with animal rennet or food products with gelatin; the idea is to avoid any food which involved the killing of an animal. Therefore, foods that contain chicken broth, fish oil, or even tiny amounts of bacon or shrimp are not vegetarian dishes.
  • A vegan diet : There are Vegans who do not eat eggs, dairy products or even honey, in addition to any form of meat, fish and food with gelatin or rennet.
  • A fruitarian diet : Fruitarians do not eat any food that is cooked, as they believe that cooking destroys the vitamins, minerals, protein and enzymes present in most foods. They usually survive on a diet that mainly comprises organic fruits and vegetables.
  • A pescitarian diet : A pescitarian is a person who eats fish (or other forms of seafood), but no meat products.

Becoming a Vegetarian

What remains common in all forms of vegetarianism is the absence of meat in one's diet. Therefore, if you do plan on becoming a vegetarian, the first step that you may probably want to take is taking meat off your diet. You may find it a bit overwhelming to give it all up at once and so you can try to make a switch gradually. Given below are a few tips that can help you in becoming a vegetarian:

  • Eliminate certain meats from your diet : You could start by first cutting off one or two forms of meat, for example, beef and pork. After a week of staying away from these two types of meat, you can stop eating chicken and then fish. In case you are planning to follow a vegan diet, ensure that eggs and dairy products are the last to be eliminated from your diet.
  • Decrease the frequency of your meat consumption : Cut your meat consumption down gradually. For example, if you are used to eating meat almost everyday, make sure that you eat it on 4 or 5 times a week. Next, eat meat only twice a meat and based on how it goes, you can try to switch over to becoming a vegetarian.
  • Prepare main dishes, without meat : Stop preparing or even buying "all-meat" dishes like steak, hamburger, pork chops, etc, however, do allow small quantities of meat in dishes like soup, lasagna, pasta or pizza. This will help you to deal with the absence of larger chunks of meat on your place.
  • Follow a "No Meat" policy at home : Allow yourself to eat meat when you go out to a restaurant or to a friend's place, but do not cook meat at home. This will help you move into "vegetarian mode" gradually, without missing special occasions, till you are ready. Once you do turn vegetarian, it is best to avoid buying meat too and stocking it in your larder or refrigerator.
  • Look for substitutes : It is very easy to replace meat with vegetarian alternatives like tofu, tempeh and most importantly mock meat, which is made from wheat gluten. There are several vegetarian products like burger patties and frankfurters that are vegetarian, as they are made from Soya Bean, but are much tastier than the real ones.
You can start with these tips and gradually decrease meats and the quantities, till you eliminate meat completely from your diet. 
Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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