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Everything you need to know about becoming a vegetarian

by kphilips

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Vegan and Paleo diets are all the rage these days, but have we forgotten about their less life-impacting cousin, vegetarianism? Being a vegetarian is very simple if you take the right steps. Because it's "just cutting meat out of your diet," it's easy to fall into the trap of being an unhealthy vegetarian, which in fact makes this diet a little bit more complicated. So, if you're considering coming to where the grass is greener, check out this guide and you won't be sorry.

Preparation

Let's be honest. If you've been a carnivore for your entire life, becoming a vegetarian isn't going to be an easy task. Here are some ways that you can curve your chicken and waffles withdrawal symptoms: 

Participate in meatless Mondays 

becoming a vegetarian Photo: meatlessmonday.com 

Not only is this beneficial to your personal health, but also the health of the planet. Here are some recipes to get you started. Cut out one meat product at a time Instead of going cold turkey, stop eating one type of meat each month until you've reached the bottom of the list. This will definitely make it easier for you to resist cravings when you cross over. 

Use meat-product substitutes 

Photo: glutenfreezen.com  Photo: glutenfreezen.com 

If you want to eat 'meat' without the negative health benefits, Boca and Morningstar Farms are two of many popular store-bought vegan-friendly brands that you should try. Another alternative is to purchase soy-based 'meat' products from your local health food store.

Hopping the fence

Now that you've prepared your mind and body, you're ready to join the green side. Your new lifestyle will need to be tended to a lot more in the begining, but once you get the hang of it, it'll be a breeze. 

Toss your old diet to the side 

becoming a vegetarian Photo: blackdoctor.org 

Yes, this is possible. Simply removing meat from your go-to dishes isn't going to cut it. Branch out and try new recipes, vegetables and fruits. You'll need the extra nutrients to make up for what you're missing from meat. 

Don’t overdose on the soy 

If you're using soy-based alternative meat products, make sure that you're incorporating other foods. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are your friends. If you're eating a veggie burger, add a side of salad. Enjoy your chik'n strips with stir-fry veggies and so-on and so-forth. 

Invest in a vegetarian cookbook or cooking class 

Photo: eatdrinkbetter.com Photo: eatdrinkbetter.com 

Not doing this is a mistake that can will cause you to ruin your body by depriving it of nutrients. You'll need guidance on your journey. Here are three book options that you should consider: Thug Kitchen ($14.99), Complete Vegetarian ($2.91) and The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook ($16.99). 

Plan your meals like you plan your day 

For the first few weeks of your new lifestyle, you should do meal prep. Preparing your meals in advance will ensure that you don't inadvertently get started on a junk-food diet or find your way back to the land of carnivores. 

Start snacking and taking vitamins  

Photo: jbfsaleblog.com Photo: jbfsaleblog.com 

You'll need to pay special attention to make sure that getting enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega–3 fatty acids. Snacking on nuts and seeds will help you make up for these missing vitamins. You can also take vegetarian supplements as well. Good luck! You can definitely live a vegetarian lifestyle if that's something you want to do, and hopefully these tips help you achieve that goal.