Why Becoming a Vegetarian is Easier Than You Think

By on March 7, 2013

Why Becoming a Vegetarian is Easier Than You Think-

Toying with the idea of giving up meat? If so, you came to the right place!

Becoming a vegetarian may be difficult at first, but after a while (maybe only a month) of forgoing meat, you'll find yourself to be absolutely repulsed at the sight and smell of meat. It might even become bad to the point where you're deliberately avoiding the butcher at the grocery store.

That will happen someday, but right now, you might find it difficult to give up juicy steaks and fried chicken sandwiches. Some people are able to wake up and stop eating meat altogether. Others need to gradually work towards vegetarianism. That means easing oneself into the new diet by adopting some of the following habits:

Give up one kind of meat at a time.

Start with giving up beef. The following week, stop eating pork. The next week, swear off chicken, and so on. With this approach, your diet will be completely meatless before you even realize it!

Try at least one vegetarian meal a day.

During the process of gradually giving up meat, you should have one completely meatless meal a day. If that's a bit too much, you can make it one vegetarian meal every two or three days. By doing this, you're preparing yourself for the last stage of the process of giving up meat. When you have only one kind of meat left, such as seafood, you'll find it easier to prepare vegetarian meals because you'll be more aware of the meatless options that are available to you.

Tell everyone!

No, this is not to pat yourself on the back. It's so your family and friends will be prepared to accommodate your vegetarian diet whenever you dine with them at restaurants, their homes, or social gatherings. If you don't tell your closest family and friends about your new diet, you'll probably find yourself hungry and standing in front of an endless supply of meat dishes at a party. What happens then? You sneak a Swedish meatball, and then two, and then three. Before you know it, all your efforts at becoming a vegetarian have flown out the window. You need your family and friends to help ease the transition.

Fake meat: to eat or not to eat?

Some believe that it's not a good idea to eat meat substitutes when starting out on a vegetarian diet. You know, tofu sausages, veggie chicken strips, fake bacon, and so on. That stuff is delicious, but if you constantly eat it instead of true vegetarian food, you'll have a harder time staving off meat cravings. Once you go veg, swear off all kinds of meat -- real or fake -- and stuff your face with fruits, vegetables, and anything else that doesn't resemble meat. Once you're able to go by a week without dreaming about cheeseburgers, you can start adding fake meat to your diet.

Also, it's no secret that most fake meats don't taste like the real stuff. Some people might find the taste of a Boca burger off-putting at first, and it could be enough to send them running back to a steakhouse. It might be better to let your taste buds forget the taste of meat, and then introduce them to fake meat. That stuff is actually delicious if you remove your expectations of how it should taste. You'll learn to appreciate fake meat all on its own!

At this point, you're probably wondering, "Why should I go through the grueling process of giving up meat just to choke down fake meat, tofu, vegetables, and lettuce?"

Well, let's start with the common misconception that the vegetarian diet only consists of salads and vegetables. That's probably why so many people shy away from going vegetarian. The truth is that vegetarians can stuff their faces with so many different delicious foods, including pizza, egg salad, pancakes, potato casseroles, and cake. You can maintain the same diet as you did before, except without meat. It's that easy.

As for why you should give up meat, it's entirely up to you. Maybe you love animals, or maybe you want to help end world hunger (since an additional 1.3 billion humans can be fed each year with all the grains and soy our livestock currently eat). Whatever the reason, you will end up healthier because of it.

The health benefits of vegetarianism

Did you know that vegetarianism comes with many amazing health benefits? Researchers and nutritionists have been studying meatless diets for years and discovered the following advantages of vegetarianism:

Healthy skin: Because most vegetarians eat a healthier diet than those of carnivores, they have better skin. Fruits and vegetables have much higher water content than meat, and they release antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, and E in the body.

Longevity: Many vegetarians consume nuts to get enough protein, and it turns out that nuts help you live longer. Also, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet, which is the top plant-based diet, is the healthiest diet one could ever have. It's proven by the longevity by those living in the Mediterranean region. For example, the life expectancy of Sicilian men and women is ranked the 7th highest in the world, at 82 years. In comparison, the life expectancy of American men and women is the 34th highest in the world, at 78 years.

Lower risk of cancer: As mentioned before, fruits and vegetables provide many antioxidants that fight cancer and free radicals flying all over your body. Also, vegetarians are not pumping their bodies full of saturated fat, chemicals, and hormones found in meat. Studies have shown that vegetarian women have lower rates of breast cancer than those of women who eat meat.

Many more: Vegetarianism is also known to increase energy, ease arthritis, decrease addiction, and reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gallstones, lung cancer, and alcoholism.

However, as great as vegetarianism is, it can deprive your body of important nutrients if you don't watch what you eat.

Vegetarian nutrient deficiencies

Even though meat isn't always good for your body, it does contain some essential nutrients, namely protein, iron, and calcium. However, here's some good news: you can certainly get those three nutrients from a vegetarian diet! You just need to know what to eat… and eat plenty of it.

Protein

Meat isn't the only food that's chock full of protein. You can strengthen your bones, keep your hair and nails healthy, help your body fight against infections and illnesses, and maintain your muscles, tissues, and organs by consuming the following foods:

Beans, tofu, peanut butter, eggs, yogurt, soy milk, and nuts.

Iron

Your body needs iron to make the proteins that help carry and store oxygen in your body. If you're constantly fatigued or dizzy, your body isn't getting enough iron. Fix that problem by consuming the following foods:

Spinach, tofu, lentils, cocoa powder, sun-dried tomatoes, dried thyme, and dried apricots.

Calcium

Calcium is famous for strengthening your bones, but what you probably don't know is that calcium also maintains your nerves, muscles, and hormones. Keep your body in tip-top shape by consuming the following foods:

Yogurt, almonds, pinto beans, spinach, whole wheat bread, and celery.

You can make a list of the above vegetarian alternatives (and many more!) and put it on your fridge as a constant reminder of what you should be eating in order to keep your protein, iron, and calcium at healthy levels.

Now that you know a little bit more about vegetarianism, you'll have an easier time transitioning to a meatless diet. Good luck; you can do it!


 
Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

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