I became a vegetarian at three years old. My mom made the mistake of telling me what I was eating when I was chowing down on my turkey sandwich and it was game over after that.
I’d loved animals from a young age, so that’s where my vegetarianism started, but as I got older it became less and less about animals and more about health, social responsibility, and texture of meat (I’m picky). When you haven’t consumed meat in over twenty years, it becomes easier to remain a vegetarian.
Converting to vegetarianism from meat eating, however, can be a challenge for most people. Oftentimes when people find out that I don’t eat meat, they share their stories of attempted vegetarianism which is ultimately failed after a period of time.
The truth is, vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, but it’s proven to be better for our overall health, energy levels, and the environment. The consumption of animal products has been linked to various diseases, including a spike in the likelihood of different cancers, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, heart disease and the likelihood of heart attack.
The top meat providers in North America are ethically questionable at best. Meat is also a grocery budget buster, and can add a significant amount of money to our mortgage spending.
Many families participate in programs like meatless Mondays, or at least make a conscious effort to serve less meat at meals for their health. But could your family ditch meat completely and turn into vegetarians?
I’ve been able to get some tips from some friends and a colleague that have successfully became vegetarians without falling off of the veggie wagon shortly after their resolve. Here’s what they recommend:
Eat Hearty Meals
So many people enjoy meat because it’s filling and hearty. It’s a natural comfort food for some because of these properties. If you go from eating steak and ribs to eating salad, you won’t be successful. Sure, vegetables are great and a necessary part of anybody’s diet, but there are many foods out there besides vegetables.
Get Enough Protein In Your Diet
If you eat a well balanced vegetarian diet, you’ll never have a protein deficiency. You actually don’t need meat for protein, but you can eat less meat for the same amount of protein as you’d get in a lot more plant based foods simply because it’s more dense. Eat legumes, quinoa, and other protein rich foods to ensure you are getting enough protein. When your body needs a nutrient, it craves things, and craving meat is going to make you cave.
Remind Yourself Why Vegetarianism is Important Regularly
People don’t generally make big life changes for no reason, so wanting to become a vegetarian typically has an underlying reason. Maybe you have some health concerns, or health issues run in your family. Perhaps you are sick of the financial drain that meat can become. Regardless, reminding yourself why you are becoming a vegetarian can be helpful. Periodically watch a documentary or read an article that supports your decision to cut out meat.
Indulge In Other Ways
Meat such as steak, wings, and ribs can be an indulgence for some people, so it’s important to replace that indulgence with something else when you turn to vegetarianism. If you don’t indulge, you will end up caving and it will be incredibly difficult to stick to your guns.
Find another secret pleasure that you can indulge in, instead of depriving yourself.
Vegetarianism isn’t for everybody, and in fact, many people have no interest in it. It’s perfectly fine to eat meat, but if you want to explore vegetarianism, try to use some of these methods to make your challenge more successful.