8 Smart Steps to Become a Vegetarian, Complete Tutorial Plus Menu

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8 Smart Steps to Become a Vegetarian, Complete tutorial

How can I Become a Vegetarian?

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Gealena — How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. There are many reasons a person may choose to become a vegetarian. Whether it’s for religious reasons, animal rights, environmental concerns, or simply because they want to live a different lifestyle.

Although, while the decision to become a vegetarian may be easy, the journey you go on may not be. Being vegetarian doesn’t always equate to just giving up meat. Some people don’t eat eggs, some eat fish, some eat poultry but no other meat or fish.

So, before you decide to get Steps to Become a Vegetarian, the first thing you should do is learning the different kinds of diets and decide which type of vegetarian you want to be.

Steps to Become a Vegetarian

The different types of vegetarian diets are:

Vegetarian: Being vegetarian means you do not eat any kind of meat, poultry, or fish.

For a healthy diet, you should incorporate grains (quinoa, barley, rice), nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews), healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocados), and proteins (tofu, nutritional yeast, eggs) into your meals.

Vegan: Being vegan isn’t that different than being vegetarian. Of course, they don’t eat meat, poultry, or fish. The main difference is that vegans don’t eat any kind of animal product (dairy, eggs, etc.).

Partial Vegetarian: Being a partial vegetarian means you still don’t eat meat but you do eat some animal foods. For example, pescatarian’s don’t eat meat but they do eat fish. And polls-vegetarians eat poultry but won’t eat meat or fish.

Read this tutorial: Smart Steps to Become a Vegetarian

Take It Slow

As you can see from the various different kinds of vegetarian diets you can choose from, becoming veggie isn’t straightforward. While completely cutting meat out of your diet all at once won’t make you sick, it will still be a struggle mentally. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Especially if you’re used to eating meat on a regular basis.

It is recommended to gradually ease into being vegetarian by starting with one veggie meal a week, then one full veggie day a week until you eventually eat a fully plant-based diet.

Go at whatever pace you think will be best for you.

Protein, Protein, Protein

Making sure to eat the right amount of protein after cutting meat out of your diet is extremely important. Proteins are ‘essential for the growth and maintenance of your body tissues’. So knowing what proteins to eat is also essential.

Foods like ‘beans, nuts, nut butter, eggs, tofu, lentils’ and other meat substitutes are great sources of healthy protein.

While some foods may seem like they’re vegetarian, at times they contain ingredients that aren’t vegetarian friendly. Whether that be gelatine (which contains animal proteins), in foods such as jello and marshmallows. Or a soup made from specific meat stock (French onion soup is made with beef stock). Always make sure to check if your food is safe for veggies!

Some examples of non-veggie foods are:

Caesar Salad: contains anchovies.
Baked Beans – most contain bacon.
Parmesan cheese – contains animal rennet (enzymes from the stomach).
Pie Crust – often made with lard.
Gummy Candy – made with gelatine.

You’ll be relieved to know that most of these foods have tasty veggie alternatives!

How can I Become a Vegetarian

Restaurant Hacks

Next Smart Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Most restaurants will offer vegetarian/vegan options for people who prefer to not eat meat but still want to eat out. Although some places won’t have these options on the menu. Before eating out, it may be best to ‘research the restaurant beforehand’.

If the restaurant doesn’t have vegetarian options on its menu, calling ahead to ask if they have any veggie substitutes is always helpful. That way you know you always have something to eat!

Try New Foods

Processed meat substitutes such as fake chicken, veggie burgers; products made from soy and corn; always seem like the best option at first. And while it isn’t bad to incorporate these foods into your meals occasionally, there are healthier choices that you could make.

Try making your own burgers with black beans or quinoa, or substitute pork for canned jackfruit and make your own BBQ pulled ‘pork’. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. There are so many great vegetarian recipes out there, trying new foods that you may not have eaten as much beforehand opens you up to so many great food opportunities!

Experiment

Next Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Leading on from trying new foods, experimenting with new recipes and ingredients is a great tip for new vegetarians. Eating a healthy, plant-based diet may be quite different from what you’re used to. And if you are not used to cooking vegetarian food, cooking the same things on a daily basis may soon become a habit.

Reading vegetarian cookbooks or finding recipes online can help to ensure you don’t get into the boring routine of eating the same food. Try new foods and recipes. The more options you have, the easier it is to be vegetarian long-term!

Take Your Vitamins

Cutting meat and fish out of your diet does have many health benefits, from reduced risk of cancer to helping to maintain a healthy heart. However, it can also increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Statistics show that ‘vegetarians are at a higher risk of protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies’. One of the important things for Steps to Become a Vegetarian.

Before taking vitamins, it is recommended to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet for nutritional purposes. Although, there are many multivitamins and supplements you can take, such as B12, which helps to maintain ‘brain and nervous system function’. Making sure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle is extremely important.

Don’t Give Up

One of the most helpful tips is simple. Don’t give up. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t resist meat at first. Becoming a vegetarian isn’t a smooth journey. There will be many bumps along the way. There is always another meal to eat and another chance to eat plant-based. And as time goes on, it does get easier. So don’t give up, trying your best is enough. There is no right or wrong. Simply what you feel is right for you.

Final Thoughts

And Last Smart Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Being a vegetarian isn’t easy. If you’ve eaten meat for the vast majority of your life, swapping to a plant-based diet will be a challenge at first, as becoming a vegetarian doesn’t happen overnight. Take it at your own pace and forgive any mistakes you make. They’re bound to happen!

While these tips may not be suitable for everyone, they are a great basis for as to how someone can become a vegetarian. Even if you only benefit from a few of them. They will at the very least give you an idea of as to whether this is a decision you would like to make. And if so, your journey awaits!

Also read:

How can I Become a Vegetarian

Steps to Become a Vegetarian, How can I Become a Vegetarian?

Steps to Become a Vegetarian, How can I Become a Vegetarian?. A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, including beef, chicken, pork, or fish, and may or may not choose to eat other animal products such as eggs, dairy, gelatin, or honey.

There are different types of vegetarians:

Flexitarian

Flexitarian: Flexitarians are also known as semi–vegetarians. They occasionally eat fish or meat but generally avoid animal products most of the time.

Pesci–vegetarian

Pesci–vegetarian: Pesci–vegetarians or “pescatarians” eat fish, dairy, and eggs but don’t eat poultry or any other meats.

Lacto–Ovo vegetarian

Lacto–Ovo vegetarian: Lacto–Ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish, or poultry, but do eat eggs and dairy products (ovo means eggs and lacto means dairy). This is the most common type of vegetarian diet.

Lacto–vegetarian

Lacto–vegetarian: Lacto–vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish, poultry or eggs, but do eat dairy products.
Ovo–vegetarian: Ovo–vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, or dairy, but do eat eggs.

Vegan

Vegan: Vegans avoid eating any animal products or animal-derived ingredients that can be found in processed foods. They don’t eat the meat of any kind, dairy, eggs, honey, or gelatin.

Some vegans (and some other types of vegetarians) choose not to wear clothes containing animal products, such as leather, wool, or silk, or use products such as lotion or makeup that may have been tested on animals.

Why do people decide to be vegetarian?

Steps to Become a Vegetarian, How can I Become a Vegetarian? People decide to become vegetarian for many reasons. Some people choose to become a vegetarian for environmental, ethical (animal rights), or health reasons. You may relate to one or many of these or have different reasons altogether. Deciding to become vegetarian is a personal choice.

Are vegetarian diets healthy?

Vegetarian diets can be healthy and may even lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. However, eating balanced meals and snacks requires some extra attention when you are a vegetarian. Because vegetarians take out certain foods from their diets, they often need to work to add in foods that will provide the same nutrients found in animal products.

By eating a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, soy products, and whole grains, vegetarians can get adequate nutrients from non–meat sources. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Vegetarians, especially vegans, need to pay attention to ensure that they get enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega–3 fatty acids.

How can I Become a Vegetarian

Macronutrients:

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide energy and vitamins for your brain and muscles. Grain products, especially whole grains, are very important because they provide the carbohydrate, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals that your body needs. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Vegetarians should be sure to eat a variety of whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, pasta and tortillas, brown rice, oats, bulgur, and quinoa.

Fat

Fat is needed by your body to stay healthy. Fat provides essential fatty acids and helps your body absorb certain vitamins. Excellent sources of healthy fats include nuts and nut butter, oils, and avocados.

Protein

Protein is needed for your muscles to grow. Vegetarians need to be sure to eat protein-containing vegetarian foods when avoiding meat. Nuts, seeds, nut butter (including peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower seed butter), soy foods (such as tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, tempeh, and edamame), legumes (such as beans, peas, hummus, and lentils), meat substitutes (such as veggie burgers or seitan), dairy foods (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese), and eggs all provide protein.

Minerals:

Zinc

Zinc is important for growth and your immune system. Zinc is found in whole grains (refined grains such as bread or pasta made from white flour or white rice are not sources of zinc), fortified breakfast cereals, dairy products, soy foods, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Iron

Iron is important for your blood and is found in beans, seeds, soybeans, tofu, fortified breakfast cereals, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, and dried fruit such as apricots, figs, or prunes. Plant–based iron is not absorbed as well as the iron found in meat, but adding vitamin C can help your body to absorb iron better. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. When you are eating plant-based iron foods, include foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits and certain vegetables such as tomatoes.

Calcium

Calcium is needed to build strong bones. Calcium is found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt (there is more calcium found in traditional yogurt compared to greek yogurt), and cheese. You can also find calcium in broccoli, butternut squash, collard greens, black beans, white beans, soybeans, and tofu.

However, plant sources of calcium have less calcium per serving and are more difficult for our bodies to absorb compared to dairy products. Some foods that aren’t naturally high in calcium have calcium added to them; these foods are called “calcium-fortified.” Soy milk, enriched rice milk, fortified orange juice, some cereal, and cereal bars are a few examples.

If you choose to not eat dairy, eating calcium-fortified foods is a great way to ensure you are eating enough calcium. Look at the Nutrition Facts Label to find out which brands are highest in calcium.

Vitamins:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed to absorb the calcium you eat and is necessary for strong bones. You can get vitamin D from foods, such as fortified dairy or soy milk products, fortified orange juice, egg yolks; or your body can make Vitamin D from the sun. If you live in a place that gets very little sunshine, especially during the winter months, it’s harder to get enough vitamin D from sunshine alone.

To figure out if you’re getting enough Vitamin D from the sun, look at a map of the United States and imagine a line running between San Francisco and Philadelphia. If you live north of this line, it’s necessary for you (during the winter) to get your daily intake of vitamin D through food or supplements. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. When you are able to make vitamin D from the sun, you only need about 15 minutes of sun exposure to meet your needs for the day – after that, lather up with sunblock!

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is needed for your brain and nervous system to function. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods, so vegans must eat food fortified with B12. For vegetarians who are not vegans, examples of foods with B12 include cow’s milk and eggs.

For individuals who follow a vegan diet, foods like fortified-nutritional yeast flakes, fortified soy milk, and fortified cereals are good sources of B12. Your health care provider or dietitian may also recommend taking a B12 supplement to make sure your body gets enough of this vitamin.

Omega–3

Omega–3 Fatty Acids are essential fatty acids; “essential” means you need to eat these fats from your diet since your body is not able to make them on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids help to control inflammation and help to prevent heart disease.

Vegans or vegetarians who don’t eat eggs or fatty fish like salmon must include other sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, canola oil, soybeans, or tofu.

Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that helps your body’s metabolism. Plant–based diets can be low in iodine, so vegans should try to use iodized salt in recipes that call for salt. Seaweed (the type that wraps up sushi) is also a good source of iodine.

Check the label of your salt before you buy it to make sure it is iodized. If you choose to use sea salt, be sure to look for brands that specify they are iodized.

Is it possible to be an unhealthy vegetarian?

It’s important to remember that while vegetarian diets can have health benefits, it is also possible to make unhealthy food choices as a vegetarian or vegan. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. For example, a diet that consists of grilled cheese, pizza, pasta, and the candy is technically vegetarian, but not necessarily healthy.

In order to get all of the great vitamins and nutrients listed above, make sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein sources such as beans, tofu, or nuts into your diet.

Steps to Become a Vegetarian, How can I Become a Vegetarian? Be mindful of meat or dairy “substitutions” because there are many substitutes you can buy at the supermarket that are high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. To ensure you are being healthy as a vegetarian, try to limit your intake of processed foods.

How can I reassure my parents that I can still be healthy while following a vegetarian diet?

Your parents may be worried that you are choosing to follow a vegetarian diet without knowing how to do it in a healthy way. If you can explain your plan to stay healthy and your reasons for wanting to become a vegetarian, your parents may be more likely to understand.

You still might need to give them time to accept your new diet. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. Read vegetarian cookbooks or nutritional information with your parents and offer to help with the shopping and cooking.

Here are some ideas for kitchen staples that will be helpful when following a vegetarian diet:

Fruits

Citrus fruit
Melons
Berries
Apples
Dried fruit

Dark green leafy vegetables

Broccoli
Kale
Collard greens
Spinach

Dark orange or yellow vegetables

Carrots
Sweet potatoes
Winter squash

Legumes

Black, navy, pinto, and/or white beans (canned or dry)
Lentils
Vegetarian baked or refried beans
Chickpeas
Hummus

Whole grains

Brown rice
Whole wheat bread, pasta, tortillas
Corn
Oats
Quinoa

Soy products

Calcium-fortified soy milk
Tofu Edamame (young green soybeans)
Tempeh

Meat substitutes

Texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
Seitan (gluten-based meat substitute)
Nuts and seeds
Veggie burgers (such as Morningstar®, Boca®, or Quorn®)

Eggs and dairy

Eggs
Milk
Yogurt
Cheese

What are some healthy meals that I can prepare?

Refer to our sample menu suggestions to get ideas about incorporating enough protein and other nutrients into your vegetarian diet. You can also look at vegetarian cookbooks or websites for more ideas. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. As always, make sure you consult with your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet to ensure you are eating enough of all the nutrients you need!

*Menus are based on a 2000-calorie diet as an example. You may need more or less than this depending on your age and activity level.

**Menu 1 illustrates the use of food (Total® cereal) that is fortified with 100% the recommended intake of vitamin B12 and the minerals zinc and iron, nutrients that are more difficult to get when a teen is not eating meat. How can I Become a Vegetarian? Steps to Become a Vegetarian. On day two, it may be necessary to supplement intake with a standard Multivitamin.

Vegetarian Sample Menu 1, vegan modifications in italics

Breakfast

1 cup Whole Grain Total® cereal topped with ¼ cup dried sweet cherries and 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 cup 1% milk (or 1 cup of calcium-fortified soy milk)

Snack

1/3 cup hummus
1 cup assorted raw vegetables (e.g., baby carrots, bell peppers, sliced zucchini)

Lunch

1 whole wheat wrap/tortilla (or 1 cup brown rice)
1 cup black beans
1/8 medium avocado (or 2 tbsp. guacamole)
1 cup assorted veggies such as shredded carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, etc. (in the wrap, or sautéed and mixed with the rice & beans)
1 cup vanilla yogurt (or 1 cup of soy-based or coconut-based yogurt)
1/12th angel food cake (or 1/2 cup of sorbet)
1 peach

Dinner

1 Morningstar® veggie burger
1 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted
1-ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese (melted on a burger) (or vegan-friendly cheese such as Daiya® or Vegan Gourmet®)
1 cup steamed broccoli seasoned with B12 fortified nutritional yeast

Snack

1 cup celery sticks
1 tbsp. peanut butter (or other nuts/seed butter)
¼ cup raisins

Vegetarian Sample Menu 2, vegan modifications in parentheses:

Breakfast

2 slices whole-wheat toast
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 banana
1 cup Greek yogurt (or 1 cup of soy-based or coconut-based yogurt)

Snack

1 small granola bar (e.g., Kashi®, Clif Z bar®)
1 cup baby carrots

Lunch

1 whole-grain bagel
2 eggs (or a tofu scramble, seasoned with B12 fortified nutritional yeast)
1-ounce cheddar cheese (or vegan-friendly cheese such as Daiya® or Vegan Gourmet®)
1 cup sliced bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or green)
1 apple
1 pudding cup (or a few pieces of vegan-friendly dark chocolate)

Dinner

1 cup pasta
½ cup tomato sauce
3 Gardein® soy meatballs
1 small whole-wheat dinner roll
1 cup lettuce
½ cup assorted vegetables
2 tsp. dressing
1 cup calcium-fortified soy milk

Snack

3 cups popcorn
2 tbsp. peanuts or almonds

 

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