So, you are thinking about becoming a vegetarian? There is a lot to think about. Let’s start out with an understanding of what being a vegetarian means. There are a few categories.
- Lacto Vegetarian – no animal products except for dairy.
- Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian- no animal products except for dairy and eggs.
- Pescatarian- (Veganish)No animal products except for dairy, eggs and fish.
- Vegan- No animal products
- Raw Vegan- No animal products and food not cooked above 48C or 118F
Hopefully this will dispel any confusion over Vegetarian terms. The most important thing when considering vegetarianism is to research the topic extensively. Are you ready for the commitment? Can you afford to buy the supplies needed?
If you are still game, then let’s start with the basic way to get started. I suggest you start with one meal a day for one month. Breakfast is a good start, and it is the easiest way to get familiar with eliminating common elements of your diet. Dairy is a hot topic for many vegetarians. Dairy advocates will say that it is mother’s milk and gives you a good source of iron/calcium. It is mother’s milk, but for a calf, not human. Milk is one of the leading causes of inflammation, and that can result in many ailments that are caused by an inflammatory internal environment. If you can switch to Almond or Coconut milk, it will make a huge difference to your overall health. There are many healthy alternatives to dairy products and I would encourage you to have an open mind about exploring them. I have seen eczema, psoriasis, and arthritis become almost non existent in those that left dairy in the past.
Start with breakfast, and get some great smoothie recipes. There are many breakfast meals that vegetarians can enjoy. Oatmeal with dates, waffles, muffins (high fibre), fruit salad and granola.
Once you eliminate the bad fats from products such as bacon, sausage, fast food that are simple carbs, you will notice how much sharper you feel in the morning. Upon rising drink some hot water with lemon, this gets your system flushed out. Plan out your breakfast the night before, and enjoy all the different flavours fresh food can provide.
Next, start dropping one animal product a week. I recommend you start with red meat, and eliminate that over the next four weeks. You will feel a great deal of resistance to this, as it is surprising that once you make up your mind to eliminate something, it shows up in abundance. Don’t shame yourself, but rather recommit to the goal of becoming a vegetarian. Every month replace another meal, until you have eliminated animal products altogether. Get recipe books, and join an online community if it will inspire you to stick with your new lifestyle.
Overall becoming a vegetarian will help reduce bad fats, salt and sugar from your diet. Blood pressure, diabetes, weight issues, heart disease and skin disorders will be greatly reduced. Vegetarian lifestyle is great for the environment, both inside and out. As many Tibetans say, being a vegetarian is a peaceful way to live life!