You may not need to make such drastic changes in your life to become a vegetarian, but expect some inconvenience until you get the hang of it. The results are well worth it!
Big changes are on their way. A large portion of the population has already converted to a more vegetarian way of living and it’s only the beginning. We purchase food and other products that are more organic, plant-based, nut-based, dairy-free, and animal-free in order to protect our livestock and change to a healthier way of eating. For some it’s effortless and requires zero effort, but there are some that need the extra help and that’s what we’re here for, to get you understand the details and get you started on your journey.
The Vegetarian Society defines vegetarian as “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.” They also help us distinguish the differences between types of vegetarianism most people are observing.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat eggs as well as dairy products. The eggs that they consume are free -range eggs. This is because of welfare protests to the intensive farming of hens. This type of vegetarian is the most common type.
Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products like milk and yogurt but avoid eggs.
Ovo-vegetarian is the opposite of Lacto-vegetarian; they consume eggs but not dairy products.
Vegans do not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other products which are resultant from animals.
Converting to vegetarianism is difficult to do for those who’ve consumed meat, dairy and eggs for a huge portion of their life, but it’s possible. Take little steps and you’ll eventually get there and feel good about the choices you’ve made.
Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on your journey to becoming a vegetarian:
Start making small changes in your life like eliminating all processed foods including soft drinks and converting to drinking more water. Fruit infused water will help you get used to drinking water instead of sugar drinks. Anything that’s made in a box would probably be considered processed. Read the ingredients and you’ll know. Anything over 5 ingredients usually contain ingredients that are not on the vegetarian menu.
Cook your own food and eliminate take out. This guarantees the ingredients that you put in your meal is fresh and healthy for you. Shopping smarter will actually save you money in the long run, so don’t worry on splurging a little on organic fruits and vegetables.
Start experimenting with different ingredients to slowly start eliminating meat out of your diet. Creating recipes from beans, vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts and so many other options will allow you to slowly reduce the amount of meals that actually include meat. I started with eliminating red meat out of my diet years ago. I consumed poultry daily because that was all I was able to cook so my entire family doesn’t starve. Then I slowly started to replace chicken with fish because media reported that eating fish was a healthier alternative, but now with all the mercury that’s been found in fish, I’m very skeptical. It was when I started to experiment with my own recipes that it became a little easier for me to give up meat completely.
This one last tip will sure make your decision a little easier. We want you think about the cruelty to the innocent animals that has been exposed. The same animals that are raised in unbearable conditions and treated in the cruelest of ways before they even make it to the slaughter house, are killed so we can eat. If we are able to consume other foods without hurting our livestock and encouraging cruelty, then you have taken the steps in the right direction and done what you could to help end the tortures these poor animals have to endure daily.
Children are more susceptible to becoming vegetarian because it has become a huge part of their daily life. There’s more awareness with the growing number of people adapting to vegetarianism. There’s a ton of information about animal abuse and that alone plays a huge role in their decision making. Many are sharing information on heart disease, cancer, and other diseases that are now emerging because of the meats we are consuming. The terrible consequences some are facing; suffering from illnesses as a product of consuming animal based products which are harmful to our bodies. We’ve never had anything remotely close to that; in fact our education was based on following the proper nutrition guidelines which always included eating meat.
What are we missing by converting to a vegetarian diet and avoiding meat, poultry, dairy and fish? According to NPR.org, they state the following, “With a pure plant-based diet, it is difficult or impossible to attain an adequate supply of some nutrients,” states the German Nutrition Society’s new position on the vegan diet. “The most critical nutrient is B-12,” which is found in eggs and meat. It is recommended to take supplements in addition to eating healthy to protect against deficiencies.
We’ll lack other crucial nutrients when we follow the vegan diet; nutrients such as Omega 3s which can be found in fatty fish, as well as minerals that our body needs such as calcium, iron, iodine, zinc and selenium. Pierson from Vegan Society spoke with NPR.org and made some suggestions as to how to properly follow a vegan diet and maintain good health. He recommends to consuming flax-seeds as it filled with Omega 3 which is a great substitute if you’ve eliminated fish from your diet.
Researchers suggest “the brains of the elderly and younger people with autism and schizophrenia may share a common link: Both have low levels of vitamin B12, according to livescience.com. It is recommended to see a Nutritionist before starting any diet or making any lifestyle changes to become a vegetarian. Keep up with regular visits to your doctor to make sure you are in top health. Women who are pregnant and breast feeding should consult a physician as well. Taking your multivitamin will also give your body the nutrients it needs and boost you’ll need in the morning.
Try to maintain the vegetarian path that you’ve taken. It will be worth the struggle.
By: Ida L.
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