Whether for health benefits, the environment, or animal welfare, more and more people are making the switch to a vegetarian or partial-vegetarian diet. Whatever the reason, the possible benefits are numerous and multifaceted.
Unfortunately, not everyone experiences these supposed advantages from their change in eating habits. Instead they find themselves irritable and unable to focus, with uncontrollable hunger pangs and food cravings. Don’t lose heart! Such a life-changing dietary move really is attainable, and you needn’t have iron-clad willpower either.
Obviously if there are any prevalent health concerns involved (food allergies, diabetes, etc.), it’s prudent to pay a visit to your doctor before you begin. Once the doctor gives you the thumbs up, begin by researching exactly what school of vegetarianism you’d like to follow. There are many types of vegetarian diets. You’ll need to decide whether you wish to be vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, or pesco vegetarian.
For clarification, veganism is the strictest form of vegetarianism. Vegans refrain from consuming any animal products, including things like honey and gelatin. Most vegans also abstain from using any animal products in their lives. Such products might encompass cosmetics, clothing, footwear, and shampoos.
Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is a less stringent and more popular form of vegetarianism. This diet includes eggs (ovo) and milk (lacto). A person may be a lacto vegetarian or an ovo vegetarian if they choose to only consume one of those ingredients Lastly, there is a new trend called pesco vegetarianism or pescetarianism. This diet is not true vegetarianism as it allows the follower to eat fish (pesco), usually in addition to eggs and milk as before. Purists may call it lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarianism but that seems a bit wordy.
Many people transition to a more traditional vegetarian diet by first following this version. The loss of meat isn’t felt as strongly if the person is still able to consume seafood. However, this technique really only prolongs the process of changing diets, dragging things out unnecessarily. If you prefer to tackle problems head-on, this method probably isn’t for you.
Now that you’ve decided what type of diet you’d like to adopt, it’s important to find out what foods are still available to you. Oftentimes, new vegetarians simply don’t know what to eat, become exasperated, and give up. You can save yourself a lot of heartache and frustration by collecting some appetizing, vegetarian recipes before you make the switch to meat-free. The temptation will be to choose vegetarian versions of foods you already enjoy.
Lovers of chili will find a plethora of meatless versions all over the internet and throughout cookbooks Simply swapping your normal recipe for a vegetarian version may seem like a brilliant idea, but that simply isn’t the case. Those new vegetarian dishes aren’t going to taste the same. They’ll seem as if they’re missing something. They’ll leave you unfulfilled. When you crave chili on your new diet, you’ll be craving the chili you’re used to, the version you or mom or grandpa always makes.
Odds are good that grandpa’s chili is chocked full of meaty goodness. Instead of setting yourself up for disappointment, choose recipes for new foods that sound intriguing. If you’re unaccustomed to indian or middle eastern food, now is an excellent time to try a vegetarian curry dish or the classic falafel. With a bit of experimentation, you’ll find new meals that leave you satisfied and satiated.
If, however, you find yourself craving a former recipe which you simply have to have, don’t panic. There’s a whole world of meatless substitutes out there waiting to be discovered. If tofu isn’t your style (and it can be quite difficult to master), check out the frozen section at your local grocery store. There are vegetarian versions of ground beef, hot dogs, sausages, chicken, and hamburgers available.
Most of these are still made with tofu, but all that difficult preparation is done for you. Be sure to carefully read labels, however, as many of these products are not vegan-friendly. If you’ve also given up dairy, there is rice milk, almond milk, or soy milk available to meet your needs. Most of these products, along with coconut milk, can effectively be used in baking. And for those vegans with a sweet tooth, there are varieties of ice-cream made from tofu. If you don’t see what you are looking for in your local store, speak with a manager about placing a special order or finding the product at an alternative location.