Becoming vegetarian is always a good way to start leading a healthier lifestyle. If you’re planning to try it yourself—perhaps as a cleanse before the holidays, a way to get fit before a vacation, or because you just want to be healthy—there are a lot of benefits. Reaping the rewards, however, only comes from doing vegetarianism right.
If you’re a first-time vegetarian, here are a few helpful tips, as well as common mistakes to avoid.
DO Eat Organic Foods
The benefits of becoming a vegetarian come not only from doing away with meats, but also from eating a wide variety of organic, nutrient-rich, plant-based foods. The next time you go to the supermarket or order online for fruits and vegetable delivery, make sure it includes organic veggies, fruits, herbs, and whole grains such as quinoa, beans, nuts, lentils, and seeds.
A whole bagel with margarine might qualify as part of a vegetarian diet, but it’s not nutritious, or even good for you. Make quality plant-based foods your ingredients of choice.
DON’T Binge on Vegetarian Junk Food
There’s an endless supply of processed “vegetarian-friendly” foods in supermarkets, from faux pepperoni pizza and non-meat burger patties, to vegetarian cookies and donuts. These processed treats are fine in moderation, but it’s best if the bulk of your meals and snacks include nutrient-rich whole foods. Call your local farmers and arrange for regular free vegetable deliveries. That way, you make sure that you’re getting the freshest organic local produce available.
DO Vegetarian-ise Your Favourite Meals
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the idea of giving up meat and going vegetarian, but there are easy ways to cope with this. There’s a vegetarian version for almost every meal you can think of. “Veg up” your favourite recipes by simply replacing the meat and dairy with veggie options.
DON’T Give Up Protein
Protein is essential in building, repairing, and maintaining your body’s muscles and other tissues. Even if you’re giving up meat, you don’t have to deprive your body of protein. Vegetables and grains such as quinoa, lentils, peas, beans, asparagus, and artichokes can be your alternative source of protein.
Becoming a vegetarian is not an easy sacrifice, but one that yields bountiful results when done properly.