Header image easy vegetarian  
  
   

Sir Paul McCartneyPaul Mc Cartney

If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”

Public Domain photo of Paul
McCartney courtesy of Wikepedia

 

Alec Baldwin

"Every time we sit down to eat, we make a choice: Please choose vegetarianism. Do it for animals. Do it for the environment and do it for your health."

 


 

   

THE FIRST STEP

You have actually made your first step, which was the decision to become vegetarian. Now your next step will be another decision, how to do that - 'cold tofu' or gradually.

 

Whether you stop eating meat gradually or suddenly is an important decision because each person is different and what works for one won't be the best approach for everyone. This will be determined by your personality type, your physical constitution and the reason you made the decision to go vegetarian. If you have suddenly had an insight in regard to 'what meat is', where it comes from and what is involved in turning a living animal into a piece of bacon on the dinner table, you may feel compelled to make an overnight change. If you are becoming vegetarian for health or environmental reasons you may not feel the urgency to make such sudden changes and you may feel that a gradual reduction over a few weeks or months works for you. 

Keep in mind that for most people, gradual change is easier for the mind and the body. However some people do thrive on big changes, can adapt quickly and maintain change permanently so think about the type of person you are; how do you usually cope with change? Do you like to move through life with baby steps or huge leaps? Did you ever give up smoking and if so did you cut down gradually or stop suddenly? How does your physical health cope with change? How much meat do you already eat? If you don't eat much meat now, it's going to be easy either way you choose but if you eat meat every day, even if your mind wants to be vegetarian, it may be very difficult for your body to adjust to a big change overnight.

If you decide on a sudden change

Make sure you eat well every day and are getting all the nutrients your body needs. So look at the veg basic food page on this site and follow the links to recipe pages and ideas about food you can add to your diet. You may find that if you go vegetarian or vegan overnight that you want to eat more frequently. If so, go right ahead. This is normal and healthy. Plant based foods digest a lot faster than animal food so you may naturally feel more like 'grazing' throughout the day. If you want to have more meals each day, that's fine or you may want to snack on nuts, fruits, soy yogurt, or small meals in between your main meals. Some people who make the transition overnight, do say they feel a bit hungry for up to a few weeks. If this happens to you, don't be too concerned, it will pass as your body adjusts (as long as you are eating well). The hungry feeling should not last more than a couple of weeks so if you are still feeling hungry after three or four weeks, it probably means that you are not eating enough variety of foods. You may need to add more mock meats, tofu, tempeh and nuts to your diet. If you feel anxious or confused about it, go to a naturopath or veg friendly dietician and get them to help you with meal planning. You will find that just a few adjustments they will recommend will make all the difference.

If you decide on a gradual change, you might like to consider these ideas:

  • Eliminate all animal food from your breakfast for a week (or month), then eliminate if from your lunch, then eliminate it from your dinner.
  • Eliminating one animal at a time. Perhaps you could eliminate pig or chicken meat as pigs and chickens are the most exploited of the farm animals and probably suffer the most. Or you could eliminate the animal whose meat you find easiest to do without. Give yourself a time frame.
  • Reduce meat and dairy at the same time. Instead of eliminating meat all in one go, you could halve your meat and dairy consumption together. If you're not that fond of dairy, that might be an easier way to go. (Reducing or eliminating dairy has all the same benefits to animals, health and the environment as reducing or eliminating meat).
  • Just eliminate one animal at a time but completely eliminate dairy.
  • Set yourself small goals eg: No pig meat for a month, then no pig and chicken meat for the next month etc until you eliminate all. Write out your goals and stick them on your fridge. As you achieve each one, give yourself a reward.
  • Set yourself a time frame to become vegetarian- 1 month, 3 months, 6 months.

Keep in mind that if you are eliminating meat because of ethical reasons (animal suffering and exploitation) dairy causes as much suffering as meat (some say even more). If your choice is for environmental reasons, again, dairy is a great waster of water and resources. Some of the newest health research is very unfavourable towards dairy. See the Health Page.

Ideas to help you give up meat eating and make the transition enjoyable:

  • Make the transition to vegetarianism with a friend or family member so you can stay motivated and have support.
  • Arrange to go out to dinners with friends to vegetarian restaurants or go to Turkish or Lebanese restaurants and have the vegetarian banquet. Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants also always have a great variety of vegetarian/vegan meals. (Be aware that Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese usually use fish and oyster sauces in most of their vegetarian meals. It is quite acceptable to ask them not to include those sauces in your meal. Most Asian restaurants are very used to this request from vegetarians.
  • Have a vegetarian dinner party at home and ask each of your friends to bring a dish of plant based food.
  • Attend some dinners organised by your local vegetarian/vegan society. You'll find out where the best vegetarian/vegan restaurants are as well as meeting like minded people.

    For some more great ideas on how to make the transition see: why veg and vegan starter kits

Lemon Slices photo repeated throughout this site courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net


 

Why VEGetariAN?

FOR:
Animals

People

Health and Fitness

Environment

Spiritual/Religious

 

You might be surprised by these
Famous Vegetarian Quotes

 
 


 
 

The important thing to ask yourself is, "Which approach is going to give me the greatest chance of staying vegetarian for the rest of my life?" Becoming vegetarian for a month or two and then reverting is not going to make that much of a difference to you, the animals or the environment.

 
     
 
If you have any questions about veg food AskVeg is an online community for vegetarians, vegans raw foodists, and anybody else who is trying to make the switch towards a healthier and more ethical lifestyle.