You’ve done your homework and want to try a new way of living! By going vegetarian, you support a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. Studies show that people who avoid meat live longer and have less disease (including heart disease and type 2 diabetes).
But moving away from the standard American diet to eating a diet free of meat can be difficult task for many of us. Here are a few simply things to keep in mind when transitioning from a meat to meatless diet.
Go gradually. Give your family (and yourself) time to adjust by taking your time.. Cut out meat 1 day a week, then 2 days and so on. You may find it helpful to cut out beef first, then pork, chicken and turkey and finally fish.
Visit vegetarian restaurants to get ideas to use at home. Be creative. It doesn’t have to be a bowl of salad every night! Try tofu or seitan. Both are prepared foods and can be used as meat replacements in many recipes. (You may need to add a healthy fat when replacing meats with plant based proteins.)
Be careful not to replace your meat with other animal proteins. Explore plant based proteins such as beans or quinoa. Have sweet potatoes. Seeds and nuts are being used more and more as meat replacements also! Watch out for prepared foods. Many prepared foods will contain animal products such as dairy and can be in many different forms. One form that is often used to increase the amount of protein in a prepared food is Casein. The odd thing is they never tell you were the Casein comes from. A yak perhaps? “Food” for thought.
Boost flavor and to help your family feel full, use healthy fats. Coconut oil is great for cooking and to add flavor to potatoes and many dishes.
Finally, have fruits (rather than fruit juice or fruit drinks) available for snacks any time of the day. A whole apple or orange will fill your tummy and keep you feeling full better than a glass of juice. Plus you’ll be getting that extra fiber that is not found in juice.
This is a good starting point but of course there is much more. Getting your friends interested can be a good support and you’ll learn from one another too!