Changing your diet can be really simple if you know exactly what to do. Here are a few tips that will help you on your journey towards a plant-based diet.
It doesn’t matter why you are thinking of becoming a vegetarian, as long as it is something you are convinced of. Whether it is avoiding hormones used in animal foods or because you want to take action for animal rights, shifting your omnivore diet to a vegetarian diet can be confusing and overwhelming at first, but if you keep some clear concepts on your mind, you will find that it is actually quite simple.
What is a vegetarian diet?
There is not one single veggie diet. As a matter of fact, there are many. And whichever you choose, is fine. The first thing to keep in mind is that you are not racing against someone else to see who eats more veggies. You are doing this at your own pace and that is perfectly fine. Here are the types of vegetarian diets:
Vegetarian: vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, or fish. It can be sub-divided in lacto-ovo (vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products), lacto (vegetarians who eat only dairy, but no eggs), and ovo (they eat eggs, but not dairy).
Vegan: Vegans don’t eat meat, poultry or fish, nor any other product derived from animals. This means they don’t eat eggs, dairy products, gelatin, honey, etc.
Flexitarian: also known as semi-vegetarian, they eat mostly plant-based foods, but they might occasionally eat meat or animal-derived products.
Is it safe?
You have probably heard that if you switch to a vegetarian diet, you will be at risk of not getting all your nutrients. While this is not correct, you do need to be conscious of what you eat and how you eat it to make sure you are doing it right.
The main thing you need to track is vitamin B-12. As it is naturally found on animal products, when you shift to a vegetarian diet, you need to get it somewhere else. And it might sound complex, but it is really simple: you can either get a B12 supplement, or you can opt for B12-fortified plant-based milk.
‘That’s it! I’m starting on Monday!’
Whatever the reason for you to becoming a vegetarian is, you need to follow a method that you know works well for you. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all transition. You can either set a date, or you can do it gradually.
If you decide to do it gradually, leave behind those things that you are not crazy about and keep eating those you love, even if they are not plant-based. In time, as you feel more comfortable with your new diet, you will be able to drop those other things, too.
Remember: the most important part is that you do it at your own pace, it’s better to get there slowly than to never even try!