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According to the latest reports, the global vegetarian community has surpassed 375 million members. Another billion have taken matters a few steps further and gone vegan. More people are joining these movements every day. While some might think cutting meats and animal products out of their diets would be difficult, these five simple tips can help make the transition much more manageable.
1) Professional Intervention
Going vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean doing all the meal prep on your own. Countless restaurants now offer plenty of options in this category. From Chinese vegetarian cuisine to burgers and barbecue, ample made-to-order options are at your disposal. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of them.
2) Slow and Steady Wins the Race
For some, suddenly and completely giving up meat and dairy products would be as difficult as taking the cold-turkey approach to ending addiction. Eliminating animal products slowly and steadily is usually the simplest method for success.
Consider removing one category of food each week or month until you’ve reached full-blown vegetarian status. Take away beef at one point, chicken the next, cheese the following week or month and so forth. Going slowly and steadily will be much easier than bringing a swift end to your typical dietary habits.
3) Eat Plenty of Protein
Protein is an integral component in any diet, and it’s vital to building muscle, repairing cell damage, producing hormones and generating healthy bone and skin tissues to name a few processes. In most cases, this critical nutrient primarily comes from meat and eggs, so those who choose to go vegetarian are often lacking in this department.
Fortunately, a long list of vegetarian-friendly foods is also excellent sources of protein. Beans, peas, lentils, quinoa, oats, chia and hemp seeds, and nuts are only a few of the beneficial options in this realm. These items can easily be added to various recipes. Some hold their own as standalone snacks as well. They’ll provide the same health benefits as meat and keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time.
4) Make Small Substitutions
Going vegetarian is about making small substitutions more so than self-deprivation. Supermarket chains are making available dozens of vegetarian alternatives. From cheeses and snack foods to mayonnaise and gravy, an endless lineup of suitable replacements is now on store shelves.
5) Add First: Then Subtract
Another general rule of thumb for those making the switch is to bring in the vegetarian alternatives and substitutions before taking away the items they’re meant to replace. Start enjoying quinoa before eliminating ground beef. Create a half-and-half cheese blend on your next pizza instead of tossing out traditional cheese completely. This way, you’ll begin growing accustomed to the subtle differences before acclimating to the absence of certain elements.
All Things Considered
Vegetarianism offers a wide range of health benefits, including lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reduced risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and a heightened feeling of general well-being to name a few. Plenty of mental and emotional advantages can come from the decision as well.
Though joining the vegetarian movement may seem like a considerable stretch for most, it’s really not all that difficult. Just take it slow, make a few small substitutions along the way and take advantage of all the pre-made dishes and alternative ingredients now readily available.