How To Be a Vegetarian
Vegetarian food is not hard to find out there anymore!
You might have heard of this dietary lifestyle many times by now. You might even know someone or worked with someone who is a vegetarian. You might have wondered, “how can they possibly live without eating meat?” In the United States, we live within a very carnivorous society. Meat is a pervasive part of each meal. Most restaurants mainly offer dishes that contain a various meat, unless the establishment is more specific towards carrying vegetarian options. Our favorite backyard BBQ's are all about grillin'...meat. All in all, our American culture is not considered vegetarian friendly. So then, why would anyone break their backs over becoming a vegetarian? The reason has become simple: it is easy to become vegetarian! Especially if you live in a large city or in one of the greener cities. Even to become one part-time is as easy as pie (assuming it is not of the Shepherd’s variety).
Vegetarian Options at the Supermarket
First, as awareness increases over the benefits of becoming vegetarian, the number of vegetarian options available increases. The demand has finally reached a level to where supply is making the search for vegetarian varieties much easier. Most supermarkets now have a nice section of refrigerated meat alternatives as well as a frozen food section filled with meatless meals. And contrary to popular misconceptions, vegetarian food does not have to taste like cardboard or gerbil food. I cannot accurately say because I have not personally tried either, but nowadays the vegetarian food sold in stores is quite enjoyable to consume. Keep in mind that veggie alternatives to meat are not going to taste or feel exactly like the meat you typically eat. It cannot be 100% similar so don’t get discouraged when it’s not equivalent. Take some time to adjust to it. Experiment with different textures and different types of products. It won’t be long before you find one or more palatable substitutes that you can’t get enough of.
Vegetarian Options at Restaurants
It is easier these days to find a hearty vegetarian meal in restaurants that don’t otherwise cater to vegetarians. Many places now offer at least a classic garden burger that contains a veggie patty. Some places even offer a tofu meal choice. Asian restaurants typically offer tofu, you just chose the flavoring. At Mexican restaurants, beans are an easy substitute for meat. Or if you are browsing the menu and come across flavors that your heart desires but it comes with a meat, you can ask the server to leave out the meat and add more veggies. They usually don’t mind replacing the meat with extra vegetables since meat is more expensive. Restaurants will try to accommodate for your diet so that you can walk away with a pleasant dining experience. So go ahead and look beyond the salad section for a vegetarian dinner!
Introducing Easy Meals at Home
Now to make the biggest change: start incorporating meatless meals onto your dinner table. Don’t overwhelm yourself and go cold turkey by vowing never to eat turkey again. You will not enjoy depriving yourself of what your body is accustomed to, nor is it healthy to suddenly stop eating meat. Start by finding something that you like from the supermarket, and making it a point to have it once a week. Why not put down Meatless Mondays on your calendar as a reminder (check out their website to take the pledge). Be sure that you have several types of protein sources to choose from to keep things interesting such as beans, lentils, or soy. Continue to find more meals that you can effortlessly transition into your diet. The great thing about tofu is that it comes in different textures (soft, firm, or extra firm) to suit your preference. Tofu also adopts the flavors of the marinade so it will taste exactly the way you prepare it. There are many websites that offer easy vegetarian recipes. After you have an arsenal of meals that you love, you can replace some of the less healthy meat dishes that you used to prepare. And the more healthy meals you create more often, the healthier your entire family will become. Keep in mind that there is a lot of room for flexibility, but you will find that you eat healthier with the more vegetarian meals you consume. Begin with moderation and see what works best for you and your lifestyle. Commit yourself to achievable challenges but if it truly is not right for you, do the best that you can.
Try these small easy steps and see if they can lead to more steps to help you become a vegetarian. Try to enjoy exploring the realm of meatless cuisines. With an open mind, you may find new foods that you love and that are healthier for you and for the environment. If you need more thorough guidance, grab a book and let if help you step-by-step through the journey of vegetarianism.