So—you're considering a vegetarian diet, or perhaps a semi-vegetarian diet, but you also don't want to add a lot of hassle to your life. Have I got that right? And perhaps you'd also like to skip going cold-turkey on most of the foods/flavors you enjoy. If that's you, come and explore some ways to make the transition in simple steps and stages, and also at the pace you choose. In fact, that's how I did it myself. [Please note, however, that I am not a professional nutritionist—just someone who learned as I went along.]
A good first step? Perhaps begin by gradually adding more fruits and veggies to your diet. Maybe you've been meaning to do that, anyway...or at least wonder if it might be a good idea. (BTW, the Cookie Monster™ now claims to eat F&V himself, so you'd be in good company!)
The great thing is that, however modest and gradual, such steps really can lead you and even Cookie-Man to a better-balanced and healthier diet. With minimal fuss and zero need for grand pronouncements, they can also help you maintain it, if plant-based eating is the route you ultimately choose.
Either way you win, because such foods can benefit your body whether you eat them exclusively or not.
First, a cautionary note: if you're relatively new to vegetarian eating, try tackling your transition
by degrees. For example, live it up with the fruits and veggies, the grains and legumes, but don't
attempt a dietary one-eighty in a single week. If you do, your body may find that sudden load of fiber "challenging," to say the least. (Catching my drift here?)
Instead, begin with a simple modification:
perhaps easing one or two more veggie servings into your daily consumption and also trying out a "new" fruit or vegetable now and then.
Then, gradually add more fruits and veggies and also begin cutting back on meat, moving as quickly or slowly as feels right to you and also buddying up to flexibility and compromise.
For example, let's say that one day you have a serious letch
for meat. In that case, build your next meal around a hearty meat substitute, or perhaps eat only half the meat you might otherwise do. Instead of a steak,
pork chop, or sausage, you might make (or order) a dish containing a few pieces of chicken or perhaps fish among other ingredients. Again: flexibility, compromise, and often some imagination
Wondering about that, perhaps? No worries. You'll have more tasty choices than you might imagine, not only meat substitutes such as tofu and seitan, but also umpteen grains and legumes. Moreover, if you're not vegan, you'll have the whole spectrum of dairy as well. And don't forget that vegetables themselves contain some protein. For discussions of some proteins available to you as a vegetarian, check out these pages:
Soy and Seitan
Grains and Legumes
Dairy and Meat Substitutes
Because any healthful change in your eating habits is cause for
celebration, please don't beat yourself up for whatever "timeouts" you choose to take during the transition. (Keep the fruits and veggies, though, right?)
When/If you decide to give some degree of vegetarianism another shot, just step back onto whatever path feels right to You. And, yes, your transition really could be as simple as that: not always effortless, perhaps, but basically simple. Plus, you can find support here and from many other sources just for the taking. So, is this the day you go for it??
Vegetarian Diet Tips for a Slimmer, Healthier Body
Copyright 2010-2016. Lynda Edwards. All rights reserved.