7 Things to Know Before Going Vegetarian
What You Need to Know About Being Vegetarian
So, you've decided that you're curious about vegetarianism. That's great! Whether you're considering this change of eating habits for dietary reasons, environmental reasons, spiritual reasons, animal rights, or something in between, there are a few things you should know to get the most health-fulfilling benefits out of the veggie life. Keep reading below for a quick guide of things to consider, before making the switch!
1. Lean, Green, Protein Machine
Fact or fiction: meat is the only source of protein.
Nuts, pulses, dried fruits, tofu, leafy greens, and eggs are all incredible sources of protein. A filling salad of spinach and quinoa, or a quick and easy breakfast of eggs (egg whites are pure protein) and tempeh bacon make it easy to get your fill. Powering up with some Vitamin C will aid in iron absorption, thus helping you get the most benefits out of your daily protein intake. Enjoy a glass of fresh juice alongside your meal, or choose foods high in both protein and Vitamin C (such as broccoli or Brussel sprouts) to truly get the best of both worlds.
2. Always Read the Fine Print
Did you know that foods like parmesan cheese and Worcestershire sauce are typically not vegetarian? While there's no question in figuring out where those chicken tenders are from, many foods you might not think twice about before tossing into your shopping cart are processed with ingredients derived from animals. Be sure to read ingredient lists, and research more animal-friendly alternatives.
4. Plan Ahead
Yes, vegetarians can eat more than just salads. Nevertheless, with a new dietary guideline, it's important to plan ahead before going out to eat or joining in on your friend's dinner party. Most restaurant menus are easily available on the internet nowadays, so you can find plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly eateries (fried portobello mushroom burger, anyone?) plus ways to make your fast food favorites more viable.
5. Snack Attack
Eating less meat and more greens means that you'll likely be burning through your calories faster. Don't beat yourself up over a little snacking—In fact, it's actually encouraged for diets that are a little more plant-heavy! While this doesn't exactly mean that potato chips are now suddenly healthy for you, it does mean that reaching for health-conscious (but still totally satisfying) snacks—such as hummus, almonds, natural fruit rolls, popcorn, or edamame—is a good idea when it comes to keeping your body full and energized.
6. Take Your Vitamins
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it won't give you all the vitamins and minerals you truly need to keep each of your body's various systems functioning properly. Vegetarians and vegans in particular are at risk of encountering deficiencies in Vitamin B12—the vitamin largely responsible for keeping your nervous system running smoothly. A lack of B12 can result in anemia, fatigue, memory problems, heart palpitations, and a variety of other symptoms. B12 is most often found in meat, but can also be sourced from eggs, yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals, and B12 vegetarian sources.
7. Being Healthy Takes Work
Being healthy takes work. It takes practice, and it takes conscious decision making. Vegetarians may eat a few more fruits and veggies than your average omnivore, but it doesn't inherently make their diet comprehensively healthy. A lot of junk food is vegetarian and even vegan, but that doesn't make it good for you. Faux meats such as veggie burgers and fake "chicken" nuggets are still often modeled after their fast food counterparts, and may contain a long list of highly processed gunk, preservatives, and other additives. Keep this in mind when making out your grocery list, so as to ensure that your body is getting access to the most resilient selection of ingredients possible.
Photo Credit: https://veganliftz.com