First of all, congratulations on choosing to become a vegetarian! Whether it’s for health reasons, ethical reasons, environmental reasons or all of the above, we commend you for making a positive decision to change your life, and the lives of many others. Contrary to popular belief, becoming a vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re condemning yourself to a life of just salad. Here are some strategies for making the transition from omnivore to herbivore!
Method 1: Becoming a Vegetarian or Vegan Gradually
Some people choose to become vegetarians gradually. This gradual method of becoming a vegetarian is ideal for someone who has been a lifelong meat eater and mistakenly thinks, “I could never do this completely!” Believe me, you can! I’ve done it! The gradual removal of meat products can make the transition a little easier and make you less likely to rebound and binge. You could start by cutting out all red meat, then two weeks later cut out white meat, then after that remove fish from your diet. After that comes the surprisingly non-vegetarian products like gelatin and becoming more aware of what ingredients are in your food. As your diet becomes more wholesome and produce heavy, your body and mind will start to miss meat less and less. If you decide to take the next steps to become a vegan, you could begin by cutting out eggs, then cheese, milk and other dairy, and then for strict vegans any honey or other animal byproducts.
Method 2: Quitting Meat Cold-Turkey
“Cold Turkey.” Haha! See what we did there? Some people never consumed much meat, or are very familiar with cooking or vegetarian food, so quitting all at once is the right choice for them. It can be more challenging for someone who is accustomed to having meat and animal byproducts in their diet, but it IS doable. It takes strength, commitment and resolve. If you’re quitting all at once, we commend you and are here to support you if it gets tough!
Method 3: Becoming a Part-Time Vegetarian
Not ready to commit to the full-on vegetarian lifestyle? That’s ok. There are many levels of vegetarianism. We hope you’ll join us fully eventually, but in the meantime there are many ways to cut back your meat intake and start seeing the benefits of vegetarianism for yourself. Try “Meatless Mondays” – one day per week where you are guaranteed to go entirely meat-free in all your meals. After that, try cutting back to having meat no more than two days per week. Even that big reduction in meat consumption can have a significant impact on your health, your waist line, your pocketbook and the environment. We hope that you start to see the many benefits of vegetarianism and decide to take the plunge full-time!