If you don’t know already, I am vegetarian. Back in April 2016, I made a video explaining why I am vegetarian, which you can watch here! I went over some reasons why I am vegetarian there, but I wanted to tell you how I began the steps to changing my diet, and how you can too!
Take It Slow
The worst possible way to make such a drastic change to your diet is to do it suddenly. If you do that, you are setting yourself up for some hardcore failure. If you’re used to eating 3 hamburgers every week, a filet mignon every Saturday night, or eat meat with literally every meal of the day, cutting it all out cold turkey (no pun intended) is just not going to work.
I began my vegetarian journey right after Christmas in 2015. Over the previous year, I began to cut out meat one step at a time. I subbed turkey or pork for beef when possible, and I cut red meat out altogether. After I cut out beef, I did the same with pork, chicken, and eventually turkey. You can “save” whatever meat for last, but I chose turkey because at the time it was one of my favorites. My last day eating meat was the day after Christmas, and I haven’t had any since.
One thing that has been hard for me is consuming things that don’t have meat in them, but are still made with animal stock (Rice-a-Roni, pasta sauces, etc). Some would argue that this is technically veganism, but animal stock is part of the animal, not an animal byproduct (eggs and milk). Take this at your own pace too. You’ve cut out meat but you’re still eating pre-mixed pastas and soups that have animal stock in it? That’s up to you. I did that after I cut out meat because those things were already sitting in my pantry. After they got used, I haven’t restocked them. What you do with those products is totally up to you.
This kind of piggy-backs off of the previous section. If you’re cutting out one thing at a time, set dates. Tell yourself you are going to have red meat cut out completely by next Friday, or that you will cut out all poultry by next Tuesday. This way you have a goal, and a deadline.
I told myself I was going to cut out all meat right after Christmas, and I did!
While I was doing this, I would look up vegetarian recipes on Pinterest, look up other vegetarians on Tumblr or Instagram, and watch documentaries on vegetarianism/veganism to educate myself more as to why meat is actually not good for you at all. Find and make friends who are beginning their journey, because it is not easy. You will be questioned by almost everyone, and you will want that support and knowledge to back yourself up with. (ie: “But you’re not going to get enough protein. Don’t you miss it? Are you going to take iron supplements?”)
Do It With A Buddy
Find a friend who wants to go vegetarian with you! It’s much easier to do it with a friend/sibling/co-worker than by yourself. You can hold each other accountable, and you can share recipes with each other for inspiration!
Take your time, go at your own pace. Your journey is yours. I wish you luck! Let me know in the comments below how your vegetarian or vegan journey has been!