How to be Vegetarian

Becoming a vegetarian is a different process for everyone. Some do it gradually, others all at once. I can’t tell you what works best for you but I can give you a few tips.

1. Have good reasons. Like any lifestyle change you need to first think about why you want to become vegetarian, and really believe in it.

2. Educate yourself. Read as much as possible, watch videos, take vegetarian cooking classes, check out some vegan magazines, peruse vegetarian/vegan web sites and forums etc…

3. Choose a vegetarian restaurant in the area and give them a try. It might inspire a little creativity in your own kitchen.

4. Find good recipes. You don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of new cookbooks, although that’s certainly an option. You can borrow them from the library or check out some of the many great *recipes online.

5. Try your some of your favorite recipes, but instead of using meat, use a meatless **substitute. If you love spaghetti or chili, for example, substitute a ground-beef alternative like veggie ground round, crumbled tofu or soy protein. There are alternatives for just about any kind of meat, and most of them are quite good. Another example, if you are baking, is using a mashed banana in place of an egg.

6. Find the nearest local health food store, have a look around, get familiar with some of the products and maybe buy a couple of things you haven’t tried before.

7. Stock up on some of the basics. It’s really difficult to start a lifestyle change when you’re ill-equipped. Some of the staples in our kitchen include plenty of vegetables, fruits, brown rice and other whole grains, as well as soy sauce or tamari, tahini and fresh herbs.

8. Get to know as much about nutrition and health as possible. Whoever you are, an important pathway to healthy living is to ensure that your diet is well-balanced and nutritious.

It is a myth to think that a vegetarian diet is in some way deficient in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, but like any diet, you have to be sure to eat a balanced variety of foods.

10. Have fun. Most of all, don’t make becoming a vegetarian be a restrictive, oppressive ordeal. If you feel like you’re depriving yourself, you won’t last long. But if you feel like you’re doing something good for you, the welfare of animals and our environment, while experimenting and trying new things, it can be a whole lot of fun.

* For some delicious recipes to try out, check out Sweet Vegan’s recipe page.
** For more meat, egg and dairy substitutes go to Sweet Vegan’s substitutes page.

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