I was recently contacted by a new vegetarian on the vegeTARAian Facebook page. This inspired me to share some tips on the transition to becoming vego.
Thanks to writers like Peter Singer, Michael Pollan and Jonathan Safran Foer there is an increasing awareness about what we are eating. And for some, the results can be quite topical and confronting. We want to know the background behind what appears on our plate. We are doing research online, carefully examining food labels and questioning restaurants about their produce. To this I say hooray! The only way to make the best decision for you is to arm yourself with knowledge.
Before I frighten you all away with the thought that I’m going to bang on about how great it is to be a vegetarian and that I want everyone else in the world to be one, rest assured I’m not here to do that! Of course I DO think being a vego is great and I would love to see more vegetarians (and therefore a decrease in factory farming) but I appreciate that it’s a very personal choice and I’m not here to try and ‘turn’ anyone. As I’ve said in my bio, this blog is for everyone!
If you are looking to dip your toe in the water, or you just want to go without meat once a week, campaigns like Meat Free Monday are a great idea. It’s as simple as this – they encourage people to go without meat every Monday. If this is your thing check out their website for helpful tips and recipes.
As for switching to vegetarianism, there are many different reasons for choosing a meat free diet. It can be concern for the environment and sustainability, a response to the ethics and treatment of animals or health issues. I’m sure there are many vegetarians for whom it is a combination of some or all of these. Undeniably, the more research you do, the better informed (and easier) the decision will be.
If you’ve grown up with or have always had a meat based diet, it may seem like a daunting prospect to give up meat products – especially for those who unconsciously consume meat at every meal, which would be easy enough to do: bacon and eggs for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch and bbq chicken for dinner.
One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve come across is that vegetarians have a difficult time eating out. From my experience it’s not difficult, especially if you don’t let it be. I try not to let a choice of venue stop me from dining out with friends. While most restaurants will have at least one vego dish, don’t assume that what is on the menu is all they have to offer. Ask what other options are available as most are more than happy to assist. Alternatively you can request that a dish on the menu be altered. Don’t be afraid, the worst they can say is no!
As I’ve spoken about before, there is a growing range of vegetarian meats available, which can be great substitutes in popular meals you may be used to making. Some brands are better than others so it’s worthwhile trying a few different products and experimenting with recipes to see if they are for you.
If you’re considering veganism, there are products like eggs, dairy and even honey to rethink. But that’s a whole other discussion and one I’m not informed enough to tackle!
Read as much as you can – information is at your fingertips with a wealth of knowledge on the interwebs. Below are just some of the links that you may find helpful which I will endeavour to update every now and then.
What has been a good source of information for you? If you have any tips or suggestions you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!