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5 Things to Help You Stick to a Vegetarian Diet

Updated on September 29, 2012
Fruit is important for a proper diet
Fruit is important for a proper diet

How Do I Stick to a Vegetarian Diet

Okay, do you want the real answer or the one that will make you feel good?

The feel good answer is "It's easy. Not a problem."

The real answer is "Yes, it's going to take some commitment." It's a lifestyle change that will be somewhat inconvenient and certainly annoying at times. Get used to this question, "How will you get your protein?"

There are some out there that will insist that you need meat. You don't.

However, if you want a plan, I can give you some things that might keep you on track. I recommend the following steps:

  1. Educate yourself - This is a new lifestyle change. You will be met with idiocy every step of the way. A good viewing of the following films will help you stay on your path and give you everything you need to know. I recommend the films, Forks Over Knives, Fast Food Nation, and Supersize Me! I also recommend the book Engine2Diet based on the Forks Over Knives diet model or you can read Skinny Bitch or Skinny Bastard by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.
  2. Don't beat yourself up - Going vegetarian is a challenge. Because fast food and meat products are available everywhere a good vegetarian diet may be hard to follow. You may slip up. It's okay. Recently, I made the decision to cut out all meat and dairy from my diet. Every so often, I'll eat sushi. The world will not end. Take it one day at a time.
  3. Plan your meals - If you know what your going to eat, you'll be less likely to stray.
  4. Take vitamin supplements - You'll most likely need to replace some of the things that meat gives you naturally. A good iron supplement as well as a good regimen of vitamin B complex and B12. Don't let anyone tell you that you need whatever calcium from milk, you can actually get more calcium from broccoli.
  5. Consider soy substitutes for a start - Giving up meat cold turkey (pardon the pun) can be distressing. There are a plethora of soy meat substitutes that taste like the real thing. Beware, some don't. Talk to a serious vegetarian and see what they recommend. I personally recommend "The Ultimate Beefless Burger" ($4.99 for a 4 patties). I can't tell the difference.

Why do it?

More than anything else, you should ask yourself why you decided to become vegetarian to begin with. Most people either do it for health reasons or for animal rights reasons.

On the plus side, a vegetarian or, more specifically a vegan diet, is incredibly beneficial to you. It's been known to reverse the effects of diabetes, help you drop cholesterol, and reduce the effects of ADHD as well as improve focus.

A vegan diet while eliminating processed food and sugar may be one of the best steps toward rejuvenation. My wife is a 46 year old vegan who has the body and constitution of a 20 something year old. When she made the decision to go from vegetarian to vegan she dropped 20 lbs and went from a size 12 to a size 4. Initially, she became a vegetarian for animal rights reasons. Once she took the plunge into veganism, her metabolism improved, her skin cleared up, and her mood became markedly brighter.

My road to vegetarianism has been one of "kicking and screaming". It wasn't until I found myself 50 lbs overweight with high cholesterol and poor metabolism did I even consider that path. However, after educating myself on the pros of a vegan diet, I decided that it was the best way to go.

And in the end that is the answer. You keep to a vegetarian diet because you want to. The best reason you should do this is for you - regardless of the ethics or science.

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    • cperuzzi profile image
      Author

      Christopher Peruzzi 5 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      You're exactly right. It's all in the meal planning. If you know what you're going to eat for each day, there is less of a chance of cheating.

      Plus when you cut the processed food you'll find yourself eating less anyway.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Excellent job providing some really useful tips. I still eat chicken and fish but am trying to shift to the vegetarian diet for health reasons but have not been successful. I think planning is key. How do you deal with social situations when most of your friends eat meat? Thanks for the motivation.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Nice hub. I'm not a vegetarian, but coming from a culture (African) that value more veggies than meat in their diet, I know the benefits of eating more veggies and fruits.

      Voted up and useful, even for those of us who still love our meat.

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Nice hub. I've been a vegetarian for about four years now and have slipped every now and then. This is very useful information on how to stick to this type of diet. Voted up!

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      I made the switch two weeks ago, and I feel great. Great suggestions here. Watching "Forks over Knives" and reading "Eat to Live" have convinced me that this is a good path to take towards better health. Voted up and shared.

    • cperuzzi profile image
      Author

      Christopher Peruzzi 5 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      Thanks. I still dream of hamburgers.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Very well said. Interesting Hub!