ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to be an Accidental Vegetarian

Updated on August 29, 2013

The Why

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I became unemployed. While one was unrelated to the other, their powers combined to throw my budget into a tailspin. How could I adjust for the added expense of a child with the added burden of no paycheck? Enter: sacrifices. Besides the usual (no more eating out, no more movie dates, no more name-brand cleaning supplies), I opted to phase meat out of our diets.

Up to this point, we were twice-a-week vegetarians. It wasn't a conscious effort, but I had been working to up the amount of fiber in our diets, and that translated into some veggie-based meals that became regulars. Other than that, chicken and fish were staples, but their pricetags became the bane of my grocery shopping existence. I had to give them up.


Delicious vegetarian burgers with black beans and mushrooms
Delicious vegetarian burgers with black beans and mushrooms

The How

The first step toward becoming an accidental vegetarian (my term for my own metamorphosis) is to become a conscious fiber-tarian. Doctors, magazines, and talk show hosts espouse the benefits of eating more fiber, and their advice is spot-on. Fiber not only helps keep us regular, but it has the added benefit of filling our stomachs with nutrition that breaks down slowly and helps us to feel fuller longer. Additionally, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables always contain vitamins and minerals that our bodies need in order to be healthy and energetic.

So add more fiber. Start your menu planning with fiber. Plan the rest of your plate around the grains, fruits, and vegetables you love. Add extra to pasta salad or fried rice. Use thin strips of zucchini or eggplant to bulk up cheesy lasagna. Opt for sweet potatoes over whites and cabbage in your salad over lettuce. Substitute a serving of pasta for a serving of quinoa or farro. Small changes-- like putting your steak on a bed of brussel sprouts instead of rice-- make a massive difference. And the shift is not just for your body (although your digestive tract will thank you). The shift is mental; it means you consider the produce department first before the meat and fish cases.

The next step toward becoming an accidental vegetarian is to consider alternatives to meat in the meals you love. Let's be honest: if you want a hamburger, you better have a darn good alternative in the works or burger night will live on forever. Try a thick slice of grilled eggplant dusted with hickory seasoning. Peruse recipes for veggie burgers that use ingredients you already love like black beans or brown rice. Add some smoke flavoring to simulate the grill if it helps. If you can't live without chicken stir-fry, consider slivers of portabello mushroom or tofu instead. For many dishes, the meat is more about mouth-feel than it is about flavor. Search for alternatives (even the packaged tubes of vegetarian products you can find in the produce coolers) that help ease the transition.

The final step in the transition to accidental vegetarian is to commit one week to exclusively vegetarian meals. Plan it out and see how much variety you can pack into seven days. At the end of that week, you will find that you've got an arsenal of ingredients and techniques at your disposal. Now you can take it one week at a time. Keep track of the meals you've created so that you can riff on them later.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)