ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Transitioning to a Vegetarian Lifestyle

Updated on June 15, 2016

Reasons to Go Vegetarian

Firstly, it's important to establish your reasons for becoming a vegetarian. These will be incredibly important to keep in mind when maintaining motivation. There are generally two larger reasons to become a vegetarian: Health and Morality.

Health:

  • Vegetarians tend to have a smaller waist line than their meat-eating counter parts.
  • A proper vegetarian diet can lead to large amounts of energy.
  • There tends to be a lot of hormones and chemicals in animal products.
  • Removing meat from the diet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Vegetarians have a significantly lower risk of developing chronic diseases associated with diet.
  • Mortality rate among vegetarians is 12% lower than meat-eaters.

Morality:

  • Many slaughterhouses deal in very cruel forms of death.
  • Many animal product companies will torture or kill animals unnecessarily.
  • Many would argue there is no real way to kill an animal humanely.
  • Dairy industry keeps cows pregnant to continuously produce milk and separate them from their young after only two days.


Environmental Impact

There are also some very serious implications on the environment. The meat industry is the leading cause of global warming. Just consider these facts:

  • Livestock production contributes about 15% to 24% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • More than two-thirds of agricultural land is devoted to growing feed for livestock.
  • Only 8% of agricultural lands are devoted to growing food for human populations.
  • 50% of antibiotic use globally is used on livestock (this is related to the growing concern in antibiotic resistance).
  • Researchers have also discovered that the meat industry uses dwindling water supplies, destroys forests and grasslands, and causes soil erosion.
  • Run off from fertilizers, livestock fecal matter, and other pollutions of the industry have caused "dead zones" in certain costal areas and are contributing to the destruction of coral reefs which are essential to the ocean's ecosystem.

You can read more on this at: https://woods.stanford.edu/environmental-venture-projects/consequences-increased-global-meat-consumption-global-environment .

Vegetarian Safe Spirits

Certain alcohols can also be problematic. This is because certain beers and spirits are produced using a filtering process that utilizes fish bones. If you aren't a pescetarian then it's important to know which beers are a safe bet and which aren't. A site really good for this is going to be www.barnivore.com

Read Labels

Transitioning to vegetarian is a big decision and as such will take some planning. It's important to familiarize yourself with how to read product labels. Perhaps the most important part of label reading is knowing some key terms.

  • Casein or similar sounding words are milk products
  • Whey is a milk protein
  • Collagen and Keratin
  • Gelatin
  • Lactose
  • Lard and tallow are animal fats

Now some of these you can eat as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. However, if you plan on going vegan or giving up dairy products then it's a good idea to avoid ingredients derived from milk. Ultimately the main ingredients to avoid for vegetarians are going to be gelatin, lard, and tallow.

Veg on Veggies!

A critical part of going vegetarian is incorporating vegetables and fruits into your everyday diet. In general, the average American, doesn't get enough of these anyway. As a vegetarian, however, they should make up the larger part of your diet. A good rule of thumb is to eat a large array of colors in order to ensure proper nutrition.

The longer you remain vegetarian, as well, the more your taste will change. Soon raw meat, no matter how fresh, will begin to smell sour and unappealing. Vegetables and fruits you once hated will grow on you and you may even begin to love them. For example, before I went vegetarian, I hated bananas. I couldn't stand them. I didn't like the way they smelt, the taste was overpowering, and the texture disgusted me. Now, I eat them literally every day and I love them.

So the lesson here: Going vegetarian is an opportunity to try new things.

Try New Products

At first, it may be a little difficult to completely give up meat. Personally, I found it hard to have a meal without something like meat. I very much liked the taste, smell, and texture of meat before I gave it up. I started out by eating a lot of the same meals as I did before but by switching out meat with mock meat products. There are several brands that you can try. Here are just a few examples:

  • Gardein
  • Morning Star
  • Boca
  • Nature Life
  • Amy's

My personal favorites are Gardein, Morning Star, and Amy's. Gardein and Amy's tend to make entrees, such as orange chicken and burritos, while Morning Star makes more basic "fake meat" products, chicken patties and veggie burgers. Many long time vegetarians and vegans consider these products "junk food". That being said, there isn't any shame in eating them when first transitioning and then once you've become accustomed, reducing them to a once and a while food choice. Also, note that many of these products are NOT VEGAN as many of them contain egg as a binding agent.


Types of Vegetarian

Flexitarian: Often sticks to a vegetarian diet but will occasionally consume meat.

Lacto-Ovo : Eats dairy and egg products but not meat.

Pescetarian: Eats fish but not any other kind of meat.

Vegan: Does not eat meat, fish, or any animal products. Many may not even eat Honey as it requires "bee labor".


Keep in mind, vegetarian is a broad term. So when making the transition it is completely acceptable to call yourself vegetarian and be a mix of any of these (although I'd like to point out that flexitarians are not literal vegetarians).

Motivation

Once you've made the switch, it's incredibly important to keep motivated and not give in to midnight McDonald's cravings. This isn't a diet. It's a lifestyle. This is what you must always keep in the foremost of your mind. Even if you've made the decision to go vegetarian for health reasons--this is the most important mantra to have.

However, there are many other things you can do to keep motivated. Here are some:

  • Look up celebrity vegetarians and vegans
  • Watch vegetarian and vegan documentaries on Netflix
  • Follow vegetarian and vegan feeds on Instagram
  • Make a vegetarian board on Pinterest and pin recipes to it.
  • Make it normal to try a new recipe every week


Talk About It

This is perhaps what people hate most about vegetarians and vegans: their constant need to talk about it. Sincerely, this helps. When you discuss and address why you've made this decision to others it concretes the decision for you as well. It's okay to label yourself as such as well. It's okay to be considered a vegetarian or a vegan. Adopting it as a part of your identity makes it that much more paramount as a decision. As it becomes a part of you, it'll become less and less difficult.

I am constantly told, "I could never do that." or asked, "Is it really hard for you to stay away from meat?" Honestly, it's the easiest thing in the world. People who say they couldn't never avoid meat are really saying that they don't want to. There is nothing wrong with that but do not allow other's hesitation to discourage you from keeping with your diet choice. After a month of being vegetarian, I didn't even think about meat much. When I went out I often forgot that meat was an issue I had to tackle when ordering. It truly becomes second nature.

Ya Gotta Laugh

Lastly, learn to laugh. There will always be people who make fun of you for the decision to forego meat--especially in America. There will also be those who applaud your decision like it's the most impressive feat. Take both in stride and learn to appreciate both. They are a part of your development and growth as a person.

© 2014 Sienna Finder

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)