How to Become a Vegetarian (and Not Rip Out): 5 Important Steps

We don’t know why you want to stop eating meat and generally adjust your diet (and in no case do not impose this idea on you). But if you have decided to become a vegetarian, the instruction from The Challenger and Olesya Bespurstova, project manager of No Plastic. It’s Fantastic, will help you not to break down and not to abandon your idea halfway.

1.Do not change your diet sharply

If you have eaten meat, fish and dairy products throughout your life, then a sharp rejection of them and strict diet restriction is unlikely to make you happy. Often, the results of this approach are stress and breakdowns. It is better to act more carefully and turn vegetarianism into your lifestyle gradually.

Olesya Bespurstova

– I highly recommend not to introduce strict restrictions on the diet at once when switching to vegetarianism, veganism. This can cause severe stress. Eat more vegetables, try to learn more about a variety of food and healthy products. Be patient, many people have to go on a vegan or vegetarian diet for years, and this is normal.

Start small, for example, exclude only red meat from the diet. Leave chicken and turkey in your daily menu. Try to follow this principle for a month or even more. Take your time, but if you feel comfortable, move on to the next step.

2. Give up all types of meat

And again, act consistently, but do not rush. For example, start with one day without meat per week. You can join the international movement Meatless Monday – people around the world believe that this way they improve their health and take care of the planet.

When you feel that you are ready to completely eliminate meat from your diet, do so. But let all kinds of fish remain in your menu.

Olesya Bespurstova

– In my case, the rejection of meat was very easy and natural. I was on vacation in Asia and there I practically did not eat meat, just because the food is nourishing and difficult to digest is not what you need in the heat. At first, I stopped eating red meat, and after a couple of months I stopped eating white meat. I left in my diet only fish and seafood. I have not eaten meat for more than three years, and I do not want to.

The practice of yoga strengthened my refusal from meat very much – I got carried away by ashtanga yoga, and non-violence became an important principle of life for me. After that I also gave up unjustified use and disposable things.

3. Gradually exclude fish from your diet

First, the one that resembles red meat in structure, such as tuna. Then all other fish species. Many people, who later became vegans or vegetarians, spent months or even years in the first or second stage.

If you feel that you are not ready to abandon the fish, go back a step back. Perhaps you need more time.

4. Leave your favorite foods in the diet

If you want to eat eggs or drink milk, leave these products in your diet. Gradually look for an alternative. For example, instead of cow’s milk, try rice milk, pumpkin milk or almond milk. A drink made of oatmeal can be a useful and easy substitute for cow’s milk (how to cook it at home – read in this material).

Perhaps over time, you will like the taste of vegetable milk even more than the taste of a product of animal origin. By the way, with vegetable milk you can make very tasty smoothies and even coffee (here you can find the recipe for a coconut bru recipe).

Olesya Bespurstova

– How we eat, which foods we choose has a strong impact on our planet’s resources. The production of meat and milk requires a huge amount of resources, these products have a high carbon footprint.

I try to choose products with low carbon footprint – local seasonal vegetables, berries, fruits.

  1. Make the menu varied

It would be a mistake to take vegetarianism only as a diet restriction. Take the opportunity to expand your palette of flavors, try new products that you have not noticed before, discover new dishes.

Olesya Bespurstova

– I was helped to diversify the menu by cereals with high protein content (by the way, they turned out to be very tasty): quinoa, green buckwheat, as well as chickpea, lentils, mash. Before all this was not on my menu, now it is part of my daily diet.

I am very fond of cheese oils, my favorites are hemp and avocado oil. Vegetable milk is just a discovery for me, almond and rice and coconut butter are the most delicious. Looking for products with Organic certificates (there is a mark about it on the package), I am glad that now finding such products in Russia is not a problem.

Now my menu has become really diverse, I try new products and dishes, and before that most often ate only meat with side dishes. My diet is very rich in fruits, berries and greenery. And the brightest discovery from the vegan menu is the aged cashew cheese. I tried it in Bali and in Europe – incredibly delicious!

Learn how to cook hummus, add it together with pomegranate and mint to cauliflower, make crispy chips from vegetables or make vegetarian shish kebab. Make sure that the diet is varied, rich in vitamins and healthy micronutrients, protein and fiber, so that the calorie content of the daily menu is sufficient.