5 First Steps to Becoming Vegetarian for Beginners – Changing a lifestyle to become a vegetarian is not easy. You have to make various adjustments to really get used to the new diet. Your success in becoming a vegetarian is also determined by the way you start.
How to become a vegetarian for beginners
Here are some simple tips for those of you who want to become a vegetarian:
1. Know the types of vegetarians
Being vegetarian does not only mean avoiding animal foods and eating only fruits and vegetables. Depending on the type of vegetarian diet that is followed, you can still consume several types of animal food.
Whatever method you use to become a vegetarian will be more effective if you understand the types of vegetarians. Among them:
- Ovo vegetarian: do not eat animal food, except eggs.
- Lacto vegetarian: does not eat animal food, except milk and its products.
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarians: do not eat animal food, except eggs, milk, and its products.
- Pesco vegetarian/pescatarian: the only animal food consumed is fish.
- Vegetarian pollo: the only animal food eaten is poultry.
- Vegan: do not eat red meat, poultry meat, fish, milk, eggs, or other animal food ingredients and their products.
2. Exchange animal food ingredients with alternatives
This is a surefire way for those of you who want to be vegetarian, but don’t want to leave your favorite dish. You do this by replacing ingredients and animal products with alternative ingredients from vegetable sources.
Here are some alternatives that you can use:
- Red meat, poultry or fish are replaced with tofu, tempeh, seitan (artificial meat), mushrooms, and jackfruit.
- Beef or chicken broth is replaced with vegetable or mushroom broth.
- Cow’s milk is replaced by soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and milk from rice.
- The cheese is replaced with soybeans, cashews, or yeast mushrooms.
3. Pay close attention to food packaging labels
Vegetable food is not only available in the form of meat, eggs or milk. You also need to look at other ingredients listed on food packaging labels. This method will greatly help your success to become a vegetarian.
Pay attention to food packaging labels that you want to consume. Unless you are a Lacto vegetarian, ingredients that you need to avoid include:
- Honey on processed foods, tea, or beauty products
- Gelatin or collagen in chewy gum and marshmallows
- Whey and casein in cheese, bread, candy and coffee creamer
- L-cysteine in bread and cakes
4. Fulfilling nutritional needs
Applying a vegetarian diet can maintain heart health and reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. However, you are also at risk of experiencing a deficiency of vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids that are found in many animal foods.
People who want to become vegetarians must understand very well how to meet their nutritional needs that cannot be obtained from vegetable protein. You can get vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids through supplements or foods that have been fortified with these nutrients.
5. Make a simple menu
Another obstacle for people who want to become vegetarian is difficult to find dishes that do not contain animal food. As a solution, you can make your own simple menu from vegetable ingredients.
Here are a few sample menus that you can try:
- Breakfast: oatmeal with fruits and flaxseed, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and mushrooms, or avocado-filled toast and vegetables
- Lunch: salad, potato, and fried sweet potato, or tempeh burger
- Dinner: rice and curry stuffed with peas, rolled tortillas filled with vegetables and beans, or sauteed eggplant with parmesan cheese (for vegetarian Lacto)
There are many ways you can do to become a vegetarian. Choose the method that best suits your daily habits. This will facilitate changes in diet slowly.
Every change takes time, so you don’t need to rush. Start by replacing some animal foods with alternatives. Over time, you will become more accustomed to planting foods.