Becoming a Vegetarian

Ophelia Gherman, M.D.
October 13, 2016
Are you a vegetarian? If so, you have probably been asked this question multiple times: “What does a vegetarian eat?" What do you answer? Here are some good tips to mention to anyone looking into what adopting a vegetarian diet is really like. Interested, but not yet a vegetarian? Here are a few good things to do to get started!

Are you a vegetarian? If so, you have probably been asked this question multiple times: “What does a vegetarian eat?" What do you answer? Here are some good tips to mention to anyone looking into what adopting a vegetarian diet is really like. Interested, but not yet a vegetarian? Here are a few good things to do to get started!

 

While social, cultural, educational, and economic status are some of the most influential components in the choice of diet and lifestyle, at the end of the day, the individual is the one who will live with the consequences of his or her choices of lifestyle. Unfortunately, many of us wait until an illness such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or cancer presents itself to make healthier choices in our diet and lifestyle. I encourage you to wait no further. It’s time to fast-track to a healthier and more energetic you! 

 

Some of the common barriers to adopting a plant-based diet are the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables and an unfamiliarity with their versatility. Often, a vegetarian is thought to eat green salads and boiled vegetables all day. But a vast array of tasty meals can be arranged using a plant-based diet composed of four simple food groups: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.

 

Here are some simple steps to eating a healthier, wholesome diet:

 

Eliminate temptations: Out of sight, out of mind! Do a thorough cleanup of your pantry and refrigerator. Discard all processed and contraband foods away. Don't wait to adopt your new lifestyle after you've eaten everything that's in your fridge. The time is now.

 

Be adventurous: pick one or two vegetables that intrigue you and find a healthy recipe using those vegetables.  If, at first you don’t succeed, try again a couple of weeks later, but don’t give up.

 

Search for healthy alternatives to high-fat foods such as cheese, eggs, and whole milk: Pick from a variety of plant milk, such as almond, coconut, cashew, or soy milk. There are also some plant-based cheese options made from almonds and cashews that one may buy or make at home.

 

Research the health benefits of your food: Look up nutritional contents of all the new foods you are eating. This knowledge empowers you to continue on the right track.

 

Meal Plan: It’s so much easier to eat healthy if you plan your meals ahead of time. This will also cut down on the cost of groceries. Since you know what you’ll have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, your grocery list will be concise and to the point. Take left-overs to work the next day and you won’t have an excuse to hit the fast food or restaurant chains for lunch.

 

Find community: Explore different websites, blogs, and/or vlogs that discuss and encourage healthy diets and lifestyle changes and provide recipes. Being part of a community that shares vegetarianism as part of their lifestyle can be an extremely powerful thing. The Cutting Board is one YouTube channel that offers simple plant-based recipes. 

 

The next time someone asks you where to start in order to become a vegetarian, just remember the six tips above. If you have ever thought about becoming a vegetarian, why not start today?