Every day there are more people who, well aware of the environment, their health or for other reasons, decide to take the plunge and convert to a vegetarian diet.
It is undoubtedly an excellent alternative, but always bearing in mind that it must be well planned so that we do not lack energy or micronutrients ( vitamins and minerals ).
Therefore, if you want to make the change to a vegetarian or vegan diet, I propose 10 easy steps to start:
- Be aware or aware
Being a vegetarian is not only a type of diet. It is a lifestyle that requires motivation . Think about whether you are at the right time and if so, surely you are ready to take the step.
- Be well advised or advised
Information is always important. Today we can find all kinds of information on the networks and much of it contradictory. Get informed and consult with specialists (nutritionists), who will adapt the diet for you and will make this transition easy and do not give up because you feel lost.
- Cover the macronutrient requirements
One of the biggest fears when we switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet is knowing if we are going to be able to get to the amount of protein necessary to meet our needs. Don’t worry about this, there are not only proteins in the animal world. Legumes and soy derivatives will be your allies and well-planned diet you do not have to have deficiencies.
The rest of macronutrients (fats and carbohydrates) are much easier to cover, but we should not overlook the quality and quantity of energy that we will need according to the characteristics of each individual.
- Pay attention to vitamins and minerals
Detractors of the vegetarian diet will tell you that you may have iron and calcium deficiencies. But do not worry, a diet with plenty of fruits, legumes, seeds and nuts will help you maintain adequate levels.
We just have to be careful with vitamin B12 . In this case, to meet the necessary requirements, it will be essential to resort to a supplement (the only one that will have to be taken), since through the foods of the plant world we will not be able to achieve them.
- Delete processed products
Like an omnivorous diet, ultra-processed foods are not going to be good travel companions.
Soft drinks, (vegetarian) cookies, pizzas, vegan burgers can contain large amounts of low quality sugars and fats that can harm your health. Get used to reading the nutrition labeling .
- Plan ahead
Planning your meals will help you maintain a varied diet without making the mistake of repeating the same recipes over and over again.
You can also make a good shopping list that will allow you to save and buy local and seasonal products and thus take care of the planet.
- Meet again with the kitchen
It is true that in Spain we have not had much culture regarding the vegetarian diet. That is why you are going to have to start experimenting in the kitchen. Therefore, I recommend that you devour books, blogs and networks where you can find delicious recipes.
You can even transform traditional recipes into vegetarian ones.
- Do “batch cooking”
Consider once a week to make the most expensive recipes or the basic preparations ( batch cooking ) so that the rest of the week it is only to mix food or “tune” them. For example, if you prepare some lentil burgers you can make more and freeze to have more resources for other days.
- Tell your friends and family
Sometimes it can seem like a headache, either because they may be worried (many people have the strong belief that it is not a proper diet for misinformation) or because they disagree with your decision. The truth is that you will have family meals, outings to restaurants and if they know they will always look for the most suitable options for you.
- Make the transition as you prefer
You can make the change in the way that is most comfortable for you. You can start by removing red meat, then white meat, and then fish and seafood.
Even if you see that it is feasible, you can make the change directly, but as long as you feel comfortable and happy with your decision.
A vegetarian diet is a lifestyle and change may not happen overnight, take the time you need, educate yourself properly, and enjoy a healthy and environmentally friendly life.