There are many reasons people adopt a vegetarian diet; some do it for a healthier lifestyle because they want to avoid the harmful hormones used in animal products. Others do it for religious, health benefits, animal rights, or interest in reducing their impact on the planet. Regardless of why you might choose to be vegetarian, if you consider making that change, it is a good one. There are many benefits to becoming a vegetarian, but it is also not easy to adjust. With the right tools and knowledge, we can help you make the transition easier.
The first thing to consider is that there are many types of a vegetarian diet.
- Lacto-Ovo- vegetarians that eat both eggs and dairy products
- Lacto- Vegetarians that eat dairy products but not eggs
- Ovo- Vegetarians that eat eggs but not dairy products
- Fishitarian: Eat fish but not dairy products
Some of the health benefits of having a vegetarian diet is
- By adding more legumes, nuts, veggies, and fruits to your diet, your heart will thank you! Eating foods that are high in fibre reduces the risk of cancer.
- Animal products increase the risk of cancer.
- If you choose low glycemic foods, it can prevent type 2 diabetes and any associated complications and lower blood sugar levels.
- It reduces asthma symptoms.
Many people who have shifted their diets believe that the change made them feel empowered and healthier; that is another benefit you can consider. We asked a dear friend close to Inwit about how he embarked on his vegetarian diet. Here is his advice:
Were you always a vegetarian?
No, I was not always a vegetarian. I decided to become one when I was 14 years old. In my grade 9 English class, we watched a documentary that stood out to me. Initially, I started off as a pescatarian to make it easy. Still, later on, I became entirely vegetarian, and I believe it is the best decision I have made for me.
What has helped your journey along the way?
The best answer is to take it slow. I started by cutting away meat products and focusing on reducing one animal protein or allowing one. For me, it was fish. I took it in baby steps, but once you get comfortable and used to that, it is time for the next big thing. I would also recommend finding like-minded people. It doesn’t necessarily have to be physical people in front of you, even if they are online social media accounts that keep encouraging you every step.
What were some challenges? And how did you overcome them?
The challenges were being tempted, especially when dining out. It was a little complicated because I came from a heavy meat lovers family and enjoyed eating meat. I would suggest at least going to restaurants with more options for your diet to make it easier. Once you are not so tempted, you can go on and have fun at all places and stay strong.
What keeps you choosing a plant-based diet?
I have seen my body, mind and soul change for the better. I can’t describe all the benefits: I have cured the hormonal acne that I have been struggling with for years, I feel more energized, and I feel like I am doing something big for the world. Even if I cannot donate money to animal activist programs, or specific charities, I am showing my support to the world overall by being a vegetarian. I recommend people try this for a day, a week, or even a month.
Now we have some tips for people who want to become vegetarian and embark on this journey:
- Take it baby steps. Add more grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits to your diet, and start eliminating meat from one or two meals a week or leave the meat out of one meal every day. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can move at your own pace and make adjustments as necessary.
- Adapt family-favourite recipes with meat-free products such as soy crumbles or veggie sausage. Browse around for small recipes so you can resist temptation and know how to curb any meat cravings that you might have. Invest in some delicious recipe books, and even follow some vegetarian accounts on social media so you don’t feel alone and feel like you are part of a community.
- Explore global cuisines, particularly those in which vegetarian dishes are standard fare, such as African, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Middle Eastern, and Thai.
- Read labels carefully to search for “hidden” animal-derived ingredients, like rennet, gelatin, or gum base. These will need some research, so make sure to do it and understand where all sneaky outliers in the ingredients list lie.
- Experiment with different plant-based dishes, and show them to your friends. You can even encourage them to hop on this journey with you.
- Talk to your doctor or dietitian to see if you need to take a vitamin-mineral supplement. This is very important as meat consumption still provides specific minerals and vitamins, but with a doctor’s help, you can find it in other ways through plant-based foods.
What about you? Do you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet? Have you transitioned, or are you exploring the idea? We hope this blog post helped you to discover new ways to embrace a plant-based diet, and if you have more tips, please share them with us in the comments. 🙂