8 tips to help you stick to your vegetarian lifestyle
HEALTHY YOUMonday, November 25, 2013
By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer
AFTER years of consuming meat, it's not going to be easy to give it all up for a strictly plant-based diet. Even if you do, you are bound to meet upon roadblocks in the form of your carnivorous friends who poke fun at your new lifestyle or the unrelenting restaurateur who disregards your request to have your dishes meatless.
If you are a newly converted vegetarian, it might help to do your research and prepare yourself mentally to be challenged. One thing is for certain, however, and that's the fact that a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is possible and will probably work out to be one of the best things you could do for your body. Nutritionist and fitness expert Donovan Grant, who has been a vegan for the past 24 years, argues that there are many benefits to going meatless.
"Although you have some vegans who have on a lot of weight, vegans generally tend to be leaner if they practise a good vegetarian lifestyle," said Grant. "Our body is not totally designed for eating meat as our digestive systems are not so long and meat was designed to come out fast."
Here are some tips to help you transition into your new lifestyle:
1. Educate yourself
Determine from early what type of vegetarian you would like to become, because this essentially will determine how you eat. Some vegetarians allow themselves to consume dairy products as well as chicken and fish, while there are those who do not eat any form of meat products. Think about what foods you want to avoid and this will help you determine the category you would like to be in.
2. Get your family and friends on board
Inform your family and friends of your decision, especially those with whom you would normally dine. They might be more understanding if they know the reason for your decision which might range from just wanting to be healthier, to wanting to safeguard the lives of animals. It would help if they consent to consuming vegetarian meals sometimes, so you wouldn't have to prepare multiple meals at home.
3. Write your list before you go shopping
Plan your menus from the weekend and then make a list of your ingredients before you go to the supermarket. Be sure to read your labels to ensure that the ingredients are in keeping with your new lifestyle.
4. Join a support group
There are several support groups online where you can go to interact with others who are already vegetarians. You can seek advise from like-minded individuals and share your success and challenges. These groups are also great places to get new recipes and seek inspiration to carry you on your journey.
5. Prepare your own meals
Plan your day to include some time to prepare meals so that you won't be tempted to eat out. If you know you won't have time to plan daily, do your cooking on the weekends, place your foods in storage containers and freeze. Also try to have something to eat before you go out to events.
6. Stick mostly to the produce aisle
Diversify your diet by stocking up on a variety of ground provisions in your produce aisle. As a vegan, your diet will now mostly consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts and other legumes such as peas and beans. You can also shop for these ingredients at places such as Coronation Market where you are likely to get them at a cheaper rate. Shopping at the market will also allow you to choose exactly what you want as opposed to having your food pre-packaged for you.
7. Experiment with recipes
Be creative and come up with unique meals by tweaking the ingredients to your favourite dishes. You can also look at meat dishes you usually enjoyed and prepare them with plant substitutes. Instead of meat, for example, you can use vegetables, mince or tofu and instead of using cow's milk, you could use coconut or almond milk. Just think about all the variety of fruit juices you can make when you get into action.
8. Don't starve yourself
Being vegan will mean that you will have to limit the types of foods you eat, but it doesn't mean you will need to starve yourself. Fruits and vegetables are less calorie dense than meat, for example, so don't be afraid to eat when you are hungry. The fact that you are vegan doesn't mean you'll have to eat a salad everyday for dinner or that you can't go to a restaurant.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login