I have been vegetarian for about four years and to be honest, I found it quite easy. This is because my mum is vegetarian and I just followed along in her footsteps and I knew it was all worth it for saving the animals. But for others it probably isn’t that easy and I noticed that along the way I need to make sure that I get enough protein and iron from eating tasty substitutes to meat. So I thought I’d share with you some tips and information for being vegetarian, no matter what your reason behind it is.
Make sure you’re getting enough nutrients:
When you’re vegetarian you need to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients that you don’t get from meat. Some examples of this are iron which you can get from kale and spinach and protein which you can get from eggs and nuts. I’d also highly recommend eating meat substitutes such as vegetarian sausages or veggie patties as they are usually made to contain nutrients that you don’t get from meat. If you are really struggling to get enough nutrients then you could take tablets but it’s a lot better to just eat foods containing it, so look for foods that contain nutrients that are delicious as well.
Watch out for hidden non-vegetarian ingredients:
When I first became a vegetarian I didn’t know I had to worry about not eating things like cheese and lollies because they had animals products in them but unfortunately businesses feel the need to add in these ingredients and not clearly state their origin. Some examples are gelatine in lollies which is animal bones and rennet in cheese which is cow stomach. If you want to know more they are lots of articles on hidden non-vegetarian ingredients so you can know what you’re looking for.
– decreasing the amount of animals slaughtered for food
– reducing the demand for animal products
– reducing space needed for agriculture
– helping the environment from pollution (livestock are the biggest contributed of greenhouse gases)
– reducing deforestation (animal agriculture is a major cause of deforestation)
– studies have shown that it could decrease your chance of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer
Disadvantages (and how to deal with them):
– not being able to eat delicious meat – this is the worst part and I can assure you it will get easier as you go along. I just kept thinking that it was worth it for the animals (although it depends on your reason) and that there are other delicious, slaughter-free foods to eat.
– not a lot of options at restaurants – this can be very annoying especially when your whole family has to change the restaurant just for you (this has happened to me multiple times!) but there are usually a couple of options at restaurants that you can easily pick from (which really helped me as I suck at decision-making).
– getting asked annoying questions – I’ve experienced a lot of annoying questions about being a vegetarian and yes, it’s annoying but it’s also a great opportunity for amazing comebacks! (I’m going to create a post on this so stay tuned!)