Despite living in a family where summer backyard barbecues and annual “Meat-fests” are a normal occurrence, I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly three years. I was never a huge carnivore to begin with, but when I brought home a puppy for the first time in March of 2016, I decided I couldn’t continue to eat meat with a clear conscience. Shortly after that, I started my journey into a mainly plant based diet and have loved it ever since.
Of course it’s sometimes still a challenge (especially at family get togethers), but it’s definitely been worth the struggles. Not only has a plant based diet saved me money, it also helps to reduce the production of harmful greenhouse gases that are created throughout the raising of cattle and other livestock in the meat and dairy industries. I’m happy to support a greener environment, and my wallet thanks me for not having to buy expensive cuts of meat!
If you’re considering transitioning your lifestyle to becoming more plant-based, I’ve put together a few of my top tips to make it a success.
If you’re considering switching to a plant based diet, or are already vegetarian and thinking of becoming vegan, I’d recommend small steps to ensure an easy transition. Start by picking one meatless day per week, or even just a meal without meat and dairy to start your journey.
Track Your Protein Intake
Making sure that I eat enough protein is still something I’m getting used to, even after a few years of a vegetarian diet. Begin by finding out your recommended protein intake based on your age, weight, and activity levels. Once you’ve got your recommended daily protein intake, be sure to include plenty of nuts, beans, and meat alternatives in your diet.
Consult the Experts
I’ve had my fair share of visits to the doctors’ and nutritionists’ office over the years to make sure that I’m not lacking in any essential vitamins or nutrients, especially things like iron and B12. Deficiencies like these are common in vegans and vegetarians so it’s a good idea to consult with your own doctor before making any dietary switches, and to monitor your levels regularly to stay healthy.
Sure, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are delicious, but there’s so much more that you can experiment with to create flavourful and delicious plant-based meals. I love looking through new cookbooks and recipes to find interesting ways to cook, so I’m never bored with plain salads.
There are so many amazing resources now online or through holistic wellness centers, that it’s easier than ever to incorporate a plant based lifestyle. With a little bit of research and some creativity in the kitchen, once you start your plant-based journey you’ll never look back!