10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Going Vegetarian

Augusta Falletta
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There are plenty of fad diets out there, but vegetarianism is a tried and true way of living for many people. Whether you get interested in becoming a vegetarian for health reasons or for the ethical aspect of it, there are a few things you should know before cutting meat out of your diet completely. Below are 10 things no one tells you about going vegetarian.

1. It can affect your energy levels: In a good or bad way, changing your diet drastically can change up your energy levels. While you’ll likely be stocking up on more energy-boosting foods like fruits and veggies, you’ll also be cutting back on protein if you don’t properly substitute protein, which can lower your energy significantly.

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2. You’ll be cooking a lot more: Unless of course you’re able to eat out for most meals, you’ll be cooking at home a lot more and, thus, packing meals to take with you during the day. It’s a bit of a time commitment, but if you’re up for it, you can learn some really great recipes and even have some fun while you’re at it.

3. Much more preparation is required: Whether you’re preparing meals for the week or making plans with friends to go to a barbecue over the weekend, think ahead about what you’ll be eating to make sure you have vegetarian options. Make lists for the grocery store before you go shopping so that you’re completely prepared.

4. You’ll need to replace protein: Some vegetarians also decide to opt out of dairy or eggs, and while these foods have protein, you’ll need to decide what kind of foods you’ll be getting your protein from. It’s an important part of keeping your energy levels up and making meals with enough protein is key to succeeding in vegetarianism.

5. Ease into it: Completely cutting meat out of your diet when you’ve eaten meat your entire life can be a bit tough. One way to ease into it? Start by cutting out red meat, then work your way towards poultry. If you also want to cut out fish, leave that to last.

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6. Don’t just eat junk food: Technically, most junk food — chips, ice cream, candy — is vegetarian, and while you can eat these foods and not be breaking your vegetarian diet, junk food won’t do you any favors in terms of giving you energy and nutrients.

7. You should let your friends and family know: You don’t need to broadcast that you’ll be going vegetarian, but you should let the people you see on a daily or weekly basis just to have a good basis of planning meals out, and of course, they can help support your choice.

8. There are a ton of online forums: There’s no need to go it alone! Join an online community like Explore Veg or Peta for tons of tips, recipes, and other resources for becoming a vegetarian.

9. You can still have your favorite meals — with substitutes: Obsessed with that one teryaki chicken recipe you have? Go ahead and make a substitution of tofu for chicken so you can still have your favorite meal, vegetarian style.

10. It’s okay to decide it’s not for you: There’s nothing wrong with trying vegetarianism and deciding it’s not for you! At least you tried something new.