Being a vegetarian isn’t for everyone, but that does not imply that it is hard. People become vegetarians for different reasons, from respecting animal life to wanting to eat healthily.
Reasons People Become Vegetarians
People become vegetarians for many reasons. Some of these reasons include:
Some people turn to vegetarianism in a bid to save the world. According to the UN, livestock generates more greenhouse gases than all the vehicles in the world. The nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide generated by manure are more than that of cars and trucks.
Farmers cut down trees to make more grazing lands for their livestock. Livestock also consumes gallons of water. Farmers use about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of beef. Livestock production uses about 30% of the world’s freshwater supply. Being a vegetarian is a step one can take towards reducing one’s carbon footprint and conserving the world’s water.
Some people become vegetarians after learning about the inhumane way livestock animals are treated. Some of these treatments would be considered illegal if done to a dog or a cat. Livestock animals aren’t less intelligent than our furry friends, and they feel pain too.
Many of these animals are reared in crowded spaces, and antibiotics that promote weight gain are administered to them. They are slaughtered, most times, violently. Some are slaughtered for their meat while they are young. People who believe these practices occur choose a vegetarian lifestyle for ethical reasons.
Certain religions like Buddhism and Hinduism frown on violence and killing animals. A vegetarian lifestyle spiritually fulfills such people
According to some research, vegetarians have a 24% lower risk of dying of heart disease than non-vegetarians. This is no surprise because vegetarian diets tend to have lower cholesterol and saturated fat.
Regularly consuming diets that contain fruits and vegetables also reduces the risk of getting cancers like prostate cancer, skin cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer. The health benefit of joining the vegetarian team is one reason why some people embrace the vegetarian lifestyle.
Some people become vegetarians to ease their financial burden. Meat is an excellent source of protein, but it’s an expensive one. Vegetarians combine proteins from grain products and plants and get essential amino acids. This is less expensive.
Types of Vegetarian Diets
As a vegetarian, you can decide to eliminate all animal products from your diet or decide to keep some. It is advisable to choose a plan suitable to your daily lifestyle. There is a wide range of vegetarian eating habits, and they include:
- Flexitarian vegetarianism. Let’s just say that when you put “flexible” and “vegetarian” together, what you get is flexitarian. Flexitarian vegetarians have a mostly vegetarian diet but occasionally consume animal-based products. Their diet is primarily plant-based but they occasionally include meat.
- Lacto vegetarianism. Lacto vegetarians abstain from consuming meat, seafood, and eggs but are okay with consuming dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, e.t.c.
- Ovo vegetarianism. Ovo vegetarians abstain from all animal-based foods except eggs. They do not consume meat, seafood, or dairy products but are fine consuming eggs.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarianism. Lacto-Ovo vegetarians’ diet excludes meat, seafood, fish, and poultry but includes dairy and eggs. The diet is a combination of Lacto vegetarianism and ovo vegetarianism and is the most common type of vegetarianism.
- Veganism. Vegans abstain from the use and consumption of all animal-based products. They also don’t consume animal by-products such as honey and gelatin.
Is being a Vegetarian Hard?
The truth is, vegetarianism isn’t for everyone. Someone who is a die-hard lover of meat may find it more challenging to adapt to a vegetarian lifestyle. We believe it is essential you become a vegetarian for the right reasons. Adopting a vegetarian diet wouldn’t be all that hard if you have a strong reason and purpose.
Changing your way of life requires motivation to continue. If you don’t have the motivation, then it’s only a matter of time before you go back to consuming animal-based products. A solid reason for being a vegetarian will give you enough motivation to continue being one.
You might have a clear purpose for being a vegetarian, but you may be doing it wrong. For example, you might not be eating enough protein. Don’t only cut food from your diet; make healthy substitutions.
Tips for Becoming a Vegetarian
Contrary to public opinion, vegetarianism is not a lifestyle of harsh restrictions. It’s also not a demanding lifestyle to adopt. To be a vegetarian with little or no trouble, here are some tips.
- Read. Reading as much as possible about vegetarianism will help you a long way. Check out books on vegetarianism. There are also tons of sites and articles at your disposal.
- Have good reasons. It is vital to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle for the right reasons. You probably won’t be a vegetarian for long if you’re a vegetarian-only because you think it’s cool. Have a good reason and see how easy it is to be a vegetarian.
- Take it one step at a time. Diving head-on into vegetarianism might be too much for you. We highly suggest you gradually transition into the lifestyle. Some people don’t, and it works for them. To gradually transition into the lifestyle, you may stop eating meat for a month. And the next month, stop eating other animal-based products.
- Try new recipes and use substitutes. You can get great recipes for vegetarian diets online. We add recipes here regularly. Try one new recipe a week. Once you have six to eight vegetarian recipes, you’re good to go. Also, use meatless substitutions in place of meat. Instead of mincemeat, go for lentils. Go for Quorn fillets instead of chicken fillets.
- Get enough protein. You can be vegetarian and get enough protein. The world of proteins does not start and end with meat. Eating diets that include vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and others will give you sufficient protein.
There are loads of other things you can do to make your vegetarian journey easier. Remember to have a good reason for being a vegetarian, get adequate protein at all times, and have fun on your vegetarian journey! Don’t think of it as an ordeal; if you do, you might find it hard to adapt to the lifestyle and not last long.