Earlier this year I wrote a popular article on How to Become a Vegetarian, which were tips form my own journey on converting from non-veg to vegetarianism. I am now a happy vegetarian, so those guidelines worked well for me, but the article sparked contributions from others from their own journey’s, which had some very useful advice as well. So today I would like to share the 15 tips from another such successful vegetarian convert, Ellen, and if you are interested in how to be a vegetarian, her tips and guidelines presented below are sure to help you out as well.
Before I jump ahead though I want to briefly touch upon why from a spiritual point of view it is valuable to be vegetarian. Although there are numerous benefits and reasons to be vegetarian, including the likes of caring, compassion, health, etc., the biggest reason from a meditative perspective is sensitivity.
In Monday’s article, What is Mindfulness? I discussed the importance of mindfulness for Self Realization and how it’s practice leads to a brain which is highly intelligent and sensitive. What we need to realize is that the food we consume also contributes to the level of sensitivity of the body and brain. From the perspective of a meditative life, sensitivity to the moment and sharp awareness of the thinking process is of highest importance, and a vegetarian diet promotes a brain which is then more capable of such sensitivity. It helps in the development of an organism that is light, fresh, energetic and sensitive.
More on the benefits of vegetarianism in a future article, for now I would like to continue with the tips for those who are trying to be vegetarian.
15 Tips of How to Be a Vegetarian
This advise comes from Ellen in response to my original article on vegetarianism. Below that I have included some more feedback from others as well, which should also be useful for those searching on ways to be a vegetarian.
Ellen in author of the website Beat Blood Pressure Naturally (http://beatbloodpressure.wordpress.com/), where she gives nutritional, dietary and other information on how to alleviate this condition.
I have been a vegetarian for almost 15 years, but had some meat interludes in between. Now I am going towards raw food and vegan, which is as difficult for me as it is for others to become a vegetarian.
Out of my personal experience, but also with my patients there are a few keys I found crucial to become a vegetarian:
- Do not force yourself, it will backfire. Take it slowly all the time. Do not feel guilty if you have meat, the transition is more of a mental process.
- Get educated on vegetarian food. Vegetarian dishes are so much more “haute cuisine” than regular crap in restaurants.
- Never be satisfied with an ordinary salad or a broccoli dish. This is punishment.
- Savoring vegetarian dishes should be a delight.
- Smell different fruits, get to know fruits and vegetables which you did not know before. Buy the Ferrari among them. How about asparagus with basil and strawberries?
- The taste for meat only stems from the combination of heated fat and salt. If you had to eat it the way it is you would leave it alone.
- You can eat any traditional meal (dumplings, red cabbage, sauce) without meat. It is still tasty.
- Celery beats are great replacements for meat, when sliced and baked the way you would prepare meat.
- Do not buy meat replacement made of soy. It is an insult to taste buds and full of crap!
- If you have to eat meat, do not punish yourself, but visualize all the time what it is. It is not just a nice red package. It is the sum of a cruel journey of a living creature. Stress hormones, tranquilizers, antibiotics are still part of what you just take for a steak.
- Get involved with people to cook jointly vegetarian meals, it is fun. We do have potlucks here for raw food.
- Finally, here is a great site for vegetarian recipes: www.theveggietable.com.
- As a yogi student you will notice how your body, your joints, your concentration all benefit from fruits and veggies.
- There is always something vegetarian in restaurants you can eat. In good restaurants you can even ask for a special creation. I once even went to “Babes” (pure Steakhouse in the US) and had a piece of corn with another side dish, delicious!
- Use spices and experiment yourself. The Arabic cuisine and the Indian cuisine have lots of vegetarian dishes.
Most of all, enjoy! Bon appetit!
More Advice on How to Be a Vegetarian:
I agree in going slowly, and am trying to phase out meat myself. Going vegetarian for me means actually being, for the most part, vegan (I have a dairy allergy). I can give up most meat readily, but I still have a love of a good steak. The other day, though, I was making a beef stew and thinking about the animal as I was cutting up the meat. The stew smelled wonderful, but as I ate it all I could taste was “dead”.
Satya On Becoming a Vegetarian:
The only thing you need is Love. Love for animals.
Leaving such things will automatically come when someone does meditation.
Just Love and Meditation is enough to quit such things. May it be meat or drinks or smoke.
Chris’s Advice on Vegetarianism:
I have been a vegetarian since 20 years now.
I became one because through all the reading I had done at that time, it became obvious that to “advance” in ones “journey” one has to live a life of “ahimsa” (The principle of nonviolence toward all living things)
The mistake I made 20 years back was that I quit from one day to the next, not knowing anything about vegetarianism. I gained quite some weight at the time, and back then I didn’t even know that most cheeses are not vegetarian.
I think every person is different, and everybody has their “path” towards vegetarianism. Some people need to go to a slaughter house or see a horrible video about that.
I did not need those pictures to become vegetarian, I did need this “reminder” though to become vegan… (I am 99% vegan)
What ever it takes to “wake-up” is good, I think… A good book, meditation, shocking pictures or videos, a good honest talk with a vegetarian friend…. The goal is all worth it…
How to Be a Vegetarian Summary:
So I hope all the advise from those that have successfully converted to vegetarianism helps you in your own transition. There are lots of great tips and information above and of course discussing the benefits of vegetarianism will be inspiring as well, and I will be publishing an article on that in the near future.
If you are a vegetarian yourself, from birth or a convert, we would love to hear your tips and advise as well, and I am sure it will be appreciated by those trying to become vegetarian themselves.