7 Tips on Becoming a Vegetarian

How to Be Vegetarian

Becoming a Vegetarian

Eating fruits and vegetables are good for you, there is no denying that and regardless of whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian the more fruits and vegetables you can include in your diet the healthier you will be and the longer you will live.  There is also of course the desire of many to be pure vegetarians for a variety of other reasons and there are plenty of discussions on the web regarding this debate, so that is not what I am going to discuss in this article.  In this article I am going to give you tips on how to go from being a meat eater to a vegetarian, if that is indeed a change you have decided to make.

Previously in the article Healthy Eating Guide, I went over 11 important guidelines on how to eat.  Those eating tips will go a long way in helping you maximize the benefits of food, and will make eating a positive, energizing and healing activity for you.  Regardless of whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, I suggest paying close attention to those guidelines and incorporating them into your daily eating habits.

Now for those looking to convert to vegetarianism and for those struggling to do so, here are 7 valuable tips to help you make this transition successfully.  For those who are curious, yes I am a convert myself, I grew up eating meat and am now a vegetarian.  I am well aware of the challenges in making this change and so have some special insight in helping you do so as well :-).

7 Tips on Becoming Vegetarian:

1.  Cut Meat in Phases:

The body is a very delicately balanced system and sudden drastic changes are not always easy for it to adjust to.  If you have been a life long meat eater, the body has oriented itself to digesting meat and giving it up overnight might not be something the body is prepared to do.  Furthermore, since meat has been a part of your meals, you might not know of many vegetarian options either.  So make the transition over time.

I suggest, first giving up all red meat, as that is the worst for you health and giving up red meat, still leaves you with other healthier choices as you march towards becoming a total vegetarian.

Next give up the white meats (chicken, turkey, etc) and just stick to seafood.  Here you can include any seafood you like.

Before becoming pure vegetarian, there is still another step I recommend you take, which is to then give up all seafood except for fish.  Here you can restrict yourself to just salmon if you like.  Many people find this to be a good compromise and from a research point of view, this is quite a healthy place to be as well.

Finally, if you are determined to not kill animals and other forms of complex life, now is the time to give up fish as well, and just become pure vegetarian. 

For those who are interested in giving up eggs as well, they can either move to unfertilized eggs from free roaming hens, or move towards giving up eggs as well (Note: The eggs you normally get at the store are unfertilized, but you might not wish to be an accomplice to how those hens are treated).

2. Go Vegetarian When Life is Good:

Food is a great source of pleasure and stimulation for many, and the primary reason for eating meat is that it tastes good.  So if you are going to deny yourself this pleasure, do it at a time when your life is full of other joys and stimulation.  If you try to give up meat at a time when things are already tough for you, chances are you will fail to sustain being vegetarian.

This thinking is in line with Buddha’s teaching of not overloading the ox cart.  In other words, don’t take on more challenges and difficulties than you can handle.  Giving up meat is a big sacrifice to those who eat it.  It is not easy to do, especially if you have been eating it all your life, so ensure you pick a time to do this when your life is bubbling with other good things.  It will be much easier then to handle this sacrifice.

3. Make Lifestyle Changes:

Chances are that eating out will offer less choices and be less attractive if you switch to becoming vegetarian.  This is especially true in the West and other areas where vegetarianism is a relatively new phenomenon.  So you need to be prepared to give yourself some more veggie options.  If you can cook your own food, there is nothing like it, but if you have to eat out then you will need to explore new venues and restaurants.  Speak to veggie friends and family members to get their reviews and favorites to get you going.

If you are a single guy, just go ahead and marry a vegetarian who is a good cook .  I am kidding of course, but speaking from experience having Trupti who is a vegetarian and cooks very well, has certainly made this transition easier for me.  The key point here is that if both partners are vegetarian then it is easier to convert.

4. Prepare and Plan:

In your daily routine I think you will be able to maintain being a vegetarian relatively easily, but if you are a meat eater then you could face challenges when you travel or take vacations.  Options on the road can be woefully limited and there is a limit to how much pizza and french fries you can eat.  So for trips and vacations you need to learn from the older generation and learn to pack veggie food for the road.

In the same way, if your options for lunch at work offer very little in the way of vegetarian options, you may need to bring food from home.  At the end of the day, this is actually not a bad thing, as you will end up not just eating healthier, but also saving some money.

5. No Cheating:

Once you have made the switch, don’t make exceptions until being a vegetarian has become second nature to it.  At which point, it is unlikely you will need to make an exception anyway.  Just being non-veg for this vacation, or when you go to parties, or when you go out to eat, or just this one time since the chicken biryani smells so good, is generally going to derail the whole effort.

So one you decide to phase out certain meats and once you have switched over, don’t compromise.  Show some willpower and control over your taste buds and stay the course you have set for yourself.

6. Do Yoga and Meditation:

If you are trying to be vegetarian, you will find that yoga and meditation practice help you in achieving this goal.  This is because such practice refines your energy and makes your entire system more sensitive.  In this refined state, the old desire to consume animal flesh and animal parts sometimes just vanishes.  Also, once your sensitivity increases, eating meat will tend to affect you emotionally, making you sad, and that too will help you on your journey to vegetarianism. Play best gun games site.

You can check out our free online yoga and meditation classes as a starting point.

7. Watch Food Industry Documentaries or Visit a Slaughter House:

If the intelligent approach to becoming vegetarian is not working, then go ahead and watch a movie on the food industry.  I hear Food, Inc is pretty shocking.  For more drastic measures, go ahead and visit a slaughter house or chicken processing plant.  It is easier to eat meat when we distance ourselves from the animals who are killed to supply us their flesh, but I have a feeling getting closer to the action will have a shock value that may be just want you need to make that final push to becoming and staying a vegetarian.

I also suspect that if you are trying to help your children be vegetarian, such an approach might be useful, although as I have not seen the movie or visited a slaughter house I am hesitant on making the recommendation in case it is too disturbing for young, innocent hearts.

Summary of How to Be Vegetarian:

One thing I would like to say with regard to becoming vegetarian is that if you try and fail, don’t beat yourself up over it.  Just try again once you have gathered more strength.  Judging yourself harshly for not being able to give up meat is just more violence and serves no good purpose.  Just go ahead and try again.

If you have converted to vegetarianism please do share your tips with others in the comments section below.  If you eat non-veg and would like to discuss challenges you face in converting please feel free to discuss those below as well.

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18 replies
  1. Sonya
    Sonya says:

    Hi Anmol Thank you so much for these great tips how to give up meat in phases! This article has been so helpful to me, at the moment I am only eating fish and seafood which I find is the most challenging way of giving up meat so I might be stuck at this phase for a while, before becoming a complete vegetarian- thank you! Sonya

    Reply
  2. Gita
    Gita says:

    Dear friends, Brahmakumaris are vegetarian… and emphasize the importance of keeping thoughts pure… when preparing food… they either enhance or decrease the vibes of what we eat…thus affecting our health… vegetarian lifestyle is also more conducive to achieving total peace of mind.
    There is Brahmakumaris meditation…that relaxes the mind…nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds…recharge… rejuvenate the inner-self…

    Reply
  3. Chris from Healthy Vegetarian Diet
    Chris from Healthy Vegetarian Diet says:

    Namaste Anmol and to all who have posted here,

    I liked your article, and all the posts are great!

    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…

    Reply
  4. noreen
    noreen says:

    Anmol,
    I’ve just been figuring out how to navigate around your website and finding new and interesting articles on many of your postings. About meat, It does my constitution some good, I do not consume it very often and I’m more prone to consuming it like most Asians and that is 10 to 20 percent of my meal.
    I often go days without eating meat. I’m working towards total elimination, but I still crave it sometimes. As I go through your course, learn more and adapt to a healthier lifestyle, I applaud your work. I try to eat as little meat as possible and as I improve on my vegetarian cooking, I hope to eliminate meat all together. Thank you for you and your wife’s good works and I enjoy seeing your family in the video’s. I support you all the way, and keep up your good work. noreen

    Reply
  5. Rozanna
    Rozanna says:

    Namaste Anmol and thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences.
    I too became a vegetarian approximately 25 years ago when I started feeling guilty every time I ate meat, as if I were betraying the animals I claimed to love.
    Being a vegetarian in South Africa is a challenge as our society is largely conservative and not open to new ideas. Eating out at restaurants is frustrating as the general options for vegetarians is salads (Greek, Italian or Beetroot, etc) or pizza (Regina). The biggest challenge though is the “hidden” dangers. By this I mean processed foods such as yogurt, cheese, biscuits and many sweets that contain ingredients that are animal based.
    In South Africa most of our yoghurts contain gelatine that is listed on the label as a ‘stabiliser’ and the same applies to sweets, such as peppermints and other hardboiled sweets.
    As Sonja also mentioned many cheeses contain rennet that is derived from animals and it is only recently in this country that cheese made with non-animal rennet has become available. Again though many cheeses imported from Europe do not state on the label whether rennet is used and what kind it is.
    Another unknown ingredient I discovered when eating out is that many chefs use either beef or chicken stock for making soups so even if you order a veggie soup, there is a good chance you’ll be served something that is not 100% veggie.
    Some years ago we had to contend with biscuits, or as you Americans say, cookies that were made with marine fat. This practice though proved unsuccessful and was eventually phased out, fortunately.
    The bottom line though is to remember that when you become a vegetarian to read all labels when buying processed foods and if you have any doubts about what you are buying, pick up the phone and ask the manufacturers for more details. I have found that they are usually helpful and friendly once they know your reason for asking.

    Again Anmol thank you and to all the would-be veggies out there, I wish you strength and fortitude, it is worth it.
    Love and light to all,
    Rozanna

    Reply
  6. Leilah
    Leilah says:

    eeg machine, AH the infamous vibrations. Normally, these vibrations take place in the midst of the “out of body” experience. Sometimes, people even feel as if their bodies are paralyzed. No, you should not be concerned. It is a natural process, something that I find to be heightened when I meditate more regularly. Try a quick search in google with ‘vibrations’ and ‘out of body’ and you’ll see there’s quite a lot written on this topic. Nothing to fear here though, I can tell you from personal experience it is really excellent stuff ;)

    Reply
  7. Sonja
    Sonja says:

    I would just like to make a comment for vegetarians out there. Cheese is not necessarily vegetarian. Check out rennet. I always feel bad, working in a restaurant, when vegetarians order the cheese. I’ve tried educating, but people tend to feel attacked so I’ve learned to shut my mouth. Not all cheese uses animal rennet, but many do.

    Reply
  8. eeg machine
    eeg machine says:

    I am new to meditation. I have been practicing Japa meditation for about a month now. I began meditating as a way to relax me before I go to sleep. I have insomnia. I really began to enjoy the experience and so I do 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. Today I had a very unusual experience. About 15 minutes into the meditation I began to experience something through my body. The only way I can explain it is that my body was “vibrating” from the inside out. It was not a shaking or a shivering as when you are very cold. It was a physical sensation that I have not experienced in my life. I am 57 years old. I was not imagining it. It was a real physical sensation. It was as if my whole body was vibrating. I opened my eyes but I could not see my body moving. It began to concern me and it eventually stopped. Is this normal? Should I be concerned? Has anyone else had this experience? Can anyone tell me what this might be?

    Reply
  9. Cristina
    Cristina says:

    Namaste Anmol,
    I agree with everything you have written. It is very similar to my own thought-process and experiences right now as I try to stay vegetarian. I disagree with Satya, I do not think any of what you have written is “bullshit” and anyone who is a vegetarian can say that they once craved meat. No matter how you put it, there are no other techniques than the ones outlined…plain and simple :)

    Reply
  10. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Dear Satya,

    I left because of love for animals :-). Thank you for sharing your thoughts, others have left due to other reasons. It’s all good.

    Love and Light,
    Anmol

    Reply
  11. Robin
    Robin says:

    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”. I am not concerned with finding the right protein and amino acid mix as I have been using vegan cookbooks for six years (since I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy). I looked at my dairy allergy at the time as an albatross, but it is leading me toward a kinder (to quote alicia silverstone) way of eating, and one day soon I hope to say that I am meat free. Thanks for the tips, the support, and the caring! Peace.

    Reply
  12. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Namaste Anmol,

    Thank you for your nice article.
    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 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:

    a) 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.
    b) Get educated on vegetarian food. Vegetarian dishes are so much more “haute cuisine” than regular crap in restaurants.
    c) Never be satisfied with an ordinary salad or a broccoli dish. This is punishment.
    d) Savouring vegetarian dishes should be a delight.
    e) 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.
    f) 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.
    g) You can eat any traditional meal (dumplings, red cabbage, sauce) without meat. It is still tasty.
    h) Cellery beats are great replacements for meat, when sliced and baked the way you would prepare meat.
    i) Do not buy meat replacement made of soy. It is an insult to tastebuds and full of crap!
    j) 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, tranqualizers, antibiotics are still part of what you just take for a steak.
    k) Get involved with people to cook jointly vegetarian meals, it is fun. We do have potlucks here for rawfood.
    l) Finally, here is a great site for vegetarian recipes: http://www.theveggietable.com
    m) As a yogi student you will notice how your body, your joints, your concentration all benefit from fruits and veggies.
    n) 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!
    o) Use spices and experiment yourself. The Arabic cuisine and the Indian cuisine have lots of vegetarian dishes.

    Most of all, enjoy! Bon appetit!

    Love,

    Ellen

    Reply
  13. Satya
    Satya says:

    It’s all bullshit. You are teaching how to leave meat for those who crave for meat. I am damn sure that by your techniques, people will try but they cannot leave meat. If they leave also, they will crave for meat after some months. Such feeling of quitting should come naturally. If you try such techniques, you will never succeed and it is also not a good practice to deceive oneself.

    You need not have to watch documentaries or go to any Slaughter House to quit meat. 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.

    Omit all your points except #6 and add a point about Love. :)

    Look, I was so aggressive at the starting of this comment but became so calm when I started talking/thinking about love and meditation. :) It has such power.

    If you are interested, you may see this article as well:- http://satya.chapagain.com.np/karma-and-the-vegetable-diet/

    Reply

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