If you have made the decision to leave animal proteins and start a vegetarian diet, it is important that you have at your fingertips all the necessary knowledge to carry out this process without harming your health. Suddenly eliminating animal proteins and the nutrients they provide could completely decompensate your body, causing you to start to suffer from common problems such as anemia, vitamin B deficiency, weakened immune system, etc.
It is completely possible to eat a vegetarian diet and be healthy, but you should know that this requires knowledge about nutrition and time to prepare balanced menus, the two basic keys to this type of diet. Do you want to take the final step? Here we explain how to start being vegetarian and achieve your goals.
Find out about this type of diet
The first thing you should be very clear about is what types of vegetarian diets exist to decide which one best suits your preferences or needs. Apart from that, it is essential to inform yourself well about this type of diet, about the foods that will allow you to supply the nutrients that meat and fish provide and the amounts in which you must eat them daily to guarantee your health and well-being.
Information is power, and it is not advisable to put your health at risk by eating a meat-free diet but without adequate nutritional intake. What we mean is that if you eliminate animal proteins and base your diet on flours, pasta, and salads, without incorporating food intelligently, it is likely that your body will begin to suffer from various problems.
Once you have committed to eating a complete and healthy diet, it is good that you decide what type of vegetarian alternative best suits your needs:
- Left-over vegetarian: theyeat eggs and dairy.
- Lacto-vegetarians: theyonly incorporate dairy, without consuming eggs.
- Strict vegetarians:they do not consume dairy or eggs.
- Vegans:they do not consume any food from an animal, this includes not only dairy and eggs but also products such as honey.
What foods can you not eat if you are a vegetarian?
Surely you are clear that meats such as beef, pork, sausages, chicken, turkey, game animals, fish, shellfish and mollusks are going away. But do you know that there are many foods with meat bases on the market that you may not know about? If you are considering becoming a vegetarian, you should be able to completely eliminate certain ingredients from your diet.
Reading the labels before buying any product is essential, since many animal compounds are hidden in the preparation of certain products, and taking it into account is essential if you want to carry out your diet properly. That is why it is important to eliminate ingredients such as:
- Chemical additivesof animal origin, the most common are E441, a gelatin of animal origin, and E120, a dye made by an insect.
- Margarine, as it contains animal fats and may additionally also have gelatin of animal origin, whey and other unsuitable compounds.
- Butteras it comes from the pig. Many bakery products contain this ingredient and therefore should be avoided.
- Albumin, it is an ingredient derived from eggs, so if you do not eat this food you should avoid this ingredient as well.
- Aspic, a gelatin made from beef marrow, pork or fish remains.
- Edible fats, when the labels indicate this, they are referring to fats of animal origin.
- Vegetable creams or soups with bases of meat or chicken broths.
- Certain types of alcohol, because although it may surprise you in the final rinse process of some industrial beers and certain brands of wine, ingredients such as egg white, gelatin, ichthyocols derived from the bladder of certain fish, the chitin that comes from the crab shell or dried blood. In the event that the product is of vegetable origin, its label will indicate that it has ingredients such as kaolin, silica gel, kieselguhr and bentonite.
- Candies as they can contain gelatins, dyes and animal fats.
- Additionally, it is essential to read the labels of other products such as yogurts, fresh cheeses, sauces and soft drinks, since they could contain traces of fat or animal derivatives.
Make a gradual transition
Nutritionists and doctors recommend that, when making such a radical change in diet such as giving up animal protein, it should be done progressively in order for the body to get used to it. So, if you plan to start being a vegetarian you should go little by little and establish a period of time, which can range from 6 months to 1 year, to eliminate all unwanted foods from your diet.
Some recommendations to achieve this are:
Eliminate one type of meat and substitute for vegetable protein
The withdrawal of meat from the diet should be progressive, so you can start by eliminating, for example, all poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.). In doing so, substitute this product for high-quality plant proteins such as tofu, textured soy or seitan. In parallel, you can reduce those foods that contain meat derivatives, such as those mentioned above, and whose impact on the diet will be much less.
Once you have controlled eating your poultry for at least a month, then do the same with pork and pork products. Continue with the process until you have eliminated all meats from the diet in any of its forms and have incorporated the quality proteins that your body needs.
Only vegetables several days a week
While you are removing animal products from your diet, establish one or more days a week that you only eat plant products. In this way you will get used to this type of diet, trying the various combinations that there are and experimenting with new recipes.
Make your favorite recipes without meat
Try those dishes that you love without animal protein, experimenting in the kitchen with substitutes and managing to prepare delicious recipes will become a great satisfaction for you, prompting you to continue on that path.
Dare to try new things
Being a vegetarian requires a lot of creativity to eat in a varied and healthy way, so we must be willing to try new things and open ourselves to gastronomies that traditionally have this type of diet for centuries, such as the Indian for example. There you can find ideas and be inspired to the maximum.
Search for recipes and get inspired
One of the recommendations to start being a vegetarian that you cannot miss is to fully open up to the culinary world. Find recipes, read, learn and find inspiration to eat as you want without losing your well-being and health.
Eating an exclusively vegetarian diet and being healthy is possible, but you should know that it requires effort and intelligence, because if you limit your menu to only some ingredients, it is most likely that your health will be affected in the medium term. It is advisable to include quality proteins such as soybeans, legumes, seitan, whole grains and soy derivatives such as tofu, and combine them with a variety of vegetables to obtain a balanced diet.
With creativity, self-control and patience it is possible to start this diet with success. Here we wish you good luck in the process.
This article is merely informative, here we do not have the power to prescribe any medical treatment or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.