Aw thanks a lot, Kena, you have no idea how happy this message made me! :) My name’s Lena (lol how funny - our names rhyme!), and well…advice for becoming a vegetarian. Personally, I had a bit of help because in my faith I’m supposed to be vegan during Lent, so after Lent I just kept the meat out of my diet.(And to be honest I never was really partial to it either - save for fish)
If you’re having trouble resisting the meat-y temptation I would suggest slowly waning yourself off meat. Instead of quitting cold-turkey (no pun intended), try cutting out all red meat first, then after a week or so try being a pescatarian, then after a week or so of that try for a week straight no meat - if you can handle that week then you’re ready to cut out all forms of meat! Also if you’re just starting out, and you can’t help but nibble a bit on a piece of meat, don’t freak out over it! For people who’ve grown up omnivorous it’s tough to cut it out straight away! And if there are some of your favorite foods you’d have to cut out (like for me a Greek food called “Pastichio” try and find vegetarian alternatives to the recipe!
Another important thing to remember is that you can’t be afraid to try new foods as a vegetarian. Personally, I grew up as the PICKIEST eater EVER. I hated practically EVERYTHING. Once I convinced my parents to let me go vegetarian I had to agree to be willing to try new sources of protein. Tofu sounds blah, but depending on how you cook it, it can be a miracle food! Here are eleven ways you can eat tofu: http://panlasangpinoy.com/2011/03/06/11-ways-to-cook-tofu/
Other great sources of protein are legumes/beans/lentils (I LOVE sautéing lentils with a bit of olive oil and capers – chop up some veggies to go with it and you’re good!), nuts/nut spreads, eggs (if you’d prefer to also cut out eggs ignore that lol), and certain vegetables. I know I mentioned beans but another personal favorite are chickpeas! Hummus is DELICIOUS for the record. And this may be a shocker, but whole grains are great sources of protein too. In particular a grain called QUINOA which can be made into a variation on oatmeal to stuffed bell peppers. It helps to also start munching on nuts along with your snacks.
It’s ALSO important to watch your iron intake. As well as – of course - other nutrients and minerals. Becoming a vegetarian can be difficult, but when done the right way is an extremely healthy lifestyle that also helps contributes to the environment and animal rights!
Not to mention it doesn’t HAVE to be boring bland salads all the time. I love pumpkin ravioli, roasted vegetables, beans with cous cous, a sandwich made with toasted high protein bread, avocados, tomatoes, hummus, and baby spinach. You can make your diet as tasty as you please! Just look up some vegetarian recipes and cookbooks!
If you’re having trouble convincing parents, it’s GREAT to just research the benefits of a vegetarian diet and how to go about it the right way, print it out, highlight details, and leave it in a place they can see. Make some vegetarian meals with your family for your family so they understand you know what you’re doing, etc. It may take a while, but they’ll warm up to it.
Just beware of only eating primarily from one source such as pasta, legumes, etc. You need a mix of EVERYTHING (minus meat of course lol) to go about this the right way. Here’s a GREAT website that knows a lot more than I do: http://www.vrg.org/index.htm Best of luck!