In honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month, and for all of you out there who are taking the 30 Day Veg Pledge, here are 10 things that you can do to help you stick to your new and exciting lifestyle…
1. Spring Clean Your Cupboards – If it isn’t aligned with your new way of eating, get rid of it! Whether you trash it, give it away or donate it to a local shelter, just make sure it isn’t anywhere near you. The transitional phase is always the hardest and out of sight really is out of mind when it comes to food.
2. Don’t go to the Supermarket on an Empty Stomach- If you do, you’re asking for trouble. Research shows that if you go grocery shopping when you’re hungry you’re much more likely to make unhealthy food choices and end up with a trolley full of junk food. Avoid derailing your new diet by having a snack such as a piece of fruit before heading to the store.
3. Get Your Family On Board – Talk with your friends and family about your decision to go veg and express how much it would mean to you if they could join in or at least be understanding. Making multiple meals to please everyone’s palette isn’t much fun so getting them on board will make your life a whole lot easier, even if it is just some of the time!
4. Plan Ahead – Planning is the key when it comes to your veggie success. If you already know what you’re going to eat, you’ll be less likely to stray. Make a rough plan at the beginning of each week and buy ingredients with specific meals in mind.
5. Experiment – A vegetarian diet isn’t limited. Ask most vegetarians and they will tell you that their diet became much more varied and interesting since they made the switch. Just think about all the wonderful and exciting fruits, vegetables and legumes out there that you’ve never tried and challenge yourself to experiment with one new food each week. There are also plenty of incredible cookbooks and amazing blogs with recipe inspiration for every food you could possibly imagine.
6. Eat Generously – One of the most common complaints new vegetarians make is that they feel hungry. If you’re hungry, then you’re probably not eating enough. People find that when they move to a more whole-foods diet, they need to eat larger quantities because the food is not as caloric dense. It this seems like you then eat away, just make sure you’re eating healthy foods like fresh fruit and vegetables.
7. Understand That You Might Not Feel Your Best – When you make such a big change in your diet, you will undoubtedly experience some detox effects. It can take time for your body to adjust to this new way of eating, so don’t be discouraged if you’re feeling strange. If you think you’re craving meat, chances are your body is just crying out for more healthy fats, so double up on the avocados at lunchtime and throw in an extra portion of walnuts.
8. Stay Motivated with Positive Affirmations – Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing on a daily basis to maintain motivation and keep your momentum. Whether you’re doing it for your health, the planet or the animals, or a combination of all three, write down your reasons, stick them somewhere you won’t miss and read them aloud at least once per day.
9. Seek Support and Advice – Having a support system in place especially during the first few weeks or months is extremely valuable. If you’ve got friends who are already vegetarian, then don’t be afraid to ask them about their experience. If you don’t have any existing connections, then make new ones via local meetup groups or through social media (there are lots of helpful groups on Facebook).
10. Educate Yourself - One of the greatest pieces of advice I can give for long term success with your new vegetarian diet is to educate yourself. Here are some resources to help you along your new path:
Also be sure to investigate further what is happening to animals and all the inhumane practices that they are forced to endure. It may be overwhelming, but it will certainly provide you with the desire to stick to cruelty free options. Some great starting points include: