5 Top Tips For Going Vegetarian
Number 1 might shock you… I’ve been asked loads recently to do a top tips post from people who want to give vegetarianism a try. Here are my Top 5.
1.Don’t Go Cold Turkey (They Call Me a PUNdamentalist)
In a shocking opening gambit, I’m going to suggest to you that the best way to go veggie is to keep eating meat! Let me explain. I don’t want you, or anyone else, to think about vegetarianism like a fad diet, requiring a sudden switch to a strict, holier-than-thou, all consuming lifestyle.
If you’re going to change the habit of a lifetime, it needs to be slow and steady or all the evidence suggests you’ll fail. When I first gave up meat, I used Sunday as a ‘meat cheat’ day and I suggest you allow yourself your own ‘meat cheats’ to get you through.
If you’ve gone 6 days veggie and are really craving that pulled pork, then go for it! The facts are there to suggest that any way you can reduce your meat consumption is going to have a huge impact on your health and the environment. Then, after a while, you’ll probably realise, like I did, that you aren’t craving that cheat anymore and you’re ready to go the whole veggie hog (oxymoron?).
2. Replace – DON’T Remove
So many people ask me the classic question veggies love: ‘So what do you eat? Just plates of vegetables?’
Obviously no, I don’t just eat plates of vegetables and I’ve relied on a number of really great imitation meat products over the last two years.
Meat is delicious and familiar so replacing it with something that tastes and feels like meat is a great place to start.
I’m not going to say you won’t notice the difference, but given the benefits these substitutes will bring, I’ve decided it’s well worth it. Also, relax, you can still have cheese, chocolate, coffee and alcohol!
3. Do Some Homework
If you like recipe boxes, try ordering the veggie one for a week. What have you got to lose? Check out which restaurants have great reputations with veggies. You’ll be surprised how great the veg options are at big chains like Nandos,Wahaca, Jamie’s Italian, Chipotle, Le Pain Quotidien, Leon etc.
Pret have just launched a ‘Not Just For Veggies’ range of beautiful sandwiches, wraps and salads, which will knock any rival meaty work lunch into next week.
If you live in London, get yourself a Leafcard and enjoy FREE VEGETARIAN MEALS when you spend £5!
4. Know Why You’re Doing It
Here comes my warning: If you decide to go vegetarian, EVERYONE will ask you about it. Some will just be curious and intrigued. Some will want to have an argument about farming, health, evolution and geo-politics (I’m ashamed to admit I used to be in this category).
So confirm with yourself why you want to do it. For me it’s 4 reasons: health, animals, people and the environment (you can watch my video on this above and read my first blog where I talk about it as well).
5. Don’t Let It Affect Your Personal and Social Life
I don’t do a Morrissey and start demanding that people in my presence don’t eat meat. I don’t have my own, personal, sterilised set of cooking pans in my shared house. Yes, we veggies are passionate people, who’ve made this decision for important reasons but I firmly believe that the carrot, not the stick is the way to encourage people to change.
Plus, carrots are much tastier. I’ve found that being relaxed about it has encouraged far more of my family and friends to go veggie than if I’d been evangelical and over-zealous. I don’t want to alienate people, I want to welcome them in with open arms.
6. BONUS TIP- Perhaps the Most Important
As I was writing this I realised there was a crucial tip I’d forgotten. One that no vegetarian guide could be without. Two words: Veggie Percy.