3 Critical Tips to Begin Your Vegetarian Lifestyle

You’ve decided to embark on a vegetarian lifestyle. Congratulations! Whether you are hoping to lose weight and improve your health, to protect the environment, or because you are an ally of animals, it’s a great choice.

If you are like most people when they start, you will find the transition is not always free of stress. Here are 3 critical tips to help you begin:

1. Put down the cheese.

Many beginning vegetarians simply replace meat with cheese, often because they are worried about getting enough protein. In fact, you need a lot less protein than you’ve been told in the past.

Cheese, like most animal products, is very high in fat. Also, cheese is a processed food with few health benefits. It is milk-based, and the human body was not designed to ingest cow’s milk.

Yes, cheese is tasty. But use it as a condiment, not a staple.

2.  Embrace carbohydrates.

There is a myth that human beings require large amounts of protein to lose weight.  That is simply not true. Your body requires some protein, certainly, but more than anything else, your body craves healthy carbohydrates.

We are not talking about bread, pasta, bagels, doughnuts, wraps, or cereals. A healthy vegetarian diet includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts – natural carbohydrates that grow from the earth, not the kind that are processed of man-made wheat flour.

If you love bread,  stick with whole grain flour, or try almond flour, rice and chickpea flour.

3. Stay away from the freezer section.

You may be tempted to begin your transition by heading to the freezer section of the market and loading up on veggie burgers and “fake meat” products.  These alternatives may fill an occasional gap, but for the most part, buy fresh food and enjoy that. Buy yourself a vegetarian or vegan cookbook, and learn how to make your own natural plant-based recipes. You’ll feel better, and your weight will reach its normal, healthy level as well.