Thinking About Going Vegetarian? Here Are 4 Things to Consider Before Going Cold Turkey

For many of us, especially in this day and age, we have noticed that the effect that social media has on our ideas about food is overwhelmingly significant. Snapchat stories, Instagram foodie pages, Facebook recipe videos (yes, the Buzzfeed ones that you cannot stop watching when you are starving in College Algebra), etc., are all slowly encroaching on what we consider to be “healthy”. If you are a teenage girl in the year 2017 who is somewhat concerned with what goes into your body, then you probably have heard of the Netflix documentary, What the Health, that spontaneously turned all 5,000 of your Facebook friends into hardcore vegans for three days. If you are one of those people who is pondering the idea of going vegetarian or vegan, then that is awesome! Saving the animals, planet and your body! What could go wrong?

I think that most people are carnivores because that is what we are conditioned to be. Tailgates are for hamburgers and hotdogs; barbecues are for ribs and baked beans; Thanksgiving is for turkey and gravy, and so on. We grow up eating animals and don’t blink an eye because everyone else is doing it. Everyone else is doing it so it must be the right thing to do? Not quite. I’m not one of those vegetarians that will preach my anti-carnivore views at a clambake, but I do think it is important to spread the benefits of vegetarianism and veganism and maybe help some people transition.

If you are a full-on carnivore, meaning chicken nuggets and bacon every day, then these diets may be a bit of a shock to the system if you jump in head first. Before you completely go cold turkey, (haha see what I did there?) you might want to slow down, the carrots and cucumbers aren’t going anywhere. These diets are hard to sustain. They involve planning, meal prepping, researching and thinking, so there are many things to think about if you want to successfully transition, unlike those 5,000 Facebook friends of yours.

1. You want to ease into vegetarianism (or veganism).

Eat plant-based once a week and really plan out your meals, making sure that you are getting enough protein so you don’t feel weak throughout the day.

2. A good tip for grocery shopping is to eat the rainbow!

Red strawberries, oranges, bananas, yellow squash, broccoli, blueberries, purple grapes…you get the point. Having plenty of servings of diverse fruits and veggies will nourish your body with plenty of micronutrients.

3. Go on YouTube!

There are tons of experienced plant based YouTubers that have plenty of helpful tips that will keep your mind off the bacon and more on the veggies! Many people post “What I Eat in a Day” vlogs, recipe ideas, and question and answer style videos to help guide you through the transition.

4. Have fun with it!

I have been vegetarian for about 16 years and I absolutely love getting creative in the kitchen. You may be missing meat for the first couple of months but your body will adjust and will probably thank you in the long run.