Are you looking to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle? Are you curious about what vegetarianism involves? This article will provide you with helpful tips for starting a vegetarian diet, and warn you about what to expect.
Expect ignorant remarks
Your grandparents, avid Paleo followers, and your bacon-worshiping friends may never completely understand your choice to go vegetarian, but that is okay. It is your body, and your your choice–not theirs. The important thing to know before going vegetarian is that you will undoubtedly deal with countless rude and ignorant remarks, but there is a time to toss back an educated rebuttal and there is a time to just laugh it off. If there is hope that the person may be persuaded or even slightly interested by your case for vegetarianism, that person is worth your time and energy. If the person is closed-minded and has already made their stance very clear, you may not want get yourself frustrated by the argument that is likely to ensue. I usually just say my peace briefly, and agree to disagree.
Learn how to be creative with a restaurant menu
While most restaurants offer at least one vegetarian meal on their menu, I have found that many do not. Remember not to limit yourself to just ordering salads when you are out–you do have other options. Instead, do not be afraid to order appetizers as meals, ask if a meal can be made without the meat, or create a meal by ordering multiple side dishes. Also, many restaurants will allow you to supplement the meat on a burger or sandwich with a veggie burger. Eating out can be a little tricky for vegetarians, but it does not have to be impossible. Most waiters and waitresses are very understanding, and will help you find something you can eat.
Expect to explain what you do and do not eat to people
Many people have a misconstrued idea of what vegetarians do and do not eat, often confusing them with vegans and pescatarians. Vegetarians are typically considered people who do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or the by-products of animal slaughter. Vegans abstain from all animal products including eggs and dairy, while pescatarians are essentially vegetarians who eat fish. While it may get annoying answering questions about what you do or do not eat, remember that you are a part of educating others about vegetarianism!
Invest in vitamin B-12 supplements
While many people will ask you about your protein intake as a vegetarian, the thing you really need to worry about is vitamin B-12 deficiency. If you are going about your vegetarian diet in a healthy way, your protein intake should be sufficient. On the other hand, a vegetarian diet often does not offer a sufficient amount of vitamin B-12 as it is only found in meat, fish, milk, eggs, and fortified cereals. According to WebMD, two in three people who followed a vegetarian diet were found to be deficient of B-12. For this reason, B-12 vitamins are an essential part of a healthy vegetarian diet.