Good day there lovely readers! I have been a vegetarian for quite a while now. Making the decision to be a vegetarian wasn't a hard one for me: I hadn't liked eating meat for many years back then and to be honest I was relieved I could stop eating meat with a valid reason.
Experience has taught me that many people do actually struggle with becoming a vegetarian, which is logical. If you're thinking about going vegetarian but are not 100% sure yet, make sure to keep on reading. This won't be a biased and persuasive post - I'm just trying to help you!
THE TRANSITION IS THE HARDEST
Things will be easy once you're a true vegetarian: quitting the meat and saying 'no' to delicious meals is very hard in the beginning. Quitting meat cold turkey (hah!) can be hard, and that's why you can start with eating less meat. Think about only eating meat three or four times a week: in this way you'll still be able to eat your beloved meals but you can start adjusting to vegetarian meals already.
LOOK UP VEGETARIAN RECIPES
Vegetarian food is amazing, if you ask me. This was really different in the beginning, though - I feel like vegetarianism has been on the rise for the past two or three years - but meat substitutes and soy products weren't all that popular in the beginning. I live in a small village, where vegetarians were frowned upon: I once asked had dinner at McDonalds and I asked an employee to leave the meat off my burger and the whole staff laughed in my face. We now have veggie burgers all of the country - and every supermarket has a diverse assortment of meat substitutes. Many websites are dedicated to vegetarian recipes - this is my personal favorite. Reading cookbooks and scrolling through websites will make your stomach growl and excite you for your possible upcoming new diet! It will show you that quitting meat doesn't letting 90% of your tastebuds go to waste. When I started reading more about vegetarian recipes and food I discovered so many new fruits, vegetables and spices!
GO TO A VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
I visited Barcelona in 2013 and I was surprised by the amount of vegetarian restaurants there - my parents do eat meat but I took them to this really nice vegetarian restaurant and they really enjoyed their meals - they said it 'wouldn't have been better with meat in it'. Visiting a vegetarian restaurant will show you that your not limited in your choice of food.
THINK ABOUT THE POSITIVE THINGS
You're not becoming a vegetarian for the fun of it. It has many advantages: you consume a lot less fat, you support the fight against animal abuse, you help the environment (fuel, pollution et cetera) and you help your weight loss. Realizing this will help your process: having a reason and motivation is a necessity.
This sounds weird but I believe being a vegetarian should be fun. I genuinely like trying out new recipes, finding new veggie bloggers I like and chatting with other vegetarians. If this isn't the case for you I don't think vegetarianism is the right option: eating should be enjoyable. This is the most un-vegetarian thing I could say but.. one less vegetarian on this big planet won't be too harmful. I obviously believe that there should be as many vegetarians/vegans as possible but I don't believe you should force your beliefs upon people who are not willing to listen voluntarily.
LEARN TO THINK AHEAD
This wasn't a big problem for me as I have a very lovely family & understanding friends but attending parties/dinners without knowing if there's going to be something to eat for you can be tough. Try to anticipate, maybe pack little lunch bags for yourself if you know there will be only meat (but this won't happen often). It happened to me once: I was out for dinner with my colleagues and we went to this grill restaurant where you could grill your own meat and there was literally nothing but meat & fruit. What can I say, I had a fruity night!
FIND VEGGIE FRIENDS
Being able to talk to people can be inspiring. They can motivate you, you can chat about new recipes, typical vegetarian moments.. et cetera! If you don't have any vegetarian acquaintances: the internet has many forums, websites - many bloggers are vegetarian, YouTubers as well.. if you need someone to talk to there are many, many options! (You can send me something as well!)
I hope this post was helpful for you! It might sound like the transition into vegetarianism is hard but honestly, it's not half as hard as it sounds like once you've find recipes and restaurants and substitutes you like. Have a happy day! Much love, Sjoukje