Published: 03/01/2016 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Have you ever been interested in this type of diet, but do not know how to start? Today I want to share some information that will facilitate your immersion in the world of vegetarianism so you can make a decision that fits with your needs, goals and ideology.
Being vegetarian is a lifestyle choice due to different reasons and motives: Some people hold the fundamental belief that it is wrong to eat animals, other people venture into vegetarianism for health and diet reasons, etc. Whatever your reason, something that unites all beginners is a new path of thinking and like any new experience, you must open yourself to discovering new things and experimenting to find what fits and satisfies you.
A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat from different animals and who sustains themselves on a diet based on cereals, vegetables, legumes and fruits. The vegetarian world offers a wide range of options, so before starting I suggest you consider the following:
Tips to get started with a vegetarian diet
1. Meditate on your reason for making the decision to not eat meat: Be it an illness or disease, a method of prevention, respect for animal life or a combination of several factors; whatever your reason it is important to identify and think about your goals in the short, medium and long term for following this new food plan.
2. Choose the meal plan that best suits your needs: Being a vegetarian does not mean that you can only nourish yourself with lettuce and apples. There is a range of possibilities and combinations that can be prepared, in addition there are also different styles to prepare your food, for example you can choose to eat only raw food (raw vegan), or perhaps to incorporate dairy or egg into your diet (ovolactovegetarianos) and more. Do some research on the various options offered by this new diet.
3. Have patience and start slowly: One of the most common mistakes people make when entering into this new lifestyle is to start cutting out all kinds of products and by-products of animal origin, so it can be frustrating for some people and lead them to give up soon after starting. To avoid this problem, try to begin gradually limiting your consumption of these products and little by little cutting them out of your diet to achieve your goal.
4. Go to a specialist and dietician: At first it may be difficult to learn how to combine the right foods and balance your diet; to avoid this mistake, seek help from a specialist who will guide you and, if necessary, help you find any necessary supplements and vitamins.
5. Spend more time in the kitchen: Although this is not essential, dedicating some of your day to being in the kitchen can help you improve your cookery skills and find the right combinations of flavors to suit your tastes. A good idea is to take a course in vegetarian cuisine, buy some recipe books or watch tutorials on the internet.
6. Participate in vegetarian social groups: A great way to learn is from the experience of others, so approaching a group of people with similar interests can be helpful as they may be able to give advice, answer questions, make recommendations of where to eat, good cookery courses, etc.
7. Have goals and motivate yourself: Make a plan with goals and objectives that will help you progress and feel like you are not stuck. Changing your whole lifestyle requires commitment and a great amount of effort, so do not forget to reward yourself each time you achieve one of your goals.
8. Have fun and enjoy yourself: Finally, as a recommendation, do not forget to have fun and try not to see this as an imposition. Do not stress out if you fail or falter, part of learning is making mistakes; enjoy this new lifestyle and way of eating.
Remember that these are just some tips and of course each individual will find the process easier or harder. As a parting gift, here is a delicious, easy and completely vegetarian recipe which I would like to share with you:
Courgette (Zucchini) Spaghetti with Cherry Tomato Sauce
- 2-3 Courgettes (Zucchini) depending on their size
- ½ cup of Basil3 tbsp of Walnuts or pine nuts
- 1 clove of Garlic
- ¼ cup of Olive oil
- 1 cup of Cherry tomatoes
- Salt & Pepper (sufficient amount)
1. With a spiral cutter, grate the courgette (zucchini). If you do not have one, you can grate
with a simple grater or chop finely.
2. Place the courgette in a colander with a little rock salt to remove excess moisture, while you prepare the sauce.
3. Put the basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, garlic clove, olive oil and nuts in a food processor or blender and blend together. Once you have a thick paste, season with a little salt and pepper.
4. Heat a pan with a little olive oil and add the previously rinsed courgette to remove excess salt and fry for a few minutes.
5. Add the tomato sauce and cook until all flavors are incorporated, season to taste and serve.
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