Being a vegetarian is not just about subscribing to the latest fad diet, it is a life-style decision. In many ways for vegetarians the things a person eats is at the core of who they are as people. Because of this vegetarianism is usually a long term commitment and not something to take lightly. But there are a series of common issues that can occur for new vegetarians. It’s common for people to talk about how much more tired they feel, or they suddenly started to crave sweets a lot more than usual, sometimes people even encounter mood swings. The committed vegetarian, however, is determined to overcome these humps. Here are five ways to improve your vegetarian diet.
1. Getting Good Sources of Protein – One of the most common mistakes that new vegetarians (and even some committed vegetarians) make is to not include enough protein in their diet. Protein is one of the primary sources of nutrition found in meat. Once meat is eliminated from the diet some vegetarians do not realize that they need to make up for the protein that is now missing in their diet. Common signs that you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet include increased craving of sweets and grain based carbs such as noodles and bread, you may feel much more tired than usual, or you are much sorer after you work out and can’t seem to fully recover. Never fear because there are many sources of protein that are not meat based. Examples include: tempeh, tofu, beans, nuts (especially almonds), seeds, and many other meat substitutes. Be sure to include these foods in your diet for sustainability.
2. Planning out Your Meals – It is very important to plan out your meals ahead of time. Being a vegetarian means you have to have discipline and have to be creative. Planning out your recipes helps to keep diversity within your diet. This also keeps from burning yourself out or giving in to cravings. You need to be prepared for the unexpected by having your weeks planned out you know when to get your food, how to budget accordingly, and how to keep your recipes exciting.
3. Join a Community – It is never easy to do something alone, especially when it comes to something like this. Join a support community of other vegetarians, whether online or in person, can be very beneficial to improving your life as a vegetarian. By being a part of a community you have access to others who may have experienced what you are experiencing. It also helps relieve some of the stress that comes along with making a transition such as this.
4. Research – It is important to stay informed. Sustainability is key to a long term commitment to a vegetarian life. You need to make sure you are eating the right things and are getting the proper nutrition you need in order to do this right. Researching also helps to stay creative when coming up with new recipe ideas.
5. Share Your Experience – Sharing your experience is essential to keeping you vegetarian lifestyle alive. Not only are you given the opportunity to reflect on what you have done, you are given the chance to help others on their journeys. All of this will help you to learn new things about living a vegetarian lifestyle to its fullest.