By Anne B
“You cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that you can do.”
As you’ve probably guessed, today’s post is about vegetarianism: why I became one, some tips on becoming vegetarian and healthy eating, and maybe even a little vegetarian recipe I created at the end. Guess you’ll just have to read on to see the recipe...
Now, I know many of you might not be vegetarian and I am not here to push you to become one. That is not the goal of this blog post. My goal is simply to share some facts, my reasons for converting, and some tips that will hopefully help you maintain a healthier lifestyle. The healthy eating tips I’ll provide will be useful for everyone, no matter if you are vegan, vegetarian, an omnivore, etc.
Now that I’ve done my little spiel, I decided to become a vegetarian because it is better for the environment and to be healthier. Earlier this year, I watched several documentaries on the horrible impact the meat, dairy, and fish industry had on the environment. Those documentaries also show how animals are treated in these industries and it is horrifying.
Becoming a vegetarian or vegan helps the environment, and below are some facts and quotes that show just how much.
Obviously, I could go on and on with these facts, but I’ll stop here. If you’re interested in learning more, than I highly recommend looking at the sources I listed above. I also recommend watching documentaries such as Cowspiracy, Peaceable Kingdom, Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, Food Inc., Food Choices, and What the Health.
Even though the big reason why I chose to become vegetarian was to help the environment, I also did it to have a healthier diet. Watching documentaries and doing more research on vegetarianism, it seemed like it would have a better impact on my body, inside and out. Being vegetarian has made me more consistent in eating all my fruits and veggies. I’ve noticed that I’ve also had fewer problems with my digestive system. For instance, I don’t get bloated as often after eating a big meal and I have fewer headaches after meals. In the past, I would get these horrible headaches after eating big meals or eating a lot of meat, most likely because of indigestion. I still get headaches and migraines, but they’re rarely after eating now.
Anyways, if you’re interested in becoming vegetarian, or maybe just incorporating a few vegetarian meals into your life, here are my top three tips for becoming vegetarian.
1. Baby Steps
You don’t have to become vegetarian overnight. If you’ve eaten meat and fish for most of your life, it’s hard to suddenly stop eating it. Trust me, it took me a while to adjust to a vegetarian lifestyle. I recommend starting off by eating vegetarian for one day per week and then increasing it until you are fully vegetarian. Or a good compromise that will still help the environment is to eat vegetarian 4-5 days per week and then eat meat/fish the other days.
2. Watch Animal Videos
Ok, ok, I know I’ve already mentioned watching videos and documentaries and I probably sound like a broken record. But in all honesty, there is nothing like watching a video of animals being tortured to motivate you on your vegetarian journey. If you've seen the PETA videos before, then you probably know what I mean.
3. Start By Following Vegetarian Recipes
When I first became vegetarian, I didn’t really know what I should cook. I was so used to having some kind of meat or fish with some veggies that it felt weird just having vegetables for dinner. So, I got the Thug Kitchen cookbook. Thug Kitchen really helped me get inspired to cook more vegetarian dishes. Not only are they hilarious, but they also have a lot of creative ideas. I’ve cooked a few of their dishes and they were all delicious. However, since I usually don’t have the time or motivation to follow a recipe during the week, I usually get creative and just mix a bunch of stuff in a pan. Whatever ends up in the pan is usually inspired from a recipe or photo I’ve seen before though.
Alright, there were my top tips for becoming vegetarian. I did promise some healthy eating tips that could apply to everyone, however, so here they are:
1. Meal Prepping
Meal prepping can help you save money, time, and you’re more likely to eat healthy if you plan what you’re going to eat for the week. You’re less likely to go get fast food at the last minute if you have a meal already prepared in your fridge.
2. Smoothies are your friends
You can put a ton of fruits and veggies into your smoothies, including ones that you don’t like eating alone. I really dislike the taste of kale but I know it has a lot of health benefits. So, I’ll put some kale with a lot of fruits, almond milk, vanilla or chocolate, and other veggies that I like in my smoothie to cover up the taste. Smoothies are also great for when you’re running late. All you have to do is put everything in a blender, put the smoothie in a mason jar or the likes, and off you go!
3. Keep the junk food out of reach.
Like I mentioned in this week’s podcast, you’re much less likely to give in to tempting cookies or chips if they are not in proximity.
4. Drink your fluids!
I’m sure you’ve heard this a lot, but I’m going to repeat it anyway. Water is an essential part of our survival, it’s good for getting rid of toxins, and it is a good way to measure how hungry you are. Oftentimes when your body is dehydrated, your brain will tell you to eat. So, whenever you are hungry, you should drink a glass of water before actually eating something because it could be that you’re just very thirsty. By staying hydrated throughout the day, you’re less likely to snack on unhealthy things.
5. Cut down on sugar.
Try eliminating or greatly reducing your sugar intake for a week or two - I guarantee you won’t have as many sugar cravings afterward. I used to eat a ton of sugary foods when I was younger. But one summer, I decided I wanted to cut down on my sugar so I stopped eating all the really sugary foods I was eating at the time, like candy and cookies, for a month. After that one month, eating foods with a lot of sugar made me a little sick. I still enjoy eating cookies once in a while, but they’re usually the less sugary kind. Of course, I still eat candy too, but only the chocolate kind because I find the other types very saturating.
Well, that’s all the tips I have for you Ramblers, I hope you guys enjoyed all these little tips! Now, as promised, here is a little vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for the colder weather. The best part: it only has 6 ingredients and takes 30-40 minutes.
1 lb ground fake meat (frozen or fresh) or textured vegetable protein
1 450 ml can of diced tomatoes
1 350 g can of beans
4-5 potatoes diced into small cubes
4-5 carrots diced
1 cup water or vegetable broth
Optional: chili powder for some kick; shredded cheese
1. Place everything into a pot
2. Boil and then simmer for 30 minutes
3. Scoop a hefty serving into a bowl and go watch some Netflix.
Although I am not trying to push vegetarianism on you, I do hope this post inspires you to be more mindful when it comes to your food choices. Anything helps, no matter how small. Let me know what you guys think about vegetarianism, these tips, and this recipe in the comments!