How to be a Vegetarian: Tips from my own meat-free journey.

For most of us, we grew up on meat and dairy. People tell me all the time, meat tastes too good to give up! What if I told you plants: vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds could taste just as good as meat. Would you believe me?

What if I also told you, you could get complete proteins without eating meat. Would you believe that too? I want to let you know, with the right knowledge and meal planning vegetarianism is doable, easy, and tasty.

You can put the burger down now.

If you are still here, I assume you are interested in going meat-free or at least you want to try (Here is a little secret, I gave up meat for my New Year’s Resolution).

I don’t know what your reasons are, but I want to let you know, you have come to the right place! So, dust off your feet, grab a glass of water and get comfortable. I am going to give you the best tips to go meat-free.

*I am not a doctor, these tips are not Medical advice or intended to cure diseases. Please consult your doctor before changing or MODIFYING your diet*

Tip 1: You Got to Try it

My first tip is, you have to try it for 90 days. Why? During the first 60 days, you will have meat cravings! My cravings lasted for five months. To this day, I still get the ridiculous meat cravings. When you enroll in an exercise program it takes about 90 days to see results.

*I want you to commit to at least 60-90 days of vegetarianism.*

Tip 2: Start Slowly

If you decide to give up meat, I wouldn’t suggest you go cold turkey. Ask vegetarians for advice. Find unbiased information; the internet and the library are home to the best free information. Make sure your information is credible. Take it slow, Rome wasn’t built in a day now!

Tip 3: Give Up Pork First

The first meat to give up is the beloved pork chop. I am sorry y’all. No more ham, bacon, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami, pork chops, and baby back ribs.

For you country folks, no more poke salad, country ham, or fatback. Sorry, you will have to find another way to season your collards. There is no reason to eat pork. There are plenty of pork substitutes out there:

Pork Substitutes

Beef BaconDuck Bacon Turkey BaconChicken Bacon
Ground Turkey Ground LambGround Chicken Ground Beef
Shredded Chicken Chicken SausageTurkey Sausage Veal Chops

TIp 4: Good Bye Red Meat

After you have given up pork, now it is time to give up the red stuff! Your doctor will thank you! Make way for poultry and poultry products. You don’t have to limit yourself to eating Chicken and Turkey. Try hen or duck!

When you are in this stage, you will notice a few things are harder to give up than others. For example, I had a hard time giving up steak and pepperoni. In fact, pepperoni was the hardest meat for me to give up.

Tip 5: Spice it up

When you give up meat, channel your inner chef! Get into the kitchen! If you don’t know what that is, it is the place where the oven lives. The secret to making vegetarian dishes taste incredible is herbs and spices. Spice it up!

It doesn’t matter if you have fresh herbs and spices or dried. With the right combination, you can make anything taste good. My go-to herbs and spices are basil (fresh), chili powder, pink salt, and Ms. Dash hamburger seasoning.

Fitsavvy’s tip: use citrus juices and vinegar to up your chef game.

Tip 6: Go Pesectarian

Once you have mastered the last tip, your next step is to replace the poultry with fish. If you don’t like fish, you can fly by this tip, but, before you do, consider this: taking poultry out of your diet is going to be a little difficult without a backup.

Remember, if you want to make this last you must give it time. You need the fish to replace that need for animal protein. Your taste buds will adapt.

Tip 7: Don’t Depend on Meat SUBSTITUTES

I cannot stress this enough! Meat substitutes are highly processed and not good for you! I know we love our new food creations like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger, but those are fun foods, not whole foods!

When consuming meat substitutes, be careful with highly processed soy and pea proteins. Healthy meat substitutes are ones made with whole lentils, beans, and veggies. I do eat meat substitutes now and then to halt my cravings.

Tip 8: Eat Whole Foods

Whole plant-based foods are your best bet to thrive on a vegetarian diet. I fill up on eggplant, firm organic tofu, rice, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and potatoes.

These foods are the whole foods that make me full. I also add different vegetables together to get the nutrition I need. Now that my job consists of mostly exercising, I am extra hungry. I eat both Kind and Macro bars when I am really hungry and drink Ripple Chocolate milk.

Tip 9: UP Your veggies and Fruit Intake

These past 9 months are the most vegetables and fruit I have eaten in my life. Some nights, my dinner plate is filled with three vegetables and one grain. Since going vegetarian I have tired, dragon fruit, jack fruit, goji berries, candy cotton grapes, etc.

Tip 9 1/2: Meal plan

When I was working set hours, I would dedicate a day to grocery shopping and one day to meal planning/prepping. I don’t work in an office anymore, so I skipped this step. If you do work in an office and take your lunch. Cook a big meal on your off day and Tupperware it up. Eat that for your lunch.

Tip 10: Invest in a Vegetarian Cook Book

Remember when I said the internet and the library were home to the best free information? I wasn’t lying they are, but in order for you to reap the benefits, you MUST INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH.

Technically, you don’t have to buy a cookbook. You can subscribe to a vegetarian magazine, blog, website, or newspaper. These recipe mediums are extremely creative! One of my favorite vegetarian/vegan cookbooks is Thug Kitchen. There are vegetarian experts out there, make yourself available to the knowledge. Buy in.

So are you ready to give up meat? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a good Monday,

FitSavvy 🙂

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