If you decide to become Vegetarian, you open your diet up to a new nutritional world of wonder. The colours, the flavours, the increase in wholefoods. The benefits brought to you from eating a plant-based diet; more fibre, and foods rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, known to help keep the whole body healthy. Add to this the many different ready-made vegetarian produce – practically every food that you would get conventionally – and it really is now incredibly easy to switch to a vegetarian way of eating.
Most people have an understanding that Vegetarian eating is meat-free, but over the years, variations have appeared, which have meant that the true message of Vegetarianism might have been diluted. The addition of fish or chicken is outside of most people’s understanding of what a vegetarian is. So what is?
A good place for you to go is the Vegetarian Society, but to help you get to this info quickly, we’ve summarised it below…
DO EAT: Fruits and vegetables, grains and pulses, nuts and seeds, eggs, dairy products, honey and the various meat replacer products that you can find in health stores (and elsewhere).
DON’T EAT: Meat or poultry, fish or seafood, insects, gelatine or animal rennet, stock or fat from animals.
Vegans don’t eat eggs, dairy, or honey.
Why make the switch?
The reasons why people become vegetarian are incredibly varied. There will always be the underlying foundation of people who believe that animals, and animal products, shouldn’t be eaten. This can be from a religious base, or from an animal welfare perspective.
But there are other reasons too. There is a growing body of research showing that a plant-based diet is incredibly healthy, and, being naturally rich in fruits and vegetables, vegetarian diets harness all of the goodness within them.
As well as this, becoming vegetarian can help you to save money. There are all kinds of innovative and creative ways that dairy, eggs, fruit and vegetables can be used to create inexpensive meals. Beans and pulses are low cost, and go far, eggs are an inexpensive staple, as are dairy foods. The Wrap-arounds; grain-based products, fruit and vegetables are also well priced. Without a doubt, good quality meat is expensive, and many who are watching their money (which is more of us since lockdown) are looking for ways to cut our food costs. Switching to vegetarian meals can really help this.
Can be beautifully balanced: Vegetarian diets can be beautifully nutritionally balanced by tapping into some great non-meat protein and healthy fat sources; tofu, beans, nuts and seeds, “mock meat”, made with soya protein or mycoprotein fibres from fungi (such as mushrooms)
Means that vegetarian burgers and sausages are easy to make or buy from the shops. Health stores have been stocking these products for decades – since the turn of the century, in fact, so do ask about what’s available. There are hundreds of products that will help you to create delicious meals.
Added extras: Don’t forget, you won’t be using animal stocks, gelatine or other animal produce used in baking. Sauces and condiments often have them hiddin within them, so do look out for ones that are listed as vegetarian on the label, or at least become an avid label reader!
Community: The vegetarian global community is a lovely collective of people, all sharing in the vision for a meat-free, more sustainable, more planet-friendly and healthy world. You’ll never be short of great features to read, people to meet with, or products to try.
To find out where your local health store is, click here.