Health Fitness Revolution is happy to introduce a new contributing author, Jessica Deaver. She is a vegetarianism advocate and will be sharing her wisdom and guidance to any readers that are either already vegetarians or toying with the idea of making that lifestyle change:
The decision to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle is a personal one. Some make the commitment to live a healthier life or to help the environment, while others do not agree with the way that animals suffer for our benefit. Whatever your reasons may be, the transition involves mental commitment, socio-cultural and physiological changes in your life.
No matter what you try to do in life, if you want to succeed at something you need to have a strong commitment to achieve the goal. If you just want to try vegetarianism, then give yourself a few weeks and let that be your commitment. If this is a choice you want to make permanently, then find the one defining image of your reason for change and keep it vividly in your mind. This image might be a word, a sentence, a sound, or a video. Just remember it when you feel your commitment challenged.
No one likes to be seen as a ‘picky eater’. This could be a result of historical events like the Great Depression that caused many families to wait in long lines for any available food. It could also simply be the western celebration of lifestyles of indulgence. Whatever the cause, refusing some dishes puts you in an uncomfortable position.
For many, the best solution is to come prepared at restaurants with a well-rehearsed explanation. At family dinners, offer to bring a dish that accommodates your new vegetarian lifestyle. Know that your choice is your choice. Be confident and even excited to discuss this choice. More people than you expect will be interested in the benefits of a vegetarian diet. It could also help to tailor the conversation to the group and setting.
Being prepared is key- if you know you are going to be in a fine dining restaurant for an event with business colleagues, call ahead at the restaurant and ask for vegetarian options. Chefs love to talk about food and despite the popular belief that they will only cook what they want to cook; many enjoy the discussion of ways to cater to their guests. If you find yourself having to dine out often for work make a list of vegetarian friendly eateries in your city for various budgets and keep it in your wallet.
By doing some research beforehand you can not only save money but also create a strong healthy diet that boosts your immune system and gives you extra energy! All 20 amino acids that make up complete proteins needed by the body can be obtained in a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarians can also obtain proteins from their diets which contain enzymes which help with digestion. On a vegetarian diet, you body will naturally create the hormones which regulate growth and many bodily systems, and help build muscle, skin and other support tissue while boosting a healthy immune system.
In order to get the benefits of this essential building block, eat beans, quinoa, broccoli, and seitan. Avocadoes are delicious and have 4 grams of protein. They also help to open arteries as well as provide other healthful benefits like beautiful hair, skin, and nails. Try cooking comfort foods like homemade chili but leaving out the meat. Make sure to do your research.
Vitamin supplements are convenient, but they are not absorbed by the body as well as vitamins found in whole foods. Better sources of B vitamins like kombucha, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, beans and chili peppers can be easily incorporated into a healthy, well-rounded diet.
In order to go veg the right way, stop buying meat products. If you have them in your house, have a close friend over for dinner and cook what is left in your fridge for them and make a vegetarian friendly dish for yourself. Some dinners can be easily made vegetarian by simply separating a portion of the meal to leave the meat out. Shopping is the fun part- try visiting a farmers market or a new grocery store to change the experience of shopping for yourself.
Whatever the reasons, a healthy vegetarian lifestyle is better than one with processed and mass produced meat. For all age groups and lifestyles, living a plant based lifestyle is proving beneficial and gentler on our world. Read up, and eat confident!