It’s one thing to cut down or cut back on the number of burgers you eat in a week. It’s quite another to give them up altogether. But it can be done.
Many leading health experts agree that eliminating meat-based items from your diet and relying solely on plant-based foods is the best way to get the optimal nutrition your body needs. Like any other habit, a slow transition, taking one step at a time, is the most comfortable way to establish a new lifestyle habit.
Here are five simple steps based on the tips outlined in the â€˜Vegetarian Starter Kitâ€™ which is published by PETA, and can be ordered at their website www.peta.org.
1. Start by simply â€˜vegging upâ€™ your favorite recipes. One easy way to do this is to replace the beef, pork or chicken in a protein-based recipe with vegetarian crumbles from brands such as Morningstar Farms or Boca. Both brands can be found in local grocer’s freezer section and both items take on the flavors of the items they are mixed with. Replace pepperoni with olives, mushrooms, peppers and onions to add a burst of flavor to pizzas, top baked potatoes with salsa instead of sour cream.
2. Ease the transition with â€˜mock meats.â€™ You can find faux burgers, patties, â€˜ribletsâ€™ and â€˜chickenâ€™ or â€˜turkeyâ€™ slices in the freezer section and use them the same way you would use a meat product. The best news â€“ they are naturally cholesterol-free, because they’re plant-based.
3. Make the library your personal cookbook collection. Check out a few cookbooks, whip up a few recipes and bookmark your favorites. If there’s a book you really like, buy a copy so you always have it handy. A few starters to consider: – “The New Moosewood Cookbook,” by Mollie Katzen â€“ a February, 2000 update based on the original 1977 classic – “The Compassionate Cook,” by Ingrid Newkirk â€“ the author and founder of PETA – “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone,” by Deborah Madison â€“ includes over 800 recipes, and specifics on selecting produce, preparation techniques and other culinary revelations
4. Don’t let eating on the run make you run out of veggies. Microwavable meals are also veg-friendly. Check out your refrigerator and freezer sections for options ranging from black bean enchiladas to soy yogurts. Don’t forget classics such as guacamole and chips (made with vegetable oil) or a simple garden salad.
5. Go Ethnic & Vegetarian â€“ with classics from other culinary cultures. Borrow from Thai and Indian cuisines’ vegetable curries, hummus and falafel from the Middle East and Japanese vegetarian sushi with avocado and cucumber.
For more information, online shopping lists, books and reasons why a vegetarian diet may be right for you, go to www.goveg.com.