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How to Become a Vegetarian Easily (It’s not that Hard as You Thought!)

How to Become a Vegetarian Easily (It’s not that Hard as You Thought!)

No matter it’s for a diet or a cleanse, you can have your own reason to become a vegetarian. The problem is, it is not easy. Many may have tried, failed and back out from it during their journey of becoming a vegetarian.

Sometimes willpower might just not be enough. Apart from motivating yourself like keeping a list of reasons and benefits to become a vegetarian, it’s important to figure out some clever methods.

I have been there before too.

I stopped eating meat in 2006 when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I learned so much about how meat and animal products affect our health. Research shows that MS patients, and people dealing with other autoimmune conditions, that eat fewer saturated fats and “inflammatory foods” maintain better health (I would challenge that this goes for most everyone.). Giving up meat was one of the best ways I could really “do something” about my new diagnosis. I stopped eating meat to achieve better health.

When I started my vegetarian journey, I started reading and through experimenting with different methods, I’ve consolidated the best tips below.

Don’t cut meat all at once. Start slowly

    Instead of eliminating all meat from your diet, eliminate one animal at a time. For instance, start with beef. Don’t eat it for 30 days. Then eliminate pork in addition to beef. Continue to eliminate a category of meat every 30 days. Eventually you’ll elimate all meat and seafood, but because of the gradual approach, it won’t feel unmanageable. Adjust the timeline to better suit your needs.

    Substitute meat with veggies strategically

    To regain the nutrition we get from meat, we need some substitutes:

      Why are those great foods to replace meat?

      1. Spinach

      Spinach is packed with iron when it is cooked. And it doesn’t contain as much fat as beef!

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      2. Beans

      There are countless kinds of beans in the market, but all of them could do the same job: protein replacement. They are high in protein, and can integrated into various dishes, making it really easy to cook with.

      3. Tofu

      Another widely used choice as a meat substitute. Not only does it provide a good amount of protein, it is also a good source of iron and calcium, and is believed to help lower levels of bad cholesterol.

      4. Eggplant

      Eggplant have always been one of the most used replacement of meat. Italians have been using them to mimic meat for centuries when the price of meat is too high. It also provides similar nutrient values to other food in this list.

      5. Avocado

      Avocado provides a large amount of proteins, fats and enzymes which are all common in meat. It is considered one of the “superfood” with its high nutrients value. Most important, it taste wonderful.

      6. Dairy and eggs

      It really depends on which type of vegetarian you are, but some do consider dairy products and eggs to be out of the list. So if you are not aiming at going “complete vegan”, these two items could be great replacements for the lost of meat.

      Beware of additives! Many of them are not vegetarian

      Being vegan meant that you will have to start learning how to read labels on products. Many additives and thickeners like gelatin are animal products which you should avoid. Sometimes products might specify they are for vegan, but for most of them you will need to read the allergen label or the ingredient chart to find out. Remember to do some research and mark down the items that are not for vegetarian. Here are some names that you should know:

      Lists of non-vegan products

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      • Carmine/cochineal (E120) – red pigment of crushed female cochineal beetle, used as a food colouring

      • Casein – from milk (a protein)

      • Lactose – from milk (a sugar)

      • Whey – from milk. Whey powder is in many products, look out for it in crisps, bread and baked products etc.

      • Collagen – from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and fish – used in cosmetics

      • Elastin – found in the neck ligaments and aorta of bovine, similar to collagen

      • Keratin – from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and fish

      • Gelatine/gelatin – obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones and is usually from cows or pigs. Used in jelly, chewy sweets, cakes, and in vitamins; as coating/capsules

      • Aspic – industry alternative to gelatine; made from clarified meat, fish or vegetable stocks and gelatine

      • Lard/tallow – animal fat

      • Shellac – obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect Tachardia lacca

      • Honey – food for bees, made by bees

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      • Beeswax (E901) – made from the honeycomb of bees, found in lipsticks, mascaras, candles, crayons etc.

      • Propolis – used by bees in the construction of their hives

      • Royal Jelly – secretion of the throat gland of the honeybee

      • Vitamin D3 – from fish-liver oil; in creams, lotions and other cosmetics

      • Lanolin (E913) – from the oil glands of sheep, extracted from their wool – in many skin care products and cosmetics

      • Albumen/albumin – from egg (typically)

      • Isinglass – a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish, and is used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer

      • Cod liver oil – in lubricating creams and lotions, vitamins and supplements

      • Pepsin – from the stomachs of pigs, a clotting agent used in vitamins

      Veganuary: Vegan Label Reading Guide

      Look for appealing vegan recipes to make it funnier

      When you got into the vegetarian lifestyle, you also opened the gate to a paradise of new food. There are many recipes out there catering to vegetarians which are filled with creativity and uniqueness. You can have a wide range of food for you to explore and experience. Here are some recipe made with the food mentioned above, you might just find the one for your dinner tonight:

      Spinach and Mozzarella Egg Bake 

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        Creamy Avocado and Spinach Pasta

           

          Vegan Buffalo Wings

             

            Eggplant Cacciatore

              Read and educate yourself with more reasons to stay off the meat

              While you are making the switch to becoming a vegetarian, read vegetarian blogs, Vegetarian Times magazine and books like

              These would reinforce your determination to become a vegetarian!

              Just answer meat eaters’ questions kindly and don’t expect them to join you

              You may experience resistance and questions about becoming a vegetarian, especially from close friends and family that don’t want to change. Be kind when answering questions and don’t expect anyone to join you. Share great vegetarian meals. Say “no thank you” when offered meat, and focus on your own commitment instead of what other people say or think.

              More by this author

              Courtney Carver

              Courtney Carver is a speaker, author, productivity expert and founder of Be More with Less.

              How to Become a Vegetarian Easily (It’s not that Hard as You Thought!) How Living Clutter-free Will Make You a Better Decision Maker How to Love the Unlovable

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              Last Updated on November 9, 2020

              10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

              10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

              Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

              Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

              Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

              If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

              Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

              1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

              Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

              Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

              Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

              2. No Motivation

              Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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              This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

              If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

              3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

              Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

              A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

              A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

              The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

              4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

              One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

              We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

              Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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              You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

              5. Upward Comparisons

              Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

              The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

              These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

              Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

              6. No Alternative

              This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

              Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

              Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

              Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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              7. Stress

              As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

              When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

              We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

              If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

              8. Sense of Failure

              People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

              Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

              Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

              If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

              9. The Need to Be All-New

              People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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              These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

              10. Force of Habit

              Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

              Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

              These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

              Final Thoughts

              These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

              There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

              More on Breaking Bad Habits

              Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
              [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
              [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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