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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.

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              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

              I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

              1. The Inner Critic

              This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

              • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

              He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

              Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

              2. The Worrier

              This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

              He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

              Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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              3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

              He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

              He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

              He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

              4. The Sleep Depriver

              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

              His motivation can be:

              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

              How can you control these squatters?

              How to Master Your Mind

              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

              This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

              For the Inner Critic

              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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              You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

              • He riles up the Worrier.
              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
              • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
              • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
              • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

              Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

              For the Worrier

              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tense

              Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

              Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

              For example:

              If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

              For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

              • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tension

              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

              Breathe in through your nose:

              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
              • Focus on your belly rising.

              Breathe out through your nose:

              • Feel your lungs emptying.
              • Focus on your belly falling.
              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

              Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

              For the Sleep Depriver

              (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
              2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

              From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
              • Shut down your thinking.
              • Calm your feelings.
              • Simply focus on the present moment. 

              Becoming the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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