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Is Vegetarian Right For Me?

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With so many options now available for meat-free alternatives it is easier than ever to make the switch to a vegetarian. That being said, it can still be an over whelming process when you have no idea where to start. I know because I have been there, which is why it took me years to fully make the switch. Although I never want to flat out tell anyone they should or should not become a vegetarian, I do want to set realistic expectations. These are factors to consider when asking yourself if a vegetarian diet is the right choice for you.

Protein is Important

A common misconception is that eating vegetarian means just taking the meat out of a meal. Meat offers various nutritional values that need to be replaced somehow, the most important being protein. Your body uses protein to repair tissues, build your immune system, and keep your hormones in balance. Not getting enough protein can cause issues such as mood changes, feeling tired, getting sick, and not being able to feel full. A lack of protein can also cause your hair and nails to grow weak and brittle. I have a list of my top proteins here.

Vegetarian is Expensive

You can live low budget vegetarian, but the amount of meal prepping will cost you time. It can also be expensive buying vegetarian meals instead. When I was first trying to go meat-free I struggled to find the balance between the two. This is not to discourage you from trying a meat-free diet, I am merely setting a realistic expectation. Researching meals that fit your budget ahead of time and coming up with a menu for your week can really help. Starting off with simple meals is also a great way to adjust.

Meat is EVERYWHERE

Obviously, some foods are easy to tell if they contain meat. Checking the ingredients on foods that do not appear to have meat and are not labeled as vegetarian or vegan friendly is important. Meat and animal by product get added to all sorts of foods and it is not always easy to identify. Take McDonald’s fries in the United States for example, according to their website the fries contain beef. Other ingredients can be harder to identify, such as gelatin which is made from various animal products. This can make eating out a chore. Food is often fried together so nonmeat items could be fried with meat. An example of this is Buffalo Wild Wings. Their allergen chart shows that all their food is fried in beef shortening, meaning nothing fried on their menu is vegetarian.

Vegetarian Junk Food Exists

A common misconception with any kind of elimination diet, such as going gluten free or vegetarian, is that you are automatically healthy. Not everyone going meat-free enjoys eating all healthy foods. This is ok, but it is so easy to fill up on junk foods that offer no nutritional value. It can also be super easy to eat unhealthy quick options, such as freezer meals. If the meat filled version is unhealthy, the vegetarian version will most likely be as well. When you are looking to use vegetarian to eat healthier than you will need to make a lot of meals from scratch. I find it helpful to have snack options that help with my sweet tooth but are still relatively healthy. One of my favorite recipes is black bean brownies because they taste like brownies and have extra protein from the beans.

Should You Go Meat-Free?

At the end of the day this is something only you (or your doctor) can truly decide. My goal here is not to discourage someone who cannot decide if they want to go meat-free or pressure anyone into thinking they need to. I don’t think there is one right reason or one wrong reason to go meat-free. My main reason was that I simply do not enjoy the taste or texture of most meats. I think there are a lot of benefits to going meat-free, such as eating healthier when done properly. I cannot tell you specifically if you should go meat-free, but I hope this post helps you make a more informed choice.

Author

savvy@blogwithsavvy.com

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My Top 5 Vegetarian Proteins

September 24, 2021