This past Friday (February 8th) marked my 6th month as an official vegetarian!
Becoming a vegetarian is something that I had been interested in for a long time, but never committed to for one reason or another. So after months of generally eating meat-free, I decided to finally take the plunge in August, and I haven’t looked back. Sure, I’ve made a few mistakes here and there (dipping a chip into an unassuming dip at a party only to find out there’s shredded chicken in it), and I haven’t inquired in great detail while out at restaurants (is the meat-free pasta dish truly vegetarian?), but I’d say that overall the last 6 months have been a success.
I thought I would share with you what has helped me in the journey, in case some of you are toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian, but feel like they don’t have enough resources to be successful in your attempt. Or, if you’re just looking for more ways to incorporate a meat-free diet into your life (even if not all the time)! I’d be lying to you if I said it’s easy; sometimes I just want a hamburger, and I often get questioned and teased by friends and family, but at the end of the day, I know that I’m making the right decision for myself. And at the end of the day, that’s what is most important! So here are a few different things that have really helped me.
Vegetarian/Vegan blogs, with tons of delicious recipes (just to name a few):
- Oh She Glows
- The Post Punk Kitchen
- Cate’s World Kitchen
- Daily Garnish
- Namely Marly
- No Meat Athlete (running AND vegetarianism!)
- Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
- Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
- The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen
- Vegan Fire & Spice by Robin Robertson
- The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donnel
- Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Carole Raymond
All of the above blogs and cookbooks have either vegetarian or vegan recipes (some a mix, some just one). I’ve made plenty of vegan meals despite being a vegetarian. But I’ve also made plenty of vegan recipes and easily turned them into vegetarian (usually just by adding cheese). Most of them are also easily adaptable to other dietary restrictions (gluten free, etc.).
- Grains: quinoa, cous cous, farro, brown rice, lentils
- Meat substitutes: Tempeh, tofu, soy chorizo, TVP (textured vegetable soy protein)
- Beans and protein: pretty much any and all bean types, eggs, Greek yogurt
- Condiments/extras: almond butter, peanut butter, nutritional yeast, lots of spices
- Vegetables! Fruits! Milk and cheese!
- LightLife refrigerated and frozen meals
- Amy’s Kitchen frozen meals and soups
- Frozen veggie burgers (what can I say, I’m a sucker for them. Though I do love homemade!)
Obviously the above isn’t an extensive list, but just the basic things that have really helped me over the last 6 months. There are tons of resources for vegetarians and vegans (tons of blogs, websites, magazines, etc.), and while nothing will completely replace the taste of meat, there are plenty of foods and recipes that will help you not miss it so much. And I know for a lot of people, the above information is not new. But I can’t tell you how many people don’t truly know what vegetarians eat (yes, we eat more than lettuce!).
Do you have any other suggestions for resources I should check out (food brands, recipes, blogs)?
Are you a vegetarian? Ever gave it a try, or thinking about it?