female enjoying pulp of passion fruit

Your Vegetarian Baby

Most of us have to make a transition from a meat-eating diet to a vegetarian one.  And while the outcome is one you are happy about, that transition is sometimes difficult.  And once you have made the conversion, it’s easy to regret the years you were a meat eater.  So if you were able to maintain a good vegetarian diet throughout pregnancy, you are in the position to start your child off in life as a pure vegetarian with no previous exposure to meat at all.  What a wonderful gift.

Now whether you decide to breastfeed is very much an individual choice and may be driven by your ability physically.  If you do go that route, you can continue the higher vitamin levels that your pregnancy has in your diet.  By keeping your diet pure and of a high vitamin content, you are continuing to pass that good quality vegetarian diet on to your baby each week he or she depends on you for breast milk.

Vegetarian Grocery

Your vegetarian grocery or market will be a huge benefit to you in finding formulas and baby foods to turn to when the time to wean the baby comes along.  Soy formulas are a great way to keep the protein and vitamin quality high in a baby’s first foods and still stay away from anything animal related.  In addition to your vegetarian market, the internet is full of great information about how to supply your baby with great vegetarian formulas early in life.  Combine that with the advice you can get from other vegetarian mothers who have gone down this path before you and you have great resources to draw on to give your baby just what she needs in these first months.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

You may get some advice from those who are not in touch with the vegetarian lifestyle to put the child on cow’s milk as a next step from breast milk.  But be sure you hold your ground because this transition is a critical one and your plans to raise your children in a purely vegetarian or vegan house depend on keeping to your plans and not going to cow milk in the little one’s infancy.

Also, do not allow too much iron in your baby’s diet.  The higher iron in your system helped your infant be born with a surplus so you can ease off on that level of vitamin content during the first months of life.  This is why soy formula is a good choice because the vitamin content is a good fit for what your baby needs.  However, do not give the baby soy milk but stick with customized baby products for the first year.  Soy milk is not designed for newborns.

Vegetable-Based Cereals

Around six months of age, you can start to give your baby vegetable-based cereals. Rice cereal is a great choice as it is the right consistency for a little one to digest.   Again, you can find good nutritious baby foods to use for the first year in your vegetarian market or you can get good with your food processor and create your own baby foods for her from fresh produce.  That is the best way because all of the nutrition is there right out of the food processor.

You already have a good feel for the best combinations of foods from your own vegetarian diet and the diet you have your children on if they too are vegetarians so you can adapt those recipes to fit what you prepare for baby.  But don’t neglect to continue your education by finding vegetarian-based baby books about introducing all-natural foods to your child as each month goes by.

By being careful, there is no reason you cannot take your baby from birth through toddlerhood using all-natural, vegetarian recipes all the way.  The little one will develop a natural love of vegetable flavors and he or she will be off and running on a lifelong love of foods that are not from the meat food groups at all.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

fruit salads in plate

Will Vegetarianism Change the World?

Vegetarianism

We all fear change.  And when we see a “movement” start to get momentum in society, it’s easy to fear it is being imposed on us by some sinister force out to ruin our way of life.  That instinct to fear to change at a social level goes way back.  But the truth is that society does change and evolve and often for the better.

The anti-smoking movement of the last three decades is a good example of positive social change.  When the move to eliminate smoking from our national life first started, many people feared it was the work of radical left-wingers who wanted to take away our rights.  But as more and more discussion of the good of eliminating smoking from people’s lives occurred, it became obvious that smoking was not something good people should have a right to engage in any more than getting a dread disease is a right and a natural part of the culture.  So smoking has slowly been eliminated from public life and we are healthier people as a result.

Cultural Discussion

As the move toward more healthy ways to live has continued to be part of our cultural discussion and in the last decade or so, vegetarianism has taken center stage.  As before, many fear the natural evolution of society away from meat consumption and toward a natural way of eating as vegetarians is a sinister plot of the radical left to deprive us of our right to eat meat and so take away one of our freedoms.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

This is far from the truth.  But that doesn’t mean that vegetarianism is not going to change the world and become more the norm than the unusual.  That is because becoming a vegetarian is a natural step for many of us who are concerned about weight loss, long life, and health.  The national obsession with weight loss and avoiding sickness is so strong that it’s impossible to ignore.  Part of the reason for that is that a lot of companies are making a lot of money selling us ways to live healthily and lose weight.

What these companies don’t want you to know is that you don’t need pills or expensive programs.  You can live a healthier life and lose weight naturally by simply becoming a vegetarian.  But as that truth becomes more well-known, the movement will pick up momentum and more and more people will see the good in eliminating meat and meat byproducts from their diets.  If that happens the answer is yes, vegetarianism may very well take over the world.

What should be our response to the rapidly growing social momentum toward vegetarianism?  Should we buy guns and retreat to the hills to fight a final battle with the vegetarian zombies who want to rob us of our lifestyle?  Not at all.  Putting the vegetarian movement into context with the move to reduce the negative impacts of smoking on our lives helps give us a perspective of what to expect. 

If you once smoked and have quit because it has become so socially unacceptable to smoke, you no doubt are glad by now that you did so.  Why?  Because you are more healthy, happier, and more energetic and you will live longer.  That good change may have been imposed on you by society but you benefited from the change.

If society moves more toward vegetarian living because of the common sense of living a healthy way that is in concert with the ethical treatment of animals, organic living, and living green, it will change the way we work as a society.  It is easy to look down the road to a time when eating meat is unusual and there are more vegetarian restaurants and markets than any other kind.

But this is not a social change to be feared.  Yes, when you join the vegetarian revolution, just as it was when you quit smoking, it may be difficult and you may resent it.  But when you have made the change, you will find yourself healthier, happier, slimmer, and living longer as a result.  And even if you hated seeing vegetarianism change the world, in the final analysis, we all will be better people if it does.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

cooked vegetables on white ceramic plate

Vegetarians are NOT Crazy

Vegetarians are NOT Crazy

One of the things that often holds up a lot of people from considering a lifestyle of vegetarianism is a negative stereotype of vegetarians that is really not at all accurate.  Of course, there are extremists in any discipline and the same is true of vegetarians or vegans.  It’s good to dig a bit deeper and put any preconceptions on hold that might be holding you back from what would be a wonderful lifestyle choice.

It is true that the vegetarian way of life can be part of a larger spiritual discipline as well.  But you can get a lot of good from a life of vegetarian eating even if it is not part of your religious or moral life.  So if you are hesitant to explore making a switch to a vegetarian diet, you don’t have to also join a new religious or social community to get just as much out of it as anyone.

When you begin to explore the work of vegetarian disciplines, you will find a wide variety of types of people who enjoy the lifestyle.  The vegetarian “community” is a diverse population with cultures of people who are at various levels of commitment to the vegetarian lifestyle.  There is no reason to have guilt or fear if you wish to start out slowly.  In fact, starting out just easing into a vegetarian way of life is a good way to find out where in the discipline you feel comfortable. 

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

Becoming A Vegetarian

The first myth about becoming a vegetarian to overcome then is the idea that as soon as you make a commitment to start cutting meat from your diet, you will necessarily become part of some strange Eastern cult that will change your beliefs and your way of life.  The huge majority of people who make a vegetarian lifestyle their own are normal people just like you. 

It might surprise you if you found out that it’s very likely that many of your neighbors and coworkers are quietly enjoying a lifestyle of vegetarian living.  And becoming a vegetarian does NOT “turn you into” some kind of obnoxious wild-eyed religious fanatic.  In fact, you can enjoy all the benefits of being a vegetarian and live happily among others who are not following your diet choices.  And you can be a vegetarian and develop a reasonable diet that still allows you to get your protein from cheese, fish, and other traditional sources as you cut out the more conspicuous sources of protein such as beef and chicken.

Just as it’s a good thing for you to get over the idea that becoming a vegetarian is some kind of strange or “bizarre” idea, you should discard quickly any fears that you will be seen as odd or peculiar when you inform your friends and loved ones you have made this lifestyle choice.  There is no “coming out of the closet” to becoming a vegetarian.  As long as it is as natural as switching to low-fat milk from whole milk to you, it will be natural for your friends and loved ones. 

The people you know well will watch your behavior closely to see if there is any reason to worry about you in making this change.  If they detect you are going to be angry at them for not following you into vegetarianism or that you are going to become “an evangelist” for living without meat, then they will become nervous and avoid you, especially at mealtime. 

But if your vegetarian lifestyle is a choice you can make without disrupting the lives of others and one you can live in harmony with others who are not vegetarians, you will demonstrate to them that it is no problem that you just eat different things than they do and that above all vegetarians are NOT crazy.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

bowl of vegetable salad

Vegetarianism the Easy Way

“Make it easy on yourself.”

I like that phrase.  And it’s a good motto for learning a new skill or going through a big life transition.  When you decide to explore becoming a vegetarian, it is very easy to get scared off by what appears to be a difficult road ahead.  But the truth is, there is an easy way and a hard way to become a vegetarian.  So in keeping with our motto of the day of “make it easy on yourself”, let’s discuss vegetarianism the easy way.

First of all, along with learning a new way to eat, you are also giving up something you probably have loved to eat for years.  So to reduce the difficulty in going through this transition, don’t try to accomplish the entire transition in one day.  We have a mistaken concept about vegetarians that the conversion is instantaneous as though one day the person was eating all the meat he or she could find and in a flash, they became a robe-wearing, mantra-singing vegetarian.  But that is a complete myth.  Most successful vegetarians found their way into the discipline in stages and gave up meat slowly.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

You might take on your vegetarian transition one meal at a time.  First, give up eggs and bacon for breakfast and switch to grain cereals or pancakes.  Don’t try to give up cheese and milk at first.  Select specific items you will eliminate from specific meals and just accomplish that for a week or so.  Then once you have conquered that step, add lunch, and then much later add dinner.  And don’t throw your hands up and give up if you have a moment of weakness and have a hamburger one day.  You won’t be drummed out of the vegetarian society for one mistake in your program.  Just get back with it and keep on keeping on.

Meatless Diet

Find ways to see some success by being reasonable and sensible about how you approach your meal planning.  If one of your goals for switching to a meatless diet is to lose weight, don’t substitute sugars and sweets for the meat.  If you find yourself eating without meat but each day you have a big bowl of fruit drowned in sugary additives, you won’t lose the weight and you might mistakenly think your program failed you.  Think about what you eat so you don’t sabotage your own diet.

One of the things that scares a lot of people away from trying vegetarianism is the idea of having to learn to eat exotic and expensive new foods such as tofu, and tempeh.  So make it easy on yourself and eat the foods you know.  By doing your shopping in your own grocery store and buying more food from the produce section than the meat section, you will be working with foods like carrots, onions, garlic, broccoli, celery, and cabbage and that familiarity will make the transition to becoming a vegetarian easier to take.  Also by shopping where you are comfortable and eating “normal” foods, you eliminate the sensation that you are joining some bizarre cult. 

Now make it fun.  Yes, it can be fun to be a vegetarian.  You can start shopping at farmer’s markets instead of the boring grocery store and select very fresh produce and vegetables for your next cooking experiment.  Not only are outdoor markets more fun, but you will also find them cheaper so instead of seeing your food budget go up because of becoming a vegetarian, it goes down.  Then by working as a family to find fun vegetarian recipes and working together to make them, everybody gets in on the act of discovering how delicious vegetarian meals can be.  And when you are having fun, you may forget entirely that you dreaded this transition.  Before long, you are a vegetarian and it didn’t hurt a bit!

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

person holding sliced vegetable

Vegetarian on a Budget

Vegetarians on a Budget

In many family budgets, one of the biggest food expenses is often meat.  So in theory at least becoming a vegetarian should be an outstanding financial maneuver.  In theory, if all you ate was rice and vegetables, you should be able to live for very little. 

But theory and reality are often far apart from each other.  Because the culture of vegetarian living has developed so many high-quality foods to fill the gap left behind by a good steak or a plate of barbeque ribs, you can spend as much or more on your vegetarian lifestyle as you did when you were a meat eater.  The high cost of living as a vegetarian is not entirely attributable to gourmet foods, however. 

The truth is if you are going to live day in day out and month in and month out on a vegetarian diet, not only do you need some high-quality foods to substitute for taking a whole food group out of your diet, you need variety.  The quality is needed because your health is on the line if you don’t get the proper nutrients.   Diversity is needed because if you get bored with the vegetarian lifestyle, you may quit and give up.  And nobody wants that.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

Normal Diet

Another reason that the cost of vegetarian eating is often higher than a “normal” diet comes from the fact that vegetarians are still in the minority.  So prepared vegetarian foods and vegetarian-only restaurants are rare.  And to be able to make a profit, these specialty stores must charge a lot because they are specialty stores.  Unfortunately, even though we see the vegetarian community as a supportive one if you are going to be able to afford the vegetarian lifestyle, you are going to have to learn to cut costs.

Cutting costs means eliminating shopping at “boutique” vegetarian markets and no more eating out.  Or at least it means cutting down on eating out significantly.  You can buy fresh vegetables and fruits at farmers’ markets or grocery stores that are just as valid as vegetarian options as any you get at a specialty store.  Using a good food processor and other means, you can chop, dice, boil and puree just about any kind of vegetarian meal that you might be able to imagine getting in a restaurant.  And at a much lower cost.  Not only that but the leftovers can go into a compost pile to make fertilizer for your garden when you can grow your own vegetables next spring.

That “grower to consumer” market that often surfaces as a farmer’s market is a great way to save lots of money also because you are buying your produce directly from the farmer and you cut the grocery store out of the loop entirely.  One way to make sure you capitalize on every opportunity to buy inexpensive produce is to work as a community.  Get about a dozen vegetarian families working together to always be on the lookout for a great buy.  One might find a small farmer’s market or roadside stand that is selling produce far below grocery store prices.  Another might find a farmer who will basically give his food away just to clear the field.  With some coordination, you could field an army of vegetarians to grab those bargains while they are fresh and stock everybody’s kitchen with low-cost fresh produce.

These are just a few of many ways you can find to save money on your vegetarian groceries and still have just as much quality but without as much cost.  By shopping smart and shopping for bargains, you can live a vegetarian life and feel good about it because you are not only healthy, you are smart.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

green leaf near white vegetarian tile

The Vegetarian Quality of Life

The Vegetarian Quality of Life

It is unfortunate that many people are not very understanding of why it is difficult for people who are not exposed to the vegetarian philosophy cannot understand why living without meat in your diet is not only a better way to live, it is a better way to eat as well. but unless you were born a vegetarian and raised that way, there was some point when you went through that transition. You may be able to remember thinking that vegetarians were nutty and when you could not imagine a meal that did not have meat as its core ingredient. 

Society doesn’t help us evolve toward a meat-free world.  For one thing, there is an entire industry devoted to keeping us hooked on meats.  While that may not be as sinister and frightening as industries keeping us hooked on cigarettes, it does mean that these industries must thrive on raising and selling meat so there is no “understanding” coming from these powerful lobbies.  Restaurants often are also not helpful when 90% of their menu offerings are meat-based and when they do serve the meals, they are in such large portions that their guests naturally eat too much and the wrong things at that.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

Fortunately, the vegetarian way of life is becoming more common and more understood every year.  As more and more people see the value of becoming a vegetarian and how much their quality of life will improve, the vegetarian culture continues to grow.  And as the population moves in this direction, the business will follow and we will see more and more businesses and restaurants wanting to serve a growing vegetarian population.  When you see Mcdonald’s offering salads and vegetable alternatives as they have done in the last few years, you know that the vegetarian quality of life is getting to be more well-known.

Quality Of Life

It’s good for those of us that can plainly see that the difference in the quality of life as a vegetarian compared to before the transition is as different as night and day to be able to have some understanding of our cultural bias toward meat eating.  After all, civilization has been meat based for a long time.  Perhaps as far back as the caveman days, the male urge to hunt meat for food is deeply ingrained in us as a species.  So to switch to becoming a culture that hunts for vegetables rather than meats is going to be a difficult transition at a cultural level and it is going to take some time.

We should take heart from other large-scale changes to how culture works because as a people, we can change.  The migration away from smoking is a great example.  Just a scant 20 or so years ago, smoking was considered a natural way of life, and almost everybody smoked.  As the dangers of smoking became more evident and as the quality of life nonsmokers enjoyed became more clear, slowly society responded.

This is not to say the change came easy.  Giving up meat may be as difficult for some as giving up cigarettes is.  But we now live in a world where public smoking is rare and the percentage of smokers to nonsmokers in society is small.  That is progress and we can use that movement as inspiration so that we too can bring society around to understand that giving up meat as the heart of our national diet will result in a higher quality of life for everyone.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

positive multiracial family cooking together in kitchen

The Vegetarian Mom to Be

Vegetarian Mom

Whether you are already a vegetarian and have learned you were pregnant or you are adopting the vegetarian lifestyle along with your pregnancy, it’s important to be aware of the special needs of your body and the body of that infant inside you so you supplement your diet appropriately for a healthy pregnancy.

For obvious reasons, calcium is one of the biggest concerns for your diet if you are taking meat out of your meal planning.  If you have not already eliminated milk and cheese from your diet but are at the level of vegetarian meal planning of just eliminating meat, it might be wise to leave those other items in your diet for the course of your pregnancy so you have a natural and abundant source of calcium and protein in those diary products. But there are other sources of calcium you can draw on from your diet including tofu, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, and others.

Vitamins

Next to Calcium, Vitamin D is a big need for the development of your pregnancy.  Rather than resort to pills, there is a natural source of plenty of vitamin D – sunlight.  By getting about twenty minutes of good sunshine each day, you will naturally absorb the vitamin D you need.  But be sure you go out in weak sunlight without sunblock so you get the good of your time outdoors but don’t get a sunburn.  If you cannot get direct sunlight one day due to weather or other hindrances, you can get some Vitamin D from cereals and milk if that is allowed in your diet.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

B12 can be a problem on a vegetable diet because it is not abundant just in plants.  You can get B12 from soy milk or using vitamin-enhanced cereals that will give you the levels you need.  Just remember when reading the vitamin ingredient panel on cereals that the minimum daily requirements listed there are not for pregnant women.  You will have to dig a bit deeper to know what the actual values of B12 requirements are and how much you need to supplement your diet to continue a healthy pregnancy.  So consult with your doctor to know exactly what to do to keep your nutrition levels up.  Your doctor can also help you modify your vegetarian diet plan to accommodate the extra vitamin needs of a growing baby inside you.

Iron is a big requirement for women in any stage of life because of the increased demand during menstruation.  But during pregnancy, that need is even more critical and the levels of iron your body needs are much greater, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.  Good sources of iron include beans, molasses, seeds, leafy vegetables, and nuts.  Some cereals and bread are also iron supplemented but as before, make sure the levels are what you need nutritionally.  And if you are not getting a full complement of iron each day, don’t be shy about turning to vitamin supplements.

Any vegetarian diet must be balanced so you get enough protein in your system because, for most of us, meat, cheese, and milk are our primary sources of protein.  But because that little one is growing rapidly inside you, your need for protein is even more important.  You can get plenty of protein if your vegetarian meal plans are well-rounded and include soy milk and other natural sources of protein.  But be aware of the need and organize your daily diet accordingly.

Zink is another vitamin that often gets overlooked and the need for it in a vegetarian diet supporting pregnancy is great.  So put some thought into making sure you get your Zink from whole grains and other forms of natural foods.

You may become a bit of a nutritional expert during your pregnancy but if you do, that’s a worthwhile area of knowledge.  Early in your pregnancy, consult your doctor about vitamin supplements to keep on hand.  While it is preferable to get your nutrition from your foods and you want to enjoy as natural a pregnancy as possible, don’t hesitate to turn to these supplements if the need comes up.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

sliced tomato and avocado on white plate

The Teenage Vegetarian

The Teenage Vegetarian

Because the younger generation is often more in touch with world culture than adults, teenagers are in general more attuned to the environmental movement, to issues involving organic farming, and to the reasons for becoming a vegetarian.  So as more and more teenagers experiment with vegetarianism, the better informed they are about what it really means to live meat free, the better. Then even if they do not continue their lifestyle as a vegetarian, their experience was an educational one and they will be well informed should be chosen to continue as a vegetarian in later life.

For parents of teenagers who wish to explore the vegetarian lifestyle, there are more reasons to celebrate than worry.  There are numerous health benefits to developing a vegetarian diet and if their new passion reduces the amount of fast food and junk food they eat, that’s a good thing.  You will naturally worry if your teenager is getting enough protein if they forgo the eating of meat.  By helping them learn about a well-rounded vegan or vegetarian diet, they can derive all of their nutritional needs from natural foods and realize the many benefits of a vegetarian life along the way.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

Vegetarian Lifestyle

A basic level of knowledge your teen should become educated about early on is the various scales of severity that they can “go for” in their move into a vegetarian lifestyle.  Many times a teenager just wants to be able to stake the claim to being a vegetarian.  In that case, simply giving up meat may be sufficient.  It is possible to design a program like that and still enjoy cheese, eggs, fish, and dairy and the transition to such a diet is not as extreme.

Another word of caution that your teen may take to heart if they seek adult counsel about trying a vegetarian lifestyle is the difficulty of making the transition.  Teenagers are naturally impulsive and extreme so they may just “go vegetarian” in one day so they can go to school and lay claim to the title.  But they can still have that reward and plan to ease into a vegetarian discipline and avoid the problems that an extreme change of diet can cause, especially for active teen bodies.  For example, even if the new teen vegetarian just excludes meat from one meal, that still counts as starting their path toward a meat-free life.  And if that is not sufficient for your youngster, just cutting meat out of lunch and dinner may be enough. 

One of the biggest concerns that you should help your teen be aware of is their vitamin needs in any new diet program.  While a switch to a total vegetable diet will have many positive influences, you should make sure they are getting enough protein and other essential vitamins that they used to get from meat in their diet.  Calcium, B12, zinc, and iron are all essential vitamins, especially for young people that must be found elsewhere if they decide to stop eating meat.  You can help your teenager enjoy a successful exploration of the vegetarian lifestyle and not face health risks by just being aware of their vitamin needs and making sure they get those vitamins in pill form until their food replacement program gets them the way they need.

It’s a tricky walk to guide a teenager through an interest in a vegetarian life because it is possible that many of the new foods they will have to get used to may not have the right tastes which will tempt them to give up the program.  While as a parent you can have an influence over making their home life vegetarian diet a success, you may need to help them understand that their choices are limited when eating out so they are prepared to make the sacrifice for the sake of staying within their vegetarian guidelines.

Even though teenagers are compulsive and extreme, deep down they do not want to get sick or eat the wrong things.  It’s a balancing act to allow they to try things like becoming a vegetarian and for us as parents to both do all we can to make it a good experience but also to bring the wisdom they count on their elders for so they can explore the vegetarian lifestyle fully and then walk away from it if they wish and have learned a little bit about vegetarians along the way.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

men sits of sofa

The Social Vegetarian

The Social Vegetarian

Whenever you make a major change in your lifestyle, having a strong support group around you is crucial.  And the decision to become a vegetarian is definitely a major change of lifestyle.  So one of the best ways you can ensure your success in making this transition is to build a strong support structure around you for support, friendship, and advice.  This does not mean you are not going to continue to maintain your existing friendships and relationships. 

But our friendship network is always going to reflect our values.  And when you make the change to a vegetarian way of life, your values reflect the new priorities in your life.  So you will want to be able to spend time with people who not only understand your reasons for becoming a vegetarian but know the ins and out of the lifestyle you are learning.  So making it an ambition to find new friendships in the vegetarian community makes good sense.

Vegetarian Movement

The vegetarian movement is closely tied to the “green” and organic movements so you can find “haunts” around town where these kinds of people gather.  Natural food stores or even clothing stores that focus on organic materials will also have a clientele that is no doubt vegetarian.  Vegetarianism is also popular on college campuses and in the bohemian parts of society so you may find a good resource for new friends in those cafés and coffee houses.  And these populations will provide you with very colorful and fascinating people to build a support group around as well.

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

While you are visiting these local “hangouts” where the vegetarian community shops or dines, keep an eye on the public bulletin boards or other announcement resources. There you will find lecture series, clubs, vegetarian cooking classes and schools, and other social events where the vegetarian community will gather.  Any costs associated with being involved with these kinds of organizations and taking classes that further your knowledge of the vegetarian lifestyle will pay off.  Not only will you learn a lot, but you will also come out of such events with plenty of new friends you can use to build your new vegetarian social world around.

The larger vegetarian world is a rich source of information for you about your new lifestyle.  By subscribing to newsletters and researching vegetarian issues at the library or your local public library, you are going to be drawn to the local vegetarian subculture as well.  By being proactive in finding new social contacts, your support group will grow quickly.

The internet is another rich source of new friendships and vegetarian social contacts that you can explore entirely online but might open up new contacts for you locally as well.  Message boards, newsletters, email lists, and chat rooms that are devoted to the vegetarian lifestyle.  These online sources will also point you to local events and new groups forming based on the vegetarian way of life.  But you can take the initiative and build an online community that you then sponsor social gatherings.  By having your new vegetarian friends over to share recipes, enjoy a dinner and talk about vegetarian, green, and healthy living issues, you not only make new friends that understand you, but you are making the vegetarian community stronger for the next person who might come along after you who will also need the support and friendship of you and others in your local setting to encourage their big step into this lifestyle. 

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

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The Rules of Being a Vegetarian

The Rules of Being a Vegetarian

Becoming a vegetarian is not like joining a club or enlisting in the army. There is a lot of freedom and leverage to how “deep” you go into the vegetarian lifestyle and how intense and limiting you make your diet.  So while there really are no “rules” for becoming a vegetarian, there are some scales of severity to be aware of so you know where you wish to enter the vegetarian world and how much you want to limit your diet.  And there are some guidelines for how to be successful in your quest for a healthier and more ethical way of life.

The first thing to be aware of is that the extremes of vegetarian diets have a lot of variety.  You can be considered a vegetarian by eliminating only beef, chicken, and animal meats from your diet.  This approach to vegetarianism is the easiest place to start because you can still get your protein from eating fish, cheese, eggs, and other dairy products so you don’t feel so deprived at first.  Then if you are successful in eliminating animal meats, you can then consider going further into the vegetarian lifestyle. 

Over 100 Delicious Vegan Recipes!

Varieties Of Vegetarianism

It’s good to be educated about the varieties of vegetarianism because you may be talking to an enthusiast about the lifestyle that is of a “camp” that is not right for you.  The cultures or genres of vegetarianism include…

  • Lacto vegetarianism – this is a nice next step from just eliminating animal meats from your diet because you add eggs and dairy to your list of things to avoid.  Many people are interested in vegetarianism for ethical reasons because of their desire not to cause suffering to animals like this approach because eating eggs and dairy encourage those industries to continue to victimize chickens and cows.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is the formal name for the very basic kind of vegetarianism we started our discussion with where you can continue to enjoy dairy and egg products.  Most vegetarians can be comfortable with this approach because you get many of the health benefits from eliminating animal meat from your diet and you are doing something to help the animal rights cause without going extreme
  • Ovo-vegetarianism is another variety of vegetarians that eliminates meat and dairy but allows you to have eggs as a staple of your diet to continue to get protein from your morning omelet.  Its another compromise but a nice step to the next step if you want to move on to more restrictive diets as you get used to each step along the way
  • Veganism is not a religion but it is the most restrictive form of vegetarianism because you eliminate meat, all dairy, and even honey and become a pure vegetarian.  For many, this is too extreme or may be a goal for the future.

If you were to attend a class on “how to become a vegetarian”, the rules for being successful would be the same most of the time.  Those rules call for you to resist the urge to get radical about your diet and to start day one at the Vegan level after eating meat for most of your life.  The impact on your body can be extreme and you do not give yourself time to learn how to eat in a healthy way to replace the nutrients and vitamins in meat with natural vegetarian substitutes.

It is highly advised you take it slow and ease into your vegetarian program.  If you are too extreme, vitamin deficiencies can leave you open to disease.  And if you get sick from a too-aggressive approach to vegetarianism, you may give up and miss out on the many benefits the vegetarian lifestyle has for you.  And that would be a tremendous tragedy.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”