Let’s face it – our body is not how it used to be in the digestive section. As we age, so does our metabolic function. We are reminded every day that we are responsible for what we put inside our system, giving a new light to: “you are what you eat”. This has driven a lot of us to start practicing a healthy lifestyle focused on altering our diets to time-based (hello intermittent fasting!), replacing carbs with more protein, committing to veganism, or practicing how to become a vegetarian – talk about turning a new leaf!
If you nodded at that last bit, then you are in luck! Here are 6 tips on how to ease your way into Vegetarianism:
Like any big decision, it all starts on the inside. Turning a new leaf requires focus and discipline. You have to clearly define your WHY, which will help you execute more directed HOWs. Why are you changing your eating habits? Who are you doing it for? What are your long-term goals and what are the workable steps? Set your intentions, be present, and create a more breathable space for your newly discovered passion and determination to achieving a healthier lifestyle. Remember – it’s mind over matter!
Committing to green living can be a little overwhelming. It’s a challenge to stick to a healthier diet when there are bountiful temptations of more affordable and faster food choices. When this happens, go back to the saying: “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So begin by planning – starting with your next meal! Like any great undertaking, it’s best to take it step by step. Start small with planning each meal in a day. Then, try planning a week. You’ll be surprised how much stress and temptation you take away just by planning ahead!
Pro tip: There’s no need to go cold turkey! You can implement these changes little by little – one meal a day, or 3 days a week. Slowly incorporating vegetarian meals is better for both your mind and body in the long run. Not only will it prevent shock, it’ll make it easier to sustain the lifestyle once you’ve achieved full vegetarianism.
Need some inspiration for your meal prep? Weekend markets are a gem. They have a fresh selection of greens and fruits for all your body nutrition needs – all at a reasonable cost! Since your new diet will be largely plant-based, it’s always better to invest in the freshest produce available. Not to mention, as you make your way to a healthier you, you also help the local farmers earn a living. You can take a break and enjoy refreshments and healthy snacks too! Some of the more popular weekend markets are: Sidcor Weekend Market, Salcedo Weekend Market, Aani Market in Taguig, and so much more.
Pro tip: go there at 5AM to score goods from the freshest batch. Morning people, rejoice!
Now, it’s all well and good to plan out your meals, but tracking down what you actually eat is a different, equally important exercise. You cannot measure what you do not track, and you cannot manage what you do not measure. This applies to all the changes you want to see in your life, food intake included. Starting a food journal will help you track and measure your progress and growth as you work your way into a full vegetarian lifestyle. More than the numbers, you can also jot down your joy and frustrations in the experience. The best part? When it is time to assess the numbers and you see the evident progress. Remember, consistency is key. Let’s go!
It is going to happen. You will feel the urge to eat meat. Fortunately, the advocacy of a healthier lifestyle and more greener food choices is shared by communities in key cities. It is so much easier now to scout for restaurants of food establishments that cater to vegetarian and vegan options. It is always a pleasant surprise when they have a classic dish with a veggie twist! So, take a walk (another healthier option, you are on a roll!), explore, and discover your new favorite food place that complements your green commitment.
After all these changes, do you still feel unmotivated? Maybe you’ve fallen off the wagon after weeks of hard work? Kickstart your motivation by making the journey exciting! Giving yourself a deadline might be exactly what you need. Test your creativity and discipline with a friendly-competitive challenge. Do it with friends or teammates for better accountability. Who can come up with the most creative vegetarian recipe? Who can last for 30 days? A month is a good jumpstart to slowly (but surely!) build a healthy habit. Your body will thank you for feeding it with good energy and substance. What matters is you try, and try again!
Changes requires consistency and commitment. Start with these steps, and you are well on your way to a greener, more beautiful you. We are cheering for you! You deserve it.