Choosing a Conscious Vegetarian Lifestyle
Although vegetarians need to put a little more effort into cooking and meal planning, the process doesn't have to be difficult. These tips will help you get started.
- Read up on reasons why other people choose a vegetarian lifestyle.
- Research modern, Western farming practices; they may change your mind about meat.
- Here's some recipe ideas to get you cooking meatless, Whole Wheat Ravioli with Garlic Sautéed Vegetables and Tortellini Stir-Fry.
- Make a gradual change. If you like to cook, but aren't too sure about incorporating the vegetarian lifestyle, shift toward familiar foods, like tomatoes and mushrooms, then branch out.
- Ask yourself what you enjoy eating. Consider various non-meat ways of getting protein in your diet (dairy; beans; tofu, gluten and seitan; and so on). Concentrate on a balance between protein-rich and other foods, and build meals that celebrate that balance.
- Discover tofu. It can be prepared in a number of appetizing ways - grilled, sautéed, smoked, marinated.
- Remember, it's okay to have people over for a vegetarian dinner party. Jimmy Carter did it. Host a non-meat meal.
- Cook with variety in mind, but don't worry about constant variation. Your meal need not be wild and adventurous - just simple and inclusive of comfortable vegetables.
- Remember it takes a little more effort to cook vegetarian: while it's easy to broil a steak and call it dinner, it's more difficult to broil carrots and do the same. Take the time to discover the spices, combinations of ingredients, and cooking methods that will make your meals satisfying to you.
- Take the efforts from one preparation and translate them into another. Plan out what to do with leftovers. If you've grilled a variety of vegetables, consider how they could be incorporated into a stew, sandwich or salad the next day.
- Pick up gardening! A window box of herbs is a great start and yields amazing results.
- Create a compost pile. Give back to the soil; recognize and celebrate the cycle.
- Buy as much organic produce as possible. It may be expensive, but it's worth it. You are guaranteed freshness and are supporting environmentally friendly farming procedures.
- Take pleasure in shopping for ingredients. Bask in the beauty of produce even if you don't buy it.
- Vegetarian dishes tend to take a fair amount of chopping. Be organized. Avoid frustration by doing prep work ahead of time.