Making the decision to become a vegetarian is a life changing choice, to say the least. Whether you were inspired by a desire to change your health for the better, to save the planet, or to respect other animals’ right to live, something inside you decided eating meat was no longer in your best interest. Anyone who has begun a vegetarian journey knows that right after the inspiration to become vegetarian hits you, the next thing that happens is…
How on earth are you going to figure out how to be a vegetarian? Most of the meals you know how to cook use meat as the focus of the meal! And, you don’t know any vegetarians! If it isn’t obvious how much our culture revolves around consumption of meat, have you ever heard of a traditional Thanksgiving Tofurky? (The kid at school whose family had it as the main course was duly pitied by the rest of us.)
To quell your fears, I have assembled the ultimate toolkit for becoming vegetarian. Here you will find resources on why to go veggie, how to get started, shopping lists, and even some encouragement!
Why be vegetarian?
- In case you weren’t 100% positive you wanted to give the veggie lifestyle a shot, here is the story of how I realized a personal call to change my diet to reflect my values. –
This is a killer wake up call on why going vegan is the sustainable decision to make. Complete with the facts, great sourcing, and a well constructed argument, Ali knows his stuff. – Why Veganism is an Insult to our Intelligence
Questions answered about why others become vegetarians, as well as the different kinds of vegetarians. – Becoming a Vegetarian
A useful FAQ from the Vegetarian Resource Group. – FAQ
The basics and some additional resources. – Vegetarian 101
How to be a vegetarian:
- A classic Zen Habits post discussing the whys and hows of vegetarian living. –
This is the best guide I have found out there on vegetarian eating. A mere 16 pages, it debunks the protein and calcium myths, gives advice for the pregnant vegetarian, how to go from vegetarian to vegan, how to raise vegetarian kids, and more! It also offers a great guide to your new “food pyramid.” – PCRM Vegetarian Starter Kit Vegetarian
The online version of PETA’s vegetarian starter kit – PETA Vegetarian Starter Kit
Nutritional information for vegetarians. – Health and Nutrition
How to dine out vegetarian-style. A vital bit of information for those of us on the go. – Vegetarian Dining Out
- PETA gives away a great starter kit. (By the way, don’t be too afraid of PETA. They are less crazy than they used to be.)
Already a vegetarian? Here is a free book to help you go vegan. – Vegan Guide
Another rocking guide to vegan eating. – Ultimate Vegan Guide
A vegetarian guide focusing on healthful veggie eating. – Healthy Vegetarian
- Making weird ingredients substitutions to get B12 just got less frustrating. Here is a list of the major ones you will see and what they are. –
This is a bit more in depth on the substitutions you can make in all of your normal recipes. – Ingredient Substitution List
Shopping lists to help you out:
- Be a junk food vegetarian with this list. All the foods you never realized were vegan. Like Little Debbie Cake Donuts. Score! –
This is a solid list that will fit many tastes and budgets. – Vegan Essentials Shopping List
A shopping list… for the lazy vegan. – Master Shopping List
Your first vegetarian pantry shopping list. Get all of your staples! – The Ultimate Shopping List
Definitions to help:
- Are you unsure what the heck a lacto-ovo whatever is? There is help.
What the hell is nutritional yeast? – Weird Ingredients
- Fast, easy vegetarian recipes. Give ’em a shot! You may even recognize a few of them. –
Found this one and tried it. YUM! – Lemon Orzo Primavera
A comprehensive list of recipes for all seasons of the vegetarian’s life, including holidays! – Vegetarian Recipes
The site to go to for dinner tonight. I have yet to try a bad recipe on this site. – Veg Web
- Some scientific facts about vegetarian diets.
Why maybe the science itself isn’t the most important part of a vegetarian diet. – Science, Non-science, Nonsense and Nastiness in the Vegetarian World
Get extra support:
- Do you really need a boost? Accidently fall off the veggie train? Get a Veg Coach. –
This has link some great tips for the initial jump into vegetarianism. – Making the Transition
- Extensive list of vegetarian research and reading. –
A minimalist with a vegan focus. Lots of valuables resources on this site! – Elegant Simple Vegan
As of today, I have been a vegetarian for two weeks. I even cut out milk, in addition to meat! After a couple of days, you really don’t miss it. My biggest concern was cutting out chicken, but there are so many great faux meat products that it has been easy. Oh, and get this: I found out I’ve known the guy who invented Tofurky for years. I went to school with his kids!
I’ve successfully gone out three times and eaten totally veggie without a problem getting enough of the right nutrients, and my boyfriend is even onboard! It’s been awesome so far, and I only expect it to get better as I network with other vegetarians with their awesome recipes *hint, hint.* 🙂
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