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Going Vegetarian: 10 Tips For Beginners

Recently I have had lots of requests and questions about being vegetarian and so today I thought I would sit down and share some of my own advice and experience about being veggie as I've not eaten meat or fish since I was around 14. My husband Adam is also vegetarian and we are raising our two little boys as veggies too until they're old enough to make their own choice. 

This isn't to persuade you to go veggie, that's your choice. I simply wanted to share some advice for anyone who is interested in eating less meat/transiting to becoming vegetarian. 
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1. It's got be something you want to do
Being vegetarian is a personal choice, you should have your own reasons as to why you want to switch to a vegetarian diet. Adam and I are raising the boys as vegetarians because with us both being vegetarians it makes no sense to us to go out and purposely buy meat for our boys when it's not part of our lifestyle. Right now, they eat pretty much the same as other kids, just the meat-free alternative. 

2. Know the difference between vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians 
Vegans eat no fish, meat or dairy. Vegetarians eat no fish or meat but eat dairy and pescatarians eat fish and dairy but not meat. 

3. It's easier to be vegetarian these days 
When I went vegetarian at 14, it felt a lot harder to be veggie than it is now. There are SO many amazing alternatives these days and pretty much all food items are labelled if they are suitable for vegetarians.

4. Watch for hidden ingredients
Look out for hidden non-vegetarian ingredients like rennet in some cheeses such as Parmesan, Gorgonzola and grana padano. Lots of cheddars are fine but always check. Also, watch out for gelatine in sweets and in desserts like mousses. Again there are plenty of sweets and desserts that are suitable for vegetarians such as Skittles, Starburst (in the UK, not the US), Chewits, Lovehearts and more. A quick google usually tells you which are suitable and which aren't.

5. Being vegetarian isn't unhealthy
This is such a big myth and it's simply not true. Protein is found in meat, yes, but it's also found in lots of other food items such as eggs, tofu, Quorn, beans, peas and lentils. Another vitamin that people seem to get concerned about is iron, but again iron can be found in things like cereals, bread, beans, lentils, green leafy veg and more. Having some Vitamin C like a big glass of orange juice with food items that contain iron will help your body to absorb it easier.

6. Get some recipe books
I absolutely love The Quorn Kitchen - I've had it for years and we use it every week, it contains so many well-loved recipes in it with the meat substituted for Quorn. For example, there is lasagne, pies, cottage pie, curries etc (Have a look here for pretty much all of Quorn's recipes - they are so many and they are so good!). 

7. Most restaurants offer good vegetarian options
Eating out as vegetarian isn't difficult at all - most restaurants offer good veggie options these days and if they don't have anything on their menu's marked with a 'V' for vegetarian then if you speak to a member of staff they will usually make something up or adapt another dish for you. Watch out for fish stock in Thai/Chinese dishes and also for parmesan cheese in Italian meals.

8. Somethings will surprise you
There are some things that you might not expect to be veggie which actually are, things like Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodles and lots of meat flavoured crisps are in fact suitable for those eating a vegetarian diet - so it's always worth checking the pack. :)

9. Check out your local supermarket's 'meat free' range 
Most supermarkets offer their own range of meat-free products in the frozen and chilled aisles. I personally love Tesco's Meat Free mince and their 'chicken' pieces. Another brand I love is Linda McCartney.

10. Don't feel like you have to give up things
It's so simple to eat as a veggie, if you're going to a barbecue in the summer than don't worry, just take along a veggie burger or sausages with you. Linda McCartney's mozzarella burgers taste almost like the real thing (from what I can remember). You can also take along a disposable BBQ with you which can sit on top of the main BBQ so that your burger can be cooked separately. If you're going to a friends house for curry, just ask them to cook yours with meat-free chicken pieces or Quorn mince. We have people over for dinner and we make meals using Quorn or meat-free alternatives and a lot of the time they say it tastes almost similar or better.

I hope for anyone looking into eating less meat or vegetarianism that these tips were helpful, I've left some useful veggie links below. But if you've got any questions then please feel free to leave me a comment down below. :) 

• Useful Vegetarian Links •
►  The Quorn Kitchen (buy used): http://amzn.to/2DKXJoe
► You can also have a look here for most of Quorn's own recipes (which are in the book): https://www.quorn.co.uk/recipes. 
► https://www.vegsoc.org/info - Lots of really useful information and helpful advice on going and being veggie. 
► BBC Good Food veggie recipes: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/category/vegetarian

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Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo 
Please don't forget to leave me a comment below and share this if you've enjoyed it. ♡

1 comment

  1. This is really helpful Alex. My daughter (aged 12) became a pescatarian 28 weeks ago. It was entirely her own choice (we are meat eaters) and we have supported her 100%. It has definitely been an eye opener as we love to eat out as a family. Some restaurants are great for providing vegetarian dishes on the kids menu, and others not so good. Thanks Alex x

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