How Did You Become A Vegetarian?

Daily Thoughts

During last year I tried to become vegetarian, but it only lasted 3 months. At the time, I stopped because I was lacking energy and my mood was greatly affected. If you know what foods you eat as a vegetarian that really help to boost your energy, please let me know! I’d love any advice in how you transitioned into becoming a vegetarian, from gradually easing into it or going cold turkey on meat completely. I previously wrote about how I eat very little meat and don’t cook meat for myself, yet it’s still a difficulty for me to completely cancel out fish or chicken if I’m eating out. What did you do in terms of giving up on meat completely?

The reason I want to be a vegetarian is for health and ethical reasons. When I used to eat beef or pork it didn’t sit very well in my belly, and I find it can feel quite heavy and bloated. I don’t drink dairy milk, but there are many alternatives that anyone can try from coconut, rice, soy and almond milk. When I was at work a few days ago, it was my first time making a beetroot latte with coconut milk and it has a certain consistency that makes it rich and tasty. Dairy and meat are often the end product we see in the supermarket, yet we don’t see the process of the meat throughout.

There are endless varieties of meals from fruits and vegetables, as well as other meatless foods, such as oats, bread and baked goods. I think my main concern is getting enough nutrition, protein and energy from a vegetarian diet. How did you become vegetarian? What vegetables do you find are great for protein? Is it difficult to find vegetarian options when eating out? What foods and meals do you normally eat? What are your reasons for becoming a vegetarian? Feel free to share your experience of being a vegetarian, I’d love to know.

Photography by Jeanine Donofrio from Love and Lemons

34 thoughts on “How Did You Become A Vegetarian?

  1. Katie,
    I have been vegetarian all my life. Sometimes I also have problems with energy but two things have really helped:

    A 1000mg soluble vitamin C tablet each morning

    Protein: I did use whey protein shakes for a few years but found this was causing me to bloat so now I use a plant-based one called Sci-mx proV-GAIN, chocolate flavour. oNe dose of this each morning is a great help.

    Eating out can be difficult, even in the UK which is generally OK for vegetarians, but I usually find that vegetarian food is easily available in Indian restaurants especially.

    1. Thanks so much for your tips! I take a Vitamin C tablet each morning and that has really helped. Ah yes, I hear Indian restaurants would have more variety for vegetarian food.

  2. I have had a love affair with learning more about healthy food this past year, but the summer I went off the deep end. I am back to my bad habits. I think I want to become a vegan or vegetarian one day but I am afraid to jump off the deep end. Did you just go cold turkey one day and do you have any reading materials you have used?

    1. Hi Steph, I’m still in the process of transitioning :) but I already cut out beef and pork, and am slowly cutting out chicken and fish. I think the best thing is to find what motivates you eg. ethical reasons, environment etc. Or gradually limit the amount of meat you have each week so that you feel used to not having it everyday x

  3. I’ve been vegetarian for 5-6 years now, and I did a slow transition. I first stopped eating beef and pork because I didn’t like the taste anymore and I never ate seafood b/c I didn’t like fish. A year or so later I stopped eating chicken and turkey and became completely vegetarian. I think it is easier to transition when you slowly cut out meat.

    In Denmark I do not think it is that difficult to eat out b/c even if there is a dish that has meat (like a pasta dish), I can ask them to take the meat out. Most restaurants will also have vegetarian options like a veggie burger.

    For vegetables and other plant-based foods that are high in protein, I would recommend checking out this link. I normally eat tofu, beans, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes as my protein. I will occasionally eat meat substitutes, but I try to limit how much of that I eat since it’s more processed.

    For breakfast I normally eat buns with jam and sometimes I’ll have a bowl of skyr with musli. About once a week I’ll have eggs and baked beans with toast.
    For lunch I normally eat rugbread with egg salad, hummus, or other vegetarian pålaeg. I’ll occasionally have a mixed salad or a bagel with hummus and vegetables.
    For dinner I’ll have pretty much anything because it’s easy to make it vegetarian. For example I’ll have tacos (I normally make them with beans, mushrooms, onions, and red pepper), quiche (with eggs, asparagus, onions, etc), pasta with a tomato sauce or pesto, spinach lasagna, veggie burgers (I recently made sweet potato burgers), soups (potato, tomato, or other vegetables), curry with tofu and rice, and enchiladas with beans.
    I would recommend checking out Tasty Vegetarian and Vegan Yums for recipes/ideas.

    I hope you found this helpful!

    1. Oh wow, thank you so much for sharing! I am finding slow transitioning makes it easier and comfortable easing into it. That’s true, most places will have vege options, but it’s only some that don’t that’d make it a bit tricky. Sounds like vegetable heaven, spinach lasagna and sweet potato burger sounds delicious.

      1. You’re welcome!
        I avoid going to steak houses, seafood restaurants & most fast food restaurants (like McDonald’s & KFC) b/c they normally don’t have vegetarian options. However, Burger King has a veggie burger!
        Good luck on your transition to becoming vegetarian!

  4. I have been vegetarian for years and I am very healthy. I try to eat lots of different sources of protein every day like quinoa, beans,lentils, nuts, seeds, etc. I also eat yogurt and cheese. I take vitamin B complex supplements everyday as well. I find these good for energy.

      1. Yes nuts are a great snack. You can also add them to granola, energy bites, stir-fries, etc. Please check out my blog for loads of vegetarian recipes :)

  5. I’ve been mostly vegetarian my entire life (only ate chicken on a regular basis, ground beef VERY rarely, never any seafood, turkey, other red meat) but went fully vegetarian a few years ago. It wasn’t too hard for me because I’ve never really liked meat very much.

    I eat a lot of beans and quinoa for protein. Black beans are my favorite! You can do so many things with quinoa and black beans. I also snack on nuts and cheese. I rarely drink protein shakes because they tend to upset my stomach. Like others have said, I take a B complex sometimes if I feel like I’m not getting enough but for the most part, I don’t feel the need to take it. Pinterest is a great place to find vegetarian meal recipes/inspiration. If you want, I can send over some of my faves!

    1. HI Megan, that’s great to hear. Mm, I really need to try quinoa out, I hear such good things about it! Oo, yes would love to see it, feel free to link the Pinterest board to me.

  6. Slow transition. Make the concious effort to not order meat when out. It’s a habit and can be hard to break :P

    Tiredness can mean low iron. Lots of dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, Asian greens, etc) eaten with (not necessarily at the same time) vitamin C rich fruit and veg (kiwi, berries, citrus, tomatoes, also dark leafy greens, etc.) will help with absorption.

    If you’re eating enough food, protein won’t be an issue (most people get TOO MUCH protein). In fact if you’re eating a balanced diet, you shouldn’t need any supplements unless you have absorption issues.

    Email me girl and I’ll answer any questions for you xx Hope you’re well

  7. I went vegetarian when I was eight years old because of my chickens. I’ve always loved animals, including the dozen chickens that we raised, and I never really liked meat with the exception of a few things: meatballs (my mom’s recipe only) and salmon. I was eating a chicken product of some sort one afternoon and I noticed blood in the cooked chicken. It was then that I made the connection from the chickens that I played with and loved and the dead chicken on my plate. I declared loudly that I was going to stop eating meat. I think I made one exception, which was for my mom’s meatballs, but by the time we ate them again, I was completely grossed out.

    At first, being a picky eater, I don’t think I got all the nutrients because I only ate pasta, bread and a handful of vegetables but as I grew up I got almost all the nutrients that I needed. I only learned this recently, but we don’t really need as much protein as we’re told (that brings up a whole other discussion about the meat and dairy industry) but there are tons of plant foods with protein: beans, lentils, soybean, oats, nuts and seeds, quinoa, kale, broccoli and I could go on.

    Fast forwarding until nine months ago, when I on a whim began to watch the documentary Cowspiracy (on Netfilx) where I learned about all the terrible things that the meat and dairy industry did the earth and the seas and I was hooked. That night I watched Forks over Knives and a ton of other smaller documentaries about health, food and the environment. (What the Health on Netflix and “The best speech you’ll ever here” and “Reasons to go Vegan” on Youtube) It was then that I decided to go vegan which I got a lot of skepticism for: will you get enough nutrients? it’s too expensive! etc.

    I get all of the vitamins and minerals that I need except for B12 which I take as a supplement and I often plot my meals on Chronometer just to have an idea if people ask where and how I get my nutrients.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story to me. I can relate in a way, because I grew up having pet pigs that I adored and loved. I’d cuddle them and take care of them, and after I smelled pork it made me feel very queasy. That’s so good to know, because there’s such an emphasis on eating meat in order to get enough protein, but there’s such a vast variety of vegetables that have protein.

  8. Hey,
    I recently made the switch this year after hardly eating meat but still ordering chicken/fish. I went veg for health and environmental reasons.

    You can never go wrong with ordering the black bean burger or veggie pasta at most restaurants.

    As for protein, all proteins come from plants anyhow. You can get complete protein from spinach, beans, lentils, and more I can’t remember. Good luck if you decide to switch over! :)

  9. Katie,
    Vegetarian for over ten years, saved my life and my husband’s, who converted just 3 years back. No longer need meds. Plenty of energy with all plant-based foods (plenty of protein is in most all vegetables), seeds/nuts, whole grains, a good multi-vitamin, plus vitamins C, D, B12 and Flaxseed Oil supplements.
    I begin each day with a smoothie: 1 cup of greens, 1 ounce of nuts or nut butter, half banana, 1/2 cup of another fruit, 1-1/2 cups of Almond Milk. Yoga, walking or jump rope, 7+ hours of sleep. Plenty of energy!
    HIGHLY recommended for anyone with learning differences: ADD-ADHD-Dyslexia-OCD, etc., my personal story. Told my former students: “There will be no animals on our spaceships to another planet!” and “We are not baby cows!” :)

  10. Beans are a huge source of protein. Stop by your local barnes and noble there are tons of yummy vegetarian cook books. Protein is obtained through tons of vegetables as well but I find that beans on my salad help a lot.

  11. …. also check out Garden of Life it’s a vegetarian protein mix, I have it in the morning mixed with frozen mixed berries a half a cup of water and a banana for a smooth texture and sweetness.😌Hope that helps!

  12. I started off slowly. First not eating any beef or chicken. Mainly fish in the beginning. While only eating fish, I would exploring different recipes and would food prep for the day before so I don’t have to worry about buying anything. Eating out with friends was difficult in the beginning, but there are many restaurants adding vegetarian selections. & try vegan restaurants. It’s delicious. With a key tip, you won’t like everything at first. Try it again, in a different way, a different day.

  13. Thank you for your comment and the helpful tips :) I’ve cut out beef and pork and am eating fully vegetarian at home now, still gradually managing to transition to fully vegetarian when I occasionally eat out, but will take your advice on trying out the vege options!

  14. I became vegetarian when I was 4. We were in the car eating our McDonald’s and my brother started teasing me about my burger coming from the cows in the field we were driving past. I haven’t eaten meat since. I don’t really remember a lot of those early days. I know I ate a lot of cheese sandwiches at first as neither me nor my dad really knew a whole lot about being vegetarian, just that I wouldn’t eat meat. Lots of beans on toast, lots of cheese pizza and that kind of stuff. The older I got the more I started to experiment with my meals. I learnt more the longer it went on. I’ve now been vegan for two years and haven’t looked back for a second.

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