Anyone opting for a vegetarian lifestyle in current times usually has a pretty easy ride ahead. Meat-free alternatives fill the shelves and there’s an increased global focus on finding ways to eat less meat to improve health – both the environment and ourselves.
Only a few years ago there were restaurants where you’d struggle to concoct a meal suitable for a vegetarian, but now, almost everywhere has plenty of choices. Despite this, changing up your diet in such a dramatic way can take some time to get used to and almost all new veggies find they make at least one of these mistakes while getting started.
1. Cheese Overload
The dairy trap is a very common pitfall for new vegetarians. Grilled cheese, cheesy pizza, pasta with a lashing of cheese sauce and the classic cheese and pickle sandwich start to fill up every part of your day as you can’t opt for a meaty alternative. Novice vegetarians opt for things they know well rather than embracing the fruits and vegetables which should typify a healthy vegetarian diet. Cheese is great and should be enjoyed as part of a healthy vegetarian diet, but it shouldn’t be the staple of every single meal.
2. Veggie = Healthy
A vegetarian diet can be much healthier than one which incorporates meat and animal products, but it isn’t guaranteed. If you choose to consume endless amounts of cheese and dairy, as mentioned in point one, or go all out on the processed foods, your diet simply won’t be fulfilling your nutritional needs. Loads of biscuits, chips and crisps are 100% vegetarian friendly, so you can hardly describe your diet as healthy if you’re feasting on these every day. Switching to vegetarianism for health is a great idea, but you have to follow it through with the right action and meals and snack choices that are actually good for your health.
3. Forgetting Vitamin Intake
Most of your vitamin intake comes from your diet and the only vitamin which can be difficult to get hold of in good amounts without meat is B12. B12 is only really naturally available in high doses in meats so, in the beginning, many new vegetarians will see their levels drop. It’s important to add a supplement into your diet or boost your nutritional intake with B12-enriched foods such as soy milk or nutritional yeast. Low levels of B12 can lead to anemia which can lead to extreme tiredness, ulcers and other nasty health issues you can easily avoid.
4. Faux-Meat Overload
If your vegetarian diet is simply going to be stuffed with premade and processed meat alternatives then while you are making a solid moral stand about your feelings towards animals, you’re not doing any good for your diet. When first trialling vegetarianism it makes sense to swap in flavours and products you recognize, but in time, making your own veggie burgers, curries and pasta is a much better idea. Relying on frozen veggie burgers, processed soy hot dogs and fake chicken nuggets isn’t what your body needs.
5. Developing a Protein Obsession
Anyone who is skeptical about vegetarianism and veganism will go on and on about how you aren’t going to get enough protein. Obsessing about protein intake is common in new vegetarians as they constantly hear how hard it is to get the amount you need. In reality, it’s nowhere near that bad. Plant-based proteins are being developed every day and beyond this, naturally occurring proteins including beans, lentils, nuts and seeds can easily be slotted into a healthy diet.
Eat Right to Shine Bright – Our 7 Favourite Winter Super Foods
Eat Right to Shine Bright – Our 7 Favourite Winter Super Foods. As we enter the darkest, coldest months of the year, it is important to eat vitamin and mineral-rich foods to boost our immune systems and improve our moods.
Winter Vegetable Casserole
This simple, home made casserole is made with fresh and economical ingredients. Any vegetable can be used so if you have left over parsnips or turnips, throw those in too.
Pumpkin Soup with Wild Rice and Apples
‘Small Sugar Pie’ pumpkins are ideal for holding hearty servings of pumpkin soup, garnished with cooked wild rice, toasted almonds, and apples—though it’s just as delicious served in a regular soup bowl.