A CHAARG Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian

As a vegetarian of four years + counting, one of the most common things people tell me is “I would love to go vegetarian, but it’s so hard, I could never do it!” Contrary to popular belief, making the switch to a meatless life is easier than you may think, + you’ll feel better than you ever could have imagined, physically + mentally! Our guide will take you through strategies to make the transition to vegetarianism simple! 

REMEMBER YOUR REASON

Cutting out meat is so much harder when you do not have a specific reason to do so! Here are three very common reasons to be vegetarian, all of which can act as motivation through the transition process.

#1] The Environment: Many people have made the switch to reusable straws + cups to be more environmentally friendly, but did you know that cutting out meat is the most influential thing an individual can do to help the environment? Due to the large number of resources used to raise animals for food, the meat industry is one of the biggest culprits in the environmental crisis, so cutting down on your intake could really make a difference!

#2] Animal Welfare: Transitioning to vegetarianism can be made easier by simply thinking about animal welfare. Doing some research into the meat production process was enough for me to say goodbye to meat for good. Recommended documentary: Cowspiracy

#3] Health Benefits: Cutting out meat is actually so good for your body! Studies show that vegetarians have lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, + some cancers. They also have a lower mortality rate on average.

START SLOW

#1] Meatless Mondays: The easiest way to cut meat out of your diet is to pick one day a week to go vegetarian, like having meatless mondays. Going just one day a week is not hard, especially if you plan ahead. You have probably been “vegetarian” for an entire day before without even realizing it — that’s how easy it is!

#2] Cut Out Red Meat: Red meat is one of the leading causes of high cholesterol, so cutting this out first can do wonders for your health if that is your main reason. You can still eat poultry + fish if you do this, so it isn’t a huge change all at once.

#3] Explore Other Styles: Most people think a vegetarian diet must be strict, + if you give yourself “cheat days” or eat meat on special occasions, you are not a “true vegetarian.” This is false, + your vegetarianism is only as strict as you want it to be! It is okay to be a flexitarian–someone that eats a mostly plant-based diet, but still has meat on occasion. Pescetarians eat only fish + no other meat. There are also lacto- + ovo-vegetarians, who take it a step further by eating no meat + also cutting out dairy or eggs. Just the fact that you are trying really makes a difference, + labels don’t really mean anything!

MAKE IT FUN

Going meatless can feel like sort of a drag if you aren’t actively trying to make it fun. Here are a few tips to make a vegetarian lifestyle more exciting!

#1] Buddy Up: Finding a friend to go vegetarian with you makes the biggest difference! Personally, my sister + I went meatless at the same time, + having someone to relate to during the transition period + beyond made things so much easier. 

#2] Try New Recipes: There are so many easy, tasty, + fun vegetarian recipes online that you could try to spice things up! I find my recipes on places like Pinterest + the CHAARG blog [we love this Mexican Quinoa Salad + this Green Glow Bowl!]. There are so many things that vegetarians can eat + they can be super yummy too!

#3] Use Meat Substitutes: With the recent rise in veganism + vegetarianism, there are more plant based “meat” options on the market than ever. If you miss things like chicken nuggets + burgers, these can be easily replaced with veggie versions, most of which can be purchased at regular grocery stores!

We hope this guide showed you how simple + painless the transition into a vegetarian lifestyle can be! After four years without meat, I can honestly say it is so worth it. We hope this inspires you to take those first steps for the environment, the animals, + most importantly for yourself!

Want to share your journey towards vegetarianism or another dietary practice? Tag us using the hashtag #inCHAARG + #CHAARGEATS! 

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