I have been thinking alot lately about becoming a vegetarian, I know it would be much healthier for me but I don't know how. I am also not sure how to explain it to my parents (whom I still live at home with) they are all big meat eaters and wouldn't understand this big change. I am also a big meat eater, so how can I make things tasty without meat? I know it would do me a world of good to get off meat so any advice would be extremely appreciated.
I think it's important to read up on it all as much as you can in the beginning otherwise you can feel a little lost and if you have people around you that aren't on board it's good to have the answers to their questions ready to go so you feel confident with it all and just for yourself too .... try The Kind Diet, The China Study, Engine 2 etc. A good DVD to watch as a starter is Vegucated. I've also watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which is really more about juicing but also very good for motivation and seeing how plant food can change your health. Other DVDs which are meant to be good but I haven't actually seen are Food Inc. and Fork over Knives. The more you read and watch, the easier it gets re understanding the reasons why for your health and the environment and they are all really motivating too.
Also, for recipe ideas just google all the different blogs out there ... there are heaps! Some of my fav's are Oh She Glows, Little House of Veggies, Post Punk Kitchen, etc. There are so many and I find new blogs all the time, it's good fun to see what's out there.
Don't worry so much about missing meat/dairy ... I think just do it slowly leaving out something new each week or month and your tastes will gradually change with you. You'll be trying so many new veggies/grains/beans and different foods that you won't notice the lack of meat/dairy.
Re your family ... maybe don't announce anything too much, just start doing some of the cooking and make sure you cook dishes that appeal to them so they hopefully don't notice ... Post Punk Kitchen is quite good for comfort food recipes, so you could try there first.
I would recommend you starting off really slow, and to also go see a trained dietician. That way they can let you know how many calories you're gonna need a day, also what kind of foods are good for vegans. I was a vegetarian for 10 years and got really sick. Mainly becuase i wasn't eating right. I was carbo loading, eating alot of calories but nothing of substance.I went off it and got healthier, but i'm going back to vegetarian style.
Funny you should bring this up! My family is mostly folk who enjoy a hearty (often with meat) home cooked meal. They raise chickens for eggs, live in a nice spacious area and a small town. I have already cut back on eating meat for my own reasons (allergies, taste of it plus - I'd rather not eat many animals). I enjoyed 'The Kind Diet' book and am also reading 'Idiots Guide to Organic Living' which covers farming food to what is in our beauty products.
I'd suggest going at a pace (and to a level - like, just no red meat? or maybe only fish you'll eat? or not meat at all?) that you are comfortable with. That's what I am doing, my own pace and learning along the way. I know what I like, I know what I want to explore in foods and cooking, I know what I'd like to give up.
But back to the big meat eating dinners of my family ~ I simply told them I've begun trying new foods. I explained I wasn't comfortable with 'meat' in every dinner. I didn't have to explain or do any shock-value videos of what animals go through to become our food. If they care about you, if they see you are happy and enjoying this new manner of eating (and it's not harming you any) they will probably just leave the subject be. You can always bring your own dishes or frozen foods over if they invite you for a meal. I have done that plenty of times, my dad even tried a veggie burger because of it!
Have you considered starting Meatless Mondays in your house? meatlessmonday
It's very doable, only asking for one day a week with no meat. I'll bet that if you offered to cook the meals you're parents would get on board, too. Their site has recipes & lots of other great info. Check under "About Us" at the top of their site & find "Why Meatless"....ask (beg, even) you're parents to read it, too. See if they'll sit down w/u to watch some of the movies Kirsty mentioned. If all goes well, then maybe you can try meatless another day or two during the week. I wish you luck...
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