4 Ways to Adjust to a Vegetarian Diet
According to the Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets, in the year 2016, 3.3 percent of American adults were vegetarian, and 46 percent of these vegetarian adults were vegan. In a constantly moving modern world, we’re discovering that a lot of people are changing their dietary patterns for myriad reasons, but most vegetarians, both new and old, decide to change for health, religious or environmental reasons, or to minimize animal cruelty. Studies also have shown that plant-based diets are associated with a lower body mass index, reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases and a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. No matter the reason, it is up to dietitians as food and nutrition experts to motivate and help people achieve their goals regarding their diets.
Pinpoint Your Reasons
You can use the reasons you want to change your diet as your core motivation to stick with your new lifestyle.
Choose the Vegetarian Diet That is Best for You
Whether you want to try a full vegan diet or take it one step at a time with a lacto-ovo or pescatarian approach, I recommend starting slow with one recipe a week, substituting until you are ready to embrace a full vegetarian diet.
Find Reliable Resources
Look up additional information and fun recipes. Search trusted websites ending in .net, .org or .gov and read blogs of current vegetarians for information and resources. The Academy’s Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice group has a website full of resources and recipes for consumers. Also, check out the December 2016 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics position paper on vegetarian diets.
Don’t Shame Yourself
Changing your lifestyle is a process and won't happen overnight. The importing thing is that you are trying. Don’t worry about slip-ups and continue moving forward toward your goals.
Priscila Ruiz-Rivera is a nutrition and dietetics student at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Priscila is a vegetarian and enjoys cooking and volunteering at pet shelters. Connect with Priscila via Facebook.