For those of us who were brought up by our parents to eat meat, it can be difficult to imagine enjoying a dinner of 'meat and three veg' minus the meat! But the truth is, vegetarian cuisine opens up a whole new world of exciting ingredients, tastes and flavours. Many people report losing excess weight, and having more vitality and energy as added advantages of making the switch. And the best news is, it's easy!
What to Eat?
Don't worry—it's not about being a lettuce muncher! Vegetarians enjoy a diverse variety of cuisine—just visit your local vegetarian restaurant for proof! In fact—many typically meat-based dishes can easily be adapted for vegetarian meals such as burritos, spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, cheeseburgers ... even ‘meatloaf’!
Kicking the Meat Habit
Some people kick the meat habit cold 'turkey'. Others need time to make the transition. Find what is right for you. Here are some suggestions to get started:
While a varied and balanced vegetarian diet will contain all the necessary nutrients for good health (including ample protein and iron), some people may still need help shaking the meat addiction. Fortunately there are an increasing number of 'mock meats' available with a taste and texture remarkably like the 'real' thing, but without the saturated animal fats, heart-clogging cholesterol and cruelty. You'll find a variety of veggie sausages at your supermarket, as well as luncheon, veggie mince, meatless schnitzel and more. Visit your health food store or Chinese supermarket for an even larger range of meat alternatives.
Most restaurants have vegetarian options on their menus. In particular, Indian and other Asian restaurants usually have a diverse selection of vegetarian dishes. Chefs are often happy to modify or prepare special vegetarian dishes on request.
If you are invited to a dinner party, it is best to remind the host in advance that you are vegetarian, and offer some suggestions for vegetarian dishes that can be enjoyed by all. Better yet—offer to prepare and bring along your own dish to share with guests, and show by example how diverse and delicious vegetarian cooking can be. You may even be asked for the recipe, so be prepared!