#Realtalk :: On Becoming Vegetarian Plus Five Tips To Eating Healthy!

Tips To Becoming A Vegetarian, How to be a Vegetarian, What to eat when you are vegetarian, vegetarian lifestyle, source of protein vegetarian

Not too long ago I posted my summer highlights, the most radical of which was my decision to go vegetarian. Since then, I’ve had friends and readers ask me what made me do it, what kind of food I eat now, and if I can share some tips and whatnots. Note that while I do work in the medical field, I will not speak here as your health coach. Consult your primary care doctor first if you have health issues or dietitian to guide you in your meal planning. After all, we are responsible for our own health, not Dr. Oz or Google.

Okay so what made me ditch the carnivore life? See I’m not a huge meat eater to begin with and in time, I kind of lost the taste for chicken and steak. Call it psychological but even those fast food ads with ginormous patty make me puke. Then comes my trigyleride level. Despite my seemingly active lifestyle, I was disappointed to see it it on the high side. Sure I can blame my birth control pills (it’s a side effect), but deep in my heart I just want to be a lot healthier. C’mon you know I’m not getting any younger!

Was it hard to become a vegetarian? surprisingly no but it’s the fear of the unknown which makes it a challenge. I’m still a work in progress (I’ve only been on this route for almost four months) but let me tell you, coupled with exercise, I’ve never felt this great and motivated! So without further adieu, let me share some tips in case you’re planning to become one…

1) It’s not a race so don’t rush yourself to be the next big thing! Transition slowly by introducing more vegetables and fruits to your diet. I started by replacing meat with seafood, then less of it, then adios. It was a total sacrifice because I love salmon, crabs and shrimps. I thought I won’t survive but here I am, still breathing the same air you do.

2) Research, decide and stay in your lane. As you may already know, vegetarians are different from vegans (the latter being a lot stricter because they don’t use or wear any products derived from animal and its byproducts). There are two kinds vegetarian: ovo-lacto (no meat, poultry and fish but consume eggs and dairy) and lacto (no meat, poultry, fish, eggs but consume dairy). I decided to be a lacto-vegetarian because I need calcium supplementation, mainly for osteoporosis prevention. 

3) Cook the same way but replace the ingredients. Going vegetarian does not mean bland and boring meals every single time. I’ve learned how to make veggie lasagna (recipe here), kick-ass portobello mushroom burger (recipe here), tofu adobo, all-veggie curry, to name a few. I think the number one challenge among new vegetarians is what to replace meat with, being the number one source of protein. Protein as you learned from school is the building-block of our body because it builds and repairs tissues. Tofu, green peas, soybeans, spinach, seitan (meat substitute), mushrooms are just some of the alternatives. For example, my dinner an hour ago was linguine with spinach and portabellini mushrooms sautéed in artichoke pesto sauce. 

4) No time to cook? go take-out. Every Friday nights, we drive to Down To Earth (local health food store in Hawaii) to raid the buffet area, haha! But seriously, it’s where I buy most of my fruits and veggies and also some hot meals to last me for a day or two. Taco Bell has veggie cantina bowl, Panda Express has tofu eggplant in chili sauce, my fave local sushi place has all-veggie rolls. Last week while looking at the menu of a Vietnamese restaurant, I asked the lady if they have vegetarian options. To which she responded “just tell me anything you want and I’ll replace it with tofu”. It was the best lemongrass and spring rolls ever. Like ever. So don’t dismiss your favorite resto yet. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

5) Eat healthy, exercise, live longer. Barring unforeseen events and medical conditions, a large study conducted by researchers from Loma Linda University, CA reported that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters. It’s interesting to note that while diet plays an important role, vegetarians tend to exercise more and spend less time in sedentary activities (couch potato anyone?) Of course, don’t forget to take your multivitamins lady!

Tips To Becoming A Vegetarian, How to be a Vegetarian, What to eat when you are vegetarian, vegetarian lifestyle, source of protein vegetarian

I hope you find my tips helpful. Remember, look fit and feel fab!

‘Til our next #realtalk


Kathryne

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42 Comments

  1. October 1, 2014 / 7:05 am

    Girl… I love my vegetables… but there is no way I can give up my meat. lmao To me it's all about moderation… but I am always supportive of those who become vegetarians… because I know it can be a challenge 🙂

    • October 2, 2014 / 6:17 am

      yes, eat everything in moderation and exercise are some of the keys to healthy living!

  2. October 1, 2014 / 8:15 am

    Very inspiring! But right now I love meat just a little bit too much :).

  3. October 1, 2014 / 9:13 am

    I grew up in a mostly vegetarian environment because my Mum is allergic to all protein and it was too much for her to cook two sets of meals every day except for breakfast eggs for us. I am pretty much ovo-lacto now, though I have seafood every now and then. My weight goes up when I do, and I love my tofu now! Well done to you for sticking to it!

    • October 1, 2014 / 5:09 pm

      That's the thing when the household members are all-vegetarian. I cook separate meals for me and hubs but I do it in large portions so I don't have to cook everyday. Yes to tofu!

  4. October 1, 2014 / 11:01 am

    Good for you! I was veggie for a bit and felt amazing. I ended up breaking, though. I have considered going back many times.

    • October 1, 2014 / 5:07 pm

      My hubs is a carnivore and he often asks me to take a bite of whatever he's eating…. I tell him, pls don't be my enabler…. the temptation is around but so my determination triumphs

  5. October 1, 2014 / 12:44 pm

    Thank you for this walk-through. You make it sound very doable to transition to a vegetarian lifestyle. I am so curious about doing this. The only problem is that I hate tofu, mushrooms, squash, eggplant, zucchini….and I feel like mushrooms and tofu are such a cornerstone of a successful vegetarian diet. I am trying to get my weight back under control, and focusing on lean meats and healthier choices but vegetarian diet sounds SO appealing!!!!

    • October 1, 2014 / 5:06 pm

      Thanks Judy. I think, and this is a friendly advice…. start with your fitness goals first. I know you want to get back to running which you love! and then compliment it with the right diet plan. Going radical too soon may stress you more than enjoy the changes… Hugs!

  6. October 1, 2014 / 4:05 pm

    Great tips and recipes that you've shared. I'm not planning on giving up my meat-eating ways any time soon, but I always like to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into my weekly meal planner!

  7. Lisa Foster
    October 1, 2014 / 4:09 pm

    These are great tips, and hopefully they inspire others. I am mostly vegetarian (I occasionally still eat seafood), and I think it's a mistake to think about this as an all or nothing situation. Anyone who wants to be healthier can eat less meat and more plant based food, and get benefits from making those changes.

    • October 1, 2014 / 5:01 pm

      Thanks Lisa. I agree, it's all about lifestyle choices. At the end of the day, it's our own body, our own health.

  8. October 1, 2014 / 5:02 pm

    What a great post for helping others who want to transition into becoming vegetarians! I personally am a huge meat eater and just couldn't live without but I admire those who can!

  9. October 1, 2014 / 7:46 pm

    I like vegetables and fruits, but I can´t imagine life without meat. But who know maybe some day I´ll stopi eating it too.

    • October 2, 2014 / 6:18 am

      Hubs is a big meat eater and he says the same exact thing….

  10. October 1, 2014 / 9:06 pm

    These are such great tips! Thanks for sharing them! You should do some recipes!

  11. October 1, 2014 / 9:32 pm

    I cut out pork several years ago and I don't eat steak. I try to eat fish more than anything, but I still have chicken on occasion. I watched a slaughter house documentary and that turned me off of pork. I definitely think less meat, more veggies, is healthy for me, even if I haven't fully cut out meat. I love reading about why you did it 🙂

    • October 2, 2014 / 6:22 am

      OMG, I don't eat pork too even before this journey. I watched a pig butchered in front of me while visiting this indigenous place in the Philippines and I swear, that was really heartbreaking. After that, everyone ate the pig except me, it was really so disturbing

  12. October 1, 2014 / 11:11 pm

    Good for you for sticking to it! I think I'd have to be ovo-lacto if I went vegetarian. I love eggs too much!

  13. October 1, 2014 / 11:49 pm

    This is totally inspiring ! I just joined the gym since working out at home just doesn't do it for me, and I can tell how much more motivated I am. Just the other day going vegeterian cross my mind, but my health is just so not going to work with it

    • October 2, 2014 / 6:24 am

      That's good to know Betzy. Start young with a healthy lifestyle and your body will thank you later. Just focus on your fitness goals first and eat everything in moderation. You don't want to do so many new things at the same because that can be very stressful and demotivating!

  14. October 2, 2014 / 12:38 am

    I also enjoy meats too much but have tons of admiration for being able to hold up to your resolution. GO GIRL!

  15. October 2, 2014 / 12:45 am

    I would imagine it would be hard to become vegetarian in my area, since there are not a lot of restaurant/fast options for it around me. I would also go ovo-lacto though!

    • October 2, 2014 / 6:25 am

      same here Miranda… wish there are more options for vegetarian/vegan people

  16. October 2, 2014 / 3:22 am

    I could maybe go vegetarian, but no way vegan–I love dairy too much!

  17. October 2, 2014 / 4:00 am

    I don't think the vegetarian lifestyle is for me, but this was an interesting read!

  18. October 2, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    Good job, Kath! I have noticed that as I get older my body doesn't process meat as well. I still eat it but I'm definitely slowing down.

  19. October 2, 2014 / 3:00 pm

    I'm glad you that this is working for you! Those are some great tips, for anyone starting a new health lifestyle not just vegetarianism which is very cool.

  20. October 3, 2014 / 5:23 pm

    You gave some great tips for transitioning! I am happy that this is working for you and you're enjoying it. Nothing but admiration from me!

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