How I Survived My First Week Eating Vegetarian (10 Tips!)

I recently wrote about why I'm trying to eat vegetarian. I'm officially on my 12th day of eating this way and so happy and motivated to continue! I was so grateful that there were so many guides online on how to transition into vegetarianism so I thought maybe writing an update of how I survived my first week.


1. SHOP! 

Go shopping for some food you love and know you will eat. The first day I decided to eat vegetarian was a Sunday (we choose to not shop on Sundays) so it was a little harder to eat this day. We have a lot of meat sitting in the freezer and I was stumped about what to eat that didn't include meat. (Spoiler alert: You can eat SO MUCH!) Once we went shopping I had fresh fruit, snacks, potatoes, cereal, green smoothies, spaghetti, almond milk, frozen veggies, etc. I love having a full pantry and fridge so eating vegetarian got really exciting once I had the food I wanted. 

2. Try a Meat Substitute. 

I was pretty wary of meat substitutes. How does it look like meat, and taste like meat, if it's NOT meat... kinda freaky. I made my Mandarin Orange Cristy Chickn from Gardein and it was so good! My husband asked to try it and it tasted so good! We bought it again and made it with rice the second time and it was still so good. We've now bought Gardein beef crumbles, Boca Chickn patty sandwiches, and Quinoa Morning Star burgers. They are all super good! My husband is not doing the vegetarian thing with me, but he's eating these meals with me.  Cruelty free for the win!

3. Have a Few Go-To Meals

It can be really stressful when you wake up in the morning and have to hurry and think of something to eat and pack for lunch that doesn't contain meat. I didn't consider myself a huge meat eater but I did not realize how much meat I ate until I quit eating it. Turkey sandwiches, chicken nuggets, salad with grilled chicken... it was all out of the question. It was stressful! I made sure to have a few cereals I love on hand, and Van's Vegan waffles for breakfast. That way I had some quick delicious breakfasts. I did the same for lunches, except I knew I could eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and baked potatoes. Yum! 

4. Educate Yourself

Watch a few documentaries, get a few books from the library, and google and read tons of online information about going vegetarian and vegan. Feeling knowledgable will empower you. Whenever I get tempted by meat (RIP Chickfila) I think about the documentary Vegucated and the poor chickens. I can not UNSEE those images. I remember the health benefits that have been proven by eating less or no meat and I get excited for those to be MY health benefits. 

5. Have a Quick Response

It's terrifying for me to have to tell people I'm not eating meat. Especially since the decision came on so suddenly and without any preparation. After answering to a few people I told my husband I needed to come up with a scripted response I could use when someone says, "Why would you go vegetarian?" So I did. 

"Well, I knew a few bloggers who have recently gone vegan and have seen amazing health benefits. I started looking more into it and decided it was I wanted to try for myself." I'm also going vegetarian (and hopefully eventually vegan) for the animals and for the environment, but that response is true and also not super offensive to meat eaters and seems to be quick in and out response. It's definitely the easy way out, but for now, it works. 

6. Look at Your Schedule and Have a Plan

If you know you're going to be going out to eat do a quick google search "How to Eat Vegetarian at ________". You could also call ahead. So many people have already done the research. McDonald's is a horrible place to go! Most others places make easy accommodations. Chick-fil-a made my wrap without chicken, Wendy's has baked potatoes and salads, Taco Bell has lots of vegetarian options just order without meat. (Vegan is MUCH trickier because I swear dairy products are in EVERYTHING, which is why I'm making the vegetarian transition first)

If you're going to any family meals, find out what they are making and make sure you can eat something there. If you can't eat much there, be sure to eat before you go! 

7. Let the People Close to You Know What You Are Doing 

I let my husband know when I made the decision because he was most important to me since he would be the one weirded out when I didn't want a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger at Wendy's for date night. I also started tweeting about it which is how my Mom found out. I don't think you have to make a huge Facebook announcement, but let your besties, and significant other know so they can support you.

8. Decide What New Foods You Want to Try 

There are a lot of foods out there that vegetarians can eat that other people don't eat. Try tofu, make homemade sweet potato fries, try different kinds of rice, bake vegan cookies, use almond milk in your cereal, eat a veggie burger, try chia seeds on your salad, eat pecans. Expand your palate! I'm trying really hard to taste new foods because I've always been a mac n cheese and chicken nuggets kinda girl. It's been exciting to try new things and think about all the new things I will get to try. 

9. Create a Pinterest Board and Pin Like Crazy! 

I made a vegan Pinterest board to pin recipes, advice, and inspiring quotes to. You can find it HERE. Pinterest is really great for inspiration when making lifestyle changes! 

10. Supplement During Transition

One thing people will without a doubt say is... "But where do you get your protein?" Most people don't realize that you can get plenty of protein from plants, whole grains, nuts, beans, etc. I bought a soy-based protein powder and soy milk. One scoop of the protein and 8 ounces of soy milk add up to 30 g of protein! We really only need around 55 g a day so that is pretty dang good! I've been trying to drink one a day while I figure out how to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet.

Many also say that you will be deficient on B12. They say that vegans get their vitamins the same place that meat-eaters food get it, from plants! I made sure my daily multivitamin had plenty of B12. Do the research to make sure you're getting what you need! (Many meat-eaters don't get enough vitamins anyway!) 


I've been really grateful for the support I've had during this transition. Some days are harder than others. When we went to Cafe Rio I was so sad I couldn't eat the sweet pork, then I remembered I COULD eat the sweet pork but I was choosing not to for my own reasons and it was a choice I WANTED to make. 

I know this was a super long post but I hope it will be helpful if you decide to make your own vegetarian transition! I'll continue to do updates on here about my transitions and hope you'll stick around for the ride :) 

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1 comment:

Kaylee Farnes said...

Great post! I go on and off vegetarianism but I should just pick a side.