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What Does It Take To Become a Vegetarian?

The term “vegetarian” or “vegan” has been making some noise in the health and fitness industry for many years now. Being vegetarian is what they call one of the healthiest and most natural forms of dieting. Besides patronizing and eating healthy foods, they claim that you also save animals lives. But the main reason why most people become vegetarians is to lead healthy lives.  

Do you wish to become one? Here are some tips!

 Don’t Go Cold Turkey on Meat 

Being a vegan may sound easy.  After all, you only need to ditch meat from your diet, and that’s it! However, that is easier said than done. For sure, you cannot just go cold turkey on meat. Your body will undergo a culture shock, and you might end up relapsing to eating meat in no time and thus jeopardize your plan.  Instead of going cold turkey, it is better to go vegan the gradual way.

Start by getting rid of pork, as it is the unhealthiest type meat you can find on the food chain. Replace it with another healthier type such as chicken, mutton, turkey, or fish. Once you are accustomed to eating that—for several weeks or months if you want—get rid of chicken, eggs, and other milk. After that, get rid of fish. That way, you will find yourself comfortable with eating only whole foods without meat.

 List Down Substitutions for Meat

Of course, you wouldn’t survive if you got rid of meat and ate nothing in return. We all recognize the importance of meat in life. Meat is a great source of proteins, and it helps in muscle development. Therefore, it is important to prepare a substitution plan for your meat. Luckily, meat can be substituted with legumes. They are rich in protein and other nutrients required by the body. You can also opt for veggies if you want some variation in your meal. 

If you want to consume soy products, you can have tofu and edamame. They are the only non-dairy food products that are rich in protein and calcium. They are great alternatives if you are lactose intolerantHowever, you should be wary of soy products because there are dozens of soy products that are genetically modified. Most food manufacturers would trick you into thinking that you are consuming a “healthy” and “vegan” foods.

 Beware of Additives and Preservatives!

Like we said above, you need to be wary of the chemical ingredients put in a certain “vegan” foods. Most food manufacturers will deceit you into believing that you are eating vegetarian foods when in reality, you are not. Therefore, you need to be vigilant. Always check the ingredients to ensure that you are eating real vegetarian foods. Here are the list of common additives you should watch out for.

Carmine/cochineal (E120) – Red pigment of crushed female cochineal beetle, used as a food coloring.

Casein – from milk ( protein).

Lactose – from milk (sugar).

Whey – from milk. Whey powder is found in many products. Look out for it in crisps, bread a, d baked products.

Collagen – from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chicken, pigs, and fish. Used in cosmetics.

Elastin – found in the neck ligaments and aorta of bovine, similar to collagen.

Keratin – from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chickens pigs, and fish.

Gelatine/gelatin – obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones and is usually from cows or pigs. Used in jelly, chewy sweets, cakes, and in vitamins; as coating/capsules.

Aspic – industry alternative to gelatine; made from clarified meat, fish or vegetable stocks and gelatine

Lard/tallow – animal fat.

Shellac – obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect Tachardia lacca.

Honey – food for bees, made by bees.

Beeswax (E901) – made from the honeycomb of bees, found in lipsticks, mascaras, candles, crayons, etc.

Propolis – used by bees in the construction of their hives.

Royal Jelly – secretion of the throat gland of the honeybee.

Vitamin D3 – from fish-liver oil; in creams, lotions, and other cosmetics.

Lanolin (E913) – from the oil glands of sheep, extracted from their wool – in many skin care products and cosmetics

Albumen/albumin – from egg (typically)

Isinglass – a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish, and is used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer.

Cod liver oil – in lubricating creams and lotions, vitamins and supplements.

Pepsin – from the stomachs of pigs, a clotting agent used in vitamins. 

For more, read Veganuary: Vegan Label Reading Guide.


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