(NaturalNews) Vegetarians and vegans typically live longer and healthier lives. Lower body weight, good cholesterol levels, and less risk to diabetes (http://www.naturalnews.com/025739.html) are just a few reasons to become vegetarian or vegan.
The transition from a meat eater can often be hard. Many experienced vegetarians struggle to find new options and avoid monotonous meals. Below are tips for starting or staying on the vegan or vegetarian diet plan.
1. Find Vegetarian Restaurants - You may find yourself calling a restaurant ahead of time to determine just what is in their vegetarian meal. This can be a good idea to insure your meal is good but you can instead use the "Vegan" or "Vegetarian" option under "Restaurants" (http://citysearch.com). This way you can view ratings and reviews of local restaurants with vegan or vegetarian cuisine. Another method would be this search on Google Maps (http://tinyurl.com/d95hvh). Just change the zip code in the Search box at the top to your own.
2. Join a Vegetarian Support Group Online - This could include a Facebook group, vegetarian forum (message board), church group, or social group. Or you and your friends can start your own vegetarian support group. The purpose is to get talking and exchange help, support, tips, recipes, and stay strong in the vegetarian lifestyle.
3. Be Sensitive to Carnivores - You may think it is gross but not everyone has seen the light of the vegetarian way. To them eating meat is natural and tasty. An overly negative reaction or nagging will never convince them. Could they convince you to eat meat? So be patient, understanding, and polite with your carnivore friends and maybe they will follow your good example.
4. Stock up on Vegetarian Recipes - Do not get yourself into a food situation with limited choices and repetitive meals. There are plenty of great vegan and vegetarian recipes available online for every meal of the day (http://www.chooseveg.com/vegan-reci...). Talk to your vegetarian support group and exchange recipes. Visit a bookstore and browse some of the vegetarian recipe books. Do not be afraid to experiment on your own.
5. Beans & Lentils - Beans and lentils provide a much needed source of protein, fiber, iron, and other nutrients. Beans and lentils can easily be combined into many different types of foods. There are a wide range of ethnic foods that can use beans and lentils as a tasty and filling combination. Women in particular need to consume more beans and lentils to avoid a risk of anemia.
6. B12 - B12 is necessary for the natural health of your body. It is normally found in animal products and a vegetarian diet on its own does not provide enough B12. Most multivitamins contain B12. Or you can try soymilk fortified with B12.
7. Calcium - Calcium is important for strong teeth and bones. There are many other alternatives than dairy products for obtaining calcium. Make sure to eat plenty of dark leafy greens. You can get large boosts from drinking orange juice fortified with calcium and by eating molasses, tofu, soy, and more.
8. Vitamin D - Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones. Make sure to spend time in the sun, take a vitamin D supplement, or drink soymilks fortified with Vitamin D.
9. Omega 3 - Omega-3 fatty acids help you to regulate your cholesterol (http://www.naturalnews.com/025715.html). They can be found in flax seeds, walnuts, fish, almonds, and cloves.
10. Drink Lots of Water - Drinking plenty of water is highly recommended for everyone. It is particularly important for vegetarians to get your body running at peak performance and not wasting energy or nutrients. It can help your body adjust to a vegetarian diet and create a filling feeling.
Source - www.naturalnews.com