Hi, I have been contemplating becoming a vegetarian for some time now and really like the idea of being ‘meat free’. I’m a massive animal lover and I really can’t stand the thought of eating meat anymore ( I didn’t eat much anyway). The concept of becoming a veggie is appealing, but I’m worried about getting the right balance of what I need on a daily basis and how my body would cope without meat. Would I need to take supplements instead of meat? Also, are the veggie options you can buy healthy? I have seen meat free versions of certain meals and wondered how healthy these are for you too.
SMITH SOLVES IT:
Hello and thanks for your email. I can hear how the decision to become vegetarian is gradually becoming clearer to you as you realise that you’re not really wanting to eat meat and sensibly you are considering the wider implications, such as nutrition of your decision.
Popular Diet Choice
Vegetarianism is the fastest diet choice at the moment. Some people are choosing it because of animal rights issues, others because it is more green and some simply don’t like the taste of meat. Because it is now a popular and respected choice of diet, there is very good provision for vegetarian meals both in restaurants and in food shops. Like anything there is a whole range of quality and you will in some ways get what you pay for. There are some brands that are respected and seen as healthy such as Linda Macartney or Good Life and it is also fairly straight forward to make your own meals completely from scratch.
Nutritionally a vegetarian diet does not necessarily need supplements, but you are right to want to understand more about how you compensate when you switch your eating habits. It is important to think through how you can get enough of things like iron and vitamin B that are high in meat, and there are lots of very good websites such as http://www.livestrong.com/article/246822-a-vegetarian-diet-plan-for-beginners/ that have masses of information on this aspect of being a vegetarian. How about trying it as an experiment and seeing how you get on with it? Keep an eye on how you feel, your energy levels, your sleep patterns etc and if you are concerned at all, you can always consult with a nutritionist to make sure that you are receiving all that you need from your new diet. Good luck and I hope you enjoy the exploration!