The decision to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet is still a pretty scary one for someone who currently eats meat. Something about the thought of giving up meat throws them into a panic as they see this as a huge life-altering change, which granted it certainly is. But the levels of panic frequently go past the rational and into banana-pants territory, even though when you think about it, there’s not a lot to fear. Specifically, there’s something very simple you can do to keep the transition from scaring you away: looking up vegetarian and vegan recipes.
Too often people either hear about the diet shift or give it some consideration, but because they hear about what they’re losing, they instantly assume they can’t eat anything anymore, and that’s (very thankfully) not true at all. Yes, you are cutting something out of your diet, but the really scary part is when that thing you cut out, meat, actually is the cornerstone of everything you eat. In those instances you really do need to be scared, but more toward a vegetarian diet rather than away from it.
With losing something, people forget that the world doesn’t always end. Consider Bruce Lee’s philosophy to martial arts. He learned pretty much every discipline available to him and realized none of them worked perfectly, so he decided to make his own based more on what he could cut out than add in, comparing it to a sculptor taking a chunk of marble and chiseling away to make a work of art. In the same way, taking foods off the table doesn’t make the diet or the life inferior but rather allows you to focus more clearly on the important things, like getting healthy.
So then, with meat gone, judgment becomes extremely clouded, but the magic item that clears all is the thing that clouded it in the first place: hunger. All a meat-eater really needs to do to smooth the transition is to start researching vegetarian and vegan recipes instead of thinking about all the steaks and chicken breasts and pork chops they’re losing.
A few searches for “vegetarian recipes” kick back thousands of results. Thousands. There is no shortage of people out there looking for delicious alternatives and finding them every single time. Even your precious bacon, which seems like a deal-breaker to lose, can be emulated without any difficulty on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Basically, if you’re looking for an excuse to shrug off the vegetarian diet, claiming that there’s nothing to eat isn’t one you can use.
Not only are there plenty of meat substitutes in terms of burgers and such, but there’s hardly even any need for the usual substitutes as vegetarian recipes are just so varied by nature. Restriction breeds creativity, and removing meat from the equation has yielded more than enough fantastic results, some of which we feature every single day.
Essentially, if you’re trying to encourage your friend to get into vegetarianism or beyond, the most effective tool you can use is just a good, delicious vegetarian meal. The fear is that giving up meat means giving up flavor, so disproving that misconception needs to be the number one method for progressing. Getting to someone through their stomach is easily more effective than appealing to their rational side in most cases, so use what you’ve got and either prepare a wonderful vegetarian dinner for a doubter or just sit down with them and browse some recipes online.
We live in a wonderful world where the Internet has made it possible to search for literally anything in seconds. Vegetarian and vegan recipes are no longer locked away in books and chefs, but are readily available to anyone willing to go find them. Start there and the transition will be much easier. Promise!