Vegetarian support. Someone who knows the basics. Just one person to talk to about how to transition to a meat-free diet. That's what I wanted.
The internet as we know it didn't yet exist. Books made it all seem so complicated.
Never much of a cook, I ate eggs and cheese for a year. Yes, fruits and vegetables, too. And rice and oatmeal and bread and cookies and ice cream and more eggs and cheese.
I only briefly knew one other vegetarian.
Most people didn't understand why I didn't want to eat meat, or chicken, or seafood.
There was a definite lack of vegetarian support for my choice of food and lifestyle.
Times have changed!
Now there is plentiful information. We even have to watch out for information overload. There are multiple vegetarian support venues. There are clashes and conflicts and confusion.
The one thing that hasn't changed is there are still people who don't understand although many are more tolerant.
What to do? Where to begin? Who to trust?
My preference is to keep it simple.
Often people think that it's so difficult, perhaps even impossible, to become a vegetarian.
I think nothing could be easier.
It doesn't have to happen today. It can, but doesn't need to.
For today, perhaps you just try a veggie burger. Maybe you order your first vegetarian meal at a restaurant.
Tomorrow you choose again. Either you eat a meat-free meal or you don't.
Try new foods. Download a couple of recipes. Go shopping or see what you can create with what's already in the cupboard.
It's an adventure.
Do give yourself time to enjoy the process.
If you miss your usual favorite foods, go ahead and eat what you really want today. Tomorrow you may choose differently.
Some people want to become vegetarians and are on their way, but aren't committed to make their decision full time.
They may be flexitarians or almost vegetarians for a while - or forever.
You may do that, as well.
Oftentimes when you let go of the pressure of needing to change, the change comes more easily because the wanting comes to the front. Resistance dissipates.
On the other hand, if you've decided today is the day, then just do it.
One meal at a time. You can have a peanut butter sandwich and an apple this afternoon while you figure out what's for dinner.
You don't have to worry today that you won't be getting all the nutrients you need. For most of us, there's time to read and to learn.
Meantime, you can wing it. In a few days you'll know so much more and your body can certainly survive that long.
But, if you're the type who likes all your ducks in a row....
Well, that's fine, too. Do a little research before you begin. There's so many conflicting reports about studies on what's best to eat.
My suggestion is for you to look at both the vegetarian food pyramid and the four food groups.
Choose the one that appeals to you the most. You can change your mind later if you learn something that shifts your thinking. There are professional dietitians and physicians who support either one or both.
Vegetarian and vegan cookbooks often contain considerable basic information as well as recipes.
To begin, you might want to read some of the book reviews given on one of the online bookstores. You can easily find just about any type of meat-free meal you prefer.
There is tremendous vegan and vegetarian support in the world of books these days. Vegetarians do eat many more foods than salads and the richness of the diversity available is quite wonderful.
One of the greatest benefits of exploring vegetarian diets and making the decision to begin is the sense of rightness that comes from following your desire.
You know that you are doing something for yourself that you want to do. You're making the decision today and then continuing to make choices about what you're going to eat from now on.
Before you put any food in your mouth, you'll ask yourself if it's really what you want to be eating.
There are also health benefits to garner vegetarian support.
There are many, many books about the ways your body functions better with a meat-free diet. You may lose weight. Your blood pressure may return to normal. Your energy may increase and joint stiffness may decrease.
There are numerous scientific studies, done under medical supervision, that document significant improvements even reversals of heart disease and the symptoms of diabetes mellitus for many, but not all participants.
You may want to Google medical doctors Dean Ornish and John McDougall and read what they have to say about the effects of diet on improving physical health.
From a global perspective, we can see significant benefits of our vegetarian diet.
The broader impact of our vegetarian choice becomes apparent.
We're polluting our planet indiscriminately.
The air has ever increasing amounts of methane gas from the cattle we've bred to feed us. Our water supply, both underground and surface are effected by the huge volume of animal waste.
The problem is too big for an easy solution and so it's ignored for now...at least by the politicians and the general public.
If you haven't considered how your personal decision affects the planet, and your children and their children, then I invite you to ask yourself if you want to know. And if you do, then Google animal pollution of air and water.
I won't say more here except to offer my vegetarian support to you through the information you find on this site. If you have questions, please do feel free to contact me.