So there are a lot of people sites and experts offering your advice on how to transition to vegetarian diets. I have a slightly different take on the best way to transition. The trick is to make the transition a non-event. Don’t set a deadline, don’t make it an event, don’t do a hard cut. You shouldn’t be able to say “I have been a vegetarian for 22 days.” You should just wake up one day and realize you are vegetarian. But that won’t happen by accident. You need an easy strategy to follow.
How to Transition to Vegetarian
Stop buying meat.
Sounds ridiculously simple, but that is all there is to it.
Don’t buy meat at the grocery store; don’t buy meat when you eat out.
Notice I didn’t say anything about what’s in your pantry already. Whatever is there is perfectly fine to eat. Don’t throw it away. Just use it up in the natural course of your lifestyle. Just don’t replace any of the meat products with more meat.
Psychologically, by making it a non-event, you will have a much better chance of success. The transition will be subtle and relaxed. You will find out better what foods work and what don’t.
What Happens When I Slip Up?
If you try to punish yourself for making a mistake, then you are sabotaging you attempt to transition to vegetarian. You need to let yourself make mistakes; you are only human after all.
What About a Cheat Day?
Nope. Not allowed.
A cheat day implies that meat is a reward. Meat is not a reward. If you make meat a reward, then your normal life gets seen as a punishment. Don’t do that to yourself.
What About Hidden Meat, Dairy, or Eggs?
Eventually, you will want to cut those out, but when you are starting out, you will drive yourself crazy trying to figure out which breads have eggs and which don’t. Just focus on meats you can see at first. If the soup says “vegetable soup”, then assume it is okay. If it says “vegetable soup with beef broth” then take a pass. Try the tomato.
The Next Step
Once the “no meat” rule is part of your life, you can start getting more strict about what you eat and don’t eat.
A Simple Strategy
The strategy needs to be simple. You want to implement it when you are stressed, when you are tired, and when you are hungry. The simpler the better.