I can remember the day I became a vegetarian pretty clearly. It was 5 years ago now–before I had even decided to become a dietitian and around the time my interest in nutrition was slowly starting to peak.
My older sister had already been a vegetarian for a few years at the time and I was finally at the point where my mom’s threats of “if you become a vegetarian, you have to cook for yourself” didn’t jolt me anymore.
So I set a date that was going to be day #1 of no meat…and then I drove to Panda Express and ordered orange chicken.
Believe it or not, it was a total accident. Mid-bite, I realized that I had forgotten about my new vegetarian diet but it was already too late. I finished the rest of my meal and then haven’t had meat since that day (minus the occasional slip up, usually involving soups and mysterious floating ingredients…oops).
The first few months of being a vegetarian were a hot mess. Let’s just say it involved a lot of Ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti. So while I certainly wasn’t lacking in the carb department, I was deficient in basically every other area of my diet.
I was constantly drained and hungry. And it became a vicious cycle because sometimes it seemed like the foods I was eating only made me even hungrier.
Looking back and knowing what I know now, I totally wish I could give myself some tips for vegetarians to avoid the pitfalls of becoming an “unhealthy vegetarian.”
Until they invent a time machine, however, I’ve decided to do the next best thing: put together a mini nutrition guide with tips for vegetarians on how to optimize your diet. Keep reading for the quick and simple version of what you need to know if you’re looking to make the switch to meatless!…