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Will you be going cold turkey? by Polly Robinson

World Vegetarian Day 2018 Lucre Unsplash

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Traditionally, we’re a meat loving nation. Famously known for our love of fish and chips, Sunday roasts and naming chicken tikka masala our national dish (yes, we really did that) it’s difficult to escape from meals that don’t include a slab of meat.

Yet with trends like ‘Veganuary’ and ‘meat-free Monday’ the amount of meat we’re eating is falling, which have helped a quarter of UK dinners to become free of meat or fish.

Studies have also shown that vegetarians have better overall health and are less prone to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and other health problems compared to meat-eaters. With the population becoming more aware about what they’re eating, meat-free days are now a natural occurrence for many.

Today, #WorldVegetarianDay is your chance to celebrate all things veggie.

Whether it’s to improve overall health or just trying to live more conscientiously, millions of people around the world will be giving this day a go, some with the intentions of carrying on.

But what are the main reasons people fail and fall back to eating meat?

Convenience

A primary factor for people switching back to meat is its convenience. As so many of us have been brought up to view meat as the focus of a dish, we become a little lost when it’s taken out and struggle to replace it. But the most exciting part of becoming a vegetarian is exploring a whole new range of taste experiences. Instead of piling your plate with meat and potatoes, try adventuring into new territory by trying dishes from India, Israel or Taiwan: the countries with the highest rate of vegetarianism. These new flavors and textures will take your focus off what’s missing from your plate and shift to what’s new and interesting

Alcohol

With reports of a third of vegetarians admitting to eating meat every time they get drunk, nights out can quite often be the fall of your veggie streak. However, one of the easiest solutions to prevent this is stocking up on vegetarian alternatives, like Quorn chicken nuggets or opting for a veggie wrap.

“I needed the protein”

Despite so many people giving up meat in an attempt to improve their health, most will return to eating it with reports of “feeling too tired from too little iron” or just “needing the protein.” Typically, this is due to a few simple factors that can be easily solved, beginning with not just assuming something is healthy just because it’s vegetarian. A healthy vegetarian diet is a balanced one, meaning you should consider eating a range of colourful fruits and dark green, leafy vegetables alongside proteins like; tofu, eggs, beans and lentils. When you can, try to avoid processed meat substitutes which tend to be higher in calories, fat and sodium to make a quick meal instead of a nutritious one.

Going cold turkey

Transitioning smoothly from four legs, to two legs, to no legs is the most effective way to switch to a vegetarian diet. You don’t have to stop eating meat all at once, just begin to reduce your intake by slowly cutting out red meat, then white meat and once you’re ready, take fish out of your diet. You can ease the shock of transitioning by allowing yourself to eat pasta, meat substitutes and cheese to make it more pleasant and slowly reduce these as you explore a range of more exciting and healthier meals.

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