“When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.” ~ Dalai Lama
Becoming a vegetarian has many benefits for the body and mind.
Eating a plant-based diet makes us healthier, more energetic, calmer, happier, and it even develops our spirituality. But vegetarianism has its pitfalls as well.
To make the transition much easier and smoother, your body and mind need to be prepared. Learn from my mistakes and take full benefit of the vegetarian diet by avoiding these traps:
1. Dietary mistakes: prepare your products beforehand.
Every major diet change has to be prepared for beforehand, especially when we take away a large food group (in this case meat).
When I decided to become a vegetarian, I did not make any meal plans, and I did not prepare my cooking ingredients properly. This led me to make more diet mistakes than I would like to admit—I had lots of pastries, bread, pasta, and so on. As a result, I gained a lot of weight before I realized what I was doing wrong.
So, start by planning what your vegetarian lifestyle will be like. Make lists of healthy vegetables and fruits you will use in your meat-free dishes. That will save you a lot of mental pressure, overwhelm, and frustration. In time, this vegetarian lifestyle will become a habit and making better healthier diet choices will be a breeze!
2. Surroundings: prepare your closest people.
Making such huge diet changes is not just a shock to our bodies and minds. It also affects our closest surroundings—our family, friends, colleagues, and so on. Sometimes their resistance or lack of understanding will cause quite a discomfort. When I switched to a plant-based diet, the hardest thing to overcome was sticking to my diet choice regardless of what others might say. I was ridiculed and pressed to start eating meat again more than I expected. I was called crazy, and I had to constantly explain how I supply my body with protein.
But the real problem was that I was not preparing my mind for this social challenge. Now I wish I handled things in a different, gentler way. Instead of saying, “Mom, I am a vegetarian now,” I could’ve said, “I feel a bit heavy today, I will be munching on veggies instead.” That would help make a softer and less painful transition for you and your closest people.
Besides, once they see the radical change in your vitality, health, and boosted intuition, they will want to know your secret! And that is the perfect time to explain what you are doing—after the solid evidence has already manifested.
3. Take some time to accommodate yourself: prepare your mind.
Any diet plan is a matter of habit. What groceries we buy, how and what we eat, and so on. And any diet change feels uncomfortable at first. Until the new behavior becomes a habit on a subconscious level, occasional mistakes will be made.
For example, you are in a hurry and you grab a quick sandwich on your way. And you totally forget that the sandwich has meat in it. The important thing to remember when making such changes is that there is an accommodation period, and you should not feel discouraged over situations like this. Accept these occasions as a learning curve, and they will become your stepping stones to your new, healthier nutritional behavior! Do not beat up on yourself and simply keep going. Your mind will take note and install the new habit more quickly.
If you stumble and stop the process, you teach your subconscious that your new, healthy diet is hard to establish. When I tried to avoid meat altogether, I constantly made such mistakes, and I felt so disappointed that I slipped back into my old habits. When I learned to just keep going and move on, the change became much easier and quicker. And I felt amazing!
Becoming a vegetarian can be one of the best health decisions you could make. It holds great physical, health, and spiritual power. But it can be quite a challenging change as well. That is why making that important diet transition has to be made with the right mindset and mental preparation. That is how you guarantee yourself a smooth and joyous transition for you and your closest people.
And the beauty of this simple action plan is that it can be applied for any type of change (dietary or other) in your life!
Author: Milica Vladova
Image: Unsplash/Dan Gold
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron