Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Around thirty-five years ago, when I bought my first home, I decided to become a vegetarian.
This wasn’t an overnight decision.
I came to this decision because I’d struggled to eat the meals the rest of my family enjoyed for as long as I could remember. Nothing was wrong with my Mum’s cooking, you understand, even though I thought that was the problem as a child.
It was that I didn’t like the texture of meat.
It was a real effort to swallow my food.
My mother said I was a fussy eater and I’d grow out of it.
Others Didn’t Understand Why I Didn’t Want to Eat meat
My ‘fussy eating’ led to one of the worst experiences of my young life, as far as feeling forced to eat meat is concerned on a weekend stay at my cousin’s house.
My Auntie had bought a joint of beef especially for us.
Try as I might; I couldn’t eat it. Even though I happily ate the roast potatoes and carrots, I couldn’t face the beef.
My Auntie raged at me. She told me that, whatever I left at this meal, would be served up again at the next mealtime.
She was as good as her word. That plate of beef was reheated and placed in front of me repeatedly over the next two days.
She wasn’t trying to be mean. In her mind, I’m sure she was trying to cure me of being what she called a ‘picky eater’.
I went home, hungry and upset.
Why couldn’t people accept that it wasn’t just that I didn’t like certain foods? I couldn’t eat them.
This was a long time ago, the early 70s, to be exact. Way before, being a vegetarian was something people had much experience of.
So the turning point was having my first home, bought in the late 80s.
That put me in control of the food I ate.
Just A Reminder – This was a long time ago
There were no ready meals for vegetarians in the early 80s. At least, not many that I could afford to buy.
Pre-cooked beans and legumes were uncommon at best, impossible to find at worst.
Advice on nutrition was sparse and I didn’t have internet connectivity to search out recipes.
(Don’t forget that the share of households with internet access in the United Kingdom grew from 9% in 1998 to 93% in 2019.)
Wow. That really does make me feel old.
Just finding ingredients was a challenge
Cooking dried beans was a long-drawn-out process. It involved soaking them overnight and then boiling them rapidly to kill any toxins on the skin. Follow that with cooking the beans at a slow boil for what seems like an age.
I invested in a pressure cooker to cook dried beans in batches. That allowed for quicker cooking of the beans which made up a significant part of my diet. It also meant I could freeze them, and I have them to hand when I was cooking.
Being vegetarian was still a struggle and eating out was pretty daunting.
Menus with just one option ‘suitable’ for a vegetarian were typical even into the 2000s. Even then, the dish would often include cream. That meant being a vegan with an active social life, and staying true to your diet was a nightmare.
It was not uncommon to have the kitchen staff remove meat from a dish and serve it up as a vegetarian!
Trust me. It happened.
I lost count of the number of times that happened to me and I was sick as a result.
Recipes for vegetarian meals were around, but they involved a lot of preparation. It was a real disincentive to anyone who likes the taste of meat to change to a vegetarian diet.
I became a master at meal planning
During this time, I learned quickly to plan my meals for the week ahead. I was cooking the ingredients ahead of time as far as possible, batch-cooking and freezing ingredients, such as beans, or complete meals to eat later.
I became super-organised out of necessity, but those organisation skills have helped me in many ways.
Adding a slow cooker to my kitchen equipment was something else that helped me. It’s great to see slow cookers are back in favour.
Happily, times have changed for the better for us vegetarians
Now it’s relatively easy to follow the eating plan you choose.
(Although my Mum still offers me wafer-thin ham, thinking that’s somehow OK for vegetarians. Or she makes her special hotpot, telling me it’s not real meat; it’s only corned beef! Bless her heart.)
Necessity is the mother of invention
I learned the hard way how to successfully move from being a meat-eater to a plant-based diet.
No one else in my family was a vegetarian, and recipe books were few and far between. And recipe books were expensive as Amazon hadn’t been invented.
I learned, and I learned quickly.
Now I’m going to help you.
Sign up for my free course on moving to a plant-based diet
Indeed, access to information on good nutrition and thousands of plant-based recipes is much wider now.
But it can still be a challenge to transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet without help, and easy access to some tried and tested hints and tips.
Information on nutrition is the main thing you must have.
If someone in your life wants to switch to a vegetarian diet, it can cause concerns
If you, or someone in your life, wants to become vegetarian or vegan, it’s normal to have concerns about nutrition and possible adverse effects on health.
You’re right to be concerned. If you cut out whole food groups from your diet and don’t replace them with foods containing the vitamins and minerals your body needs, you could suffer from a deficiency.
Concerns about nutrition are where having a guide and ready access to information, hints & tips, plus FAQs put together over many years, will be invaluable.
My free course will guide you through the steps for removing meat, meat products, and fish from your diet.
The course won’t encourage you to waste the food and ingredients you have in your store cupboard.
I hate waste of any kind.
You will be encouraged to start to replace ingredients with animal-free versions.
You’ll be shown how to transition to a plant-based diet without sacrificing flavour or texture in your food.
And you’ll learn about nutrition sources to make sure you not only stay healthy. Additionally, you’ll see how you can improve your health by lowering your risk of developing diseases linked to processed foods consumption.
Let’s get started
The first step is to raise your knowledge about nutrition and the role vitamins and minerals play in keeping you healthy.
My guides tell you where to find the vitamins and minerals your body needs. These guides cover only vegetable and dairy sources.
Do you aim to move to a vegan diet? Then starting by moving to a vegetarian diet is an excellent first step.
I look forward to being your guide.