I must admit: when I first started my vegetarian lifestyle, I felt restricted.

Like many people, I thought having a vegetarian diet meant a lifetime of salads, tasteless tofu and cardboard-like veggie burgers. I was also accustomed to centering my meals around portions of meat.

It was not until I sat down one evening and tuned in to the Food Network that I discovered the potential vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes could actually eat. Since that day, I have noticed that I spend much more time in my kitchen whipping up a variety of recipes that I have learned from the Food Network, magazines, cookbooks and blogs.

What I concluded is that in order to have a smooth transition into vegetarianism, conducting research is key.

Conducting research does not mean sitting in a library for hours while flipping through 1,000 page books. Research can be as easy as subscribing to blogs or YouTube channels about vegetarian living.

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Keeping a book for your recipes is a great way to keep them organized. It will also prevent you from losing your favorite ones. Photo by Quan Siler

 

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has a website that contains hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes.

The Food Network is an excellent tool for research. Not only are you able to see what ingredients to use, but you also are able to see different cooking methods such as stir-frying, dehydrating and blanching. The host of the show will typically provide additional commentary about nutrition as well.

Browse the self-help aisle of your local library or bookstore. You can easily find books about nutrition. A thorough understand of nutrition is vital so you can design your diet to provide adequate vitamins and minerals. Two of my favorite self-help books of the moment Marilyn Peterson’s Vegan Bite-By-Bite and Skinny Bitch written by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.

Old fashion cookbooks are very helpful. Books that are directly targeted towards transitioning vegetarians or vegans are best. Having recipes on hand makes it easier to create meal plans and go grocery shopping.

Leaving behind your carnivore ways is huge step and sometimes a tough process. You can make this process easier by conducting research about your new lifestyle. With enough research you can figure out what exactly is seitan, discover the amount of vitamin C in strawberries, learn to properly cook tofu or discover a vegetable you never knew you liked. Not only will research help your transitioning process, but also it will increase your likelihood of maintaining a lifelong vegetarian diet.

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