How to go vegetarian – painlessly!

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Becoming vegetarian is one of the most positive things you can do, for you, for the animals, and for the planet, as I’ve explained in Why be vegetarian? and the good news is that, really, it’s not that difficult.
The question everyone asks is: 'So what is there to eat?'

There are loads of wonderful things – in fact some of your favourite dishes may already be vegetarian! Crisp pizza loaded with tomato sauce, scrumptious vegetables, herbs, olives, and oozing with cheese; crisp samosas with spicy filling, mango chutney and a tangy yogurt and mint sauce. Then what about spring rolls with a succulent filling and sweet chilli dip; fajitas with spiced red beans, soured cream, grated cheese and guacamole; creamy hummus with olives and crisp Middle Eastern bread; spaghetti with tangy pesto or a million other possible sauces; fragrant curries from southern India, with warming spices and fresh curry leaves; Thai curries with creamy coconut milk… These possibilities just scratch the surface.

And if you're wondering about how vegans cope without the cheeses, yoghurts, creams etc., rest assured there are truly excellent vegan alternatives available.

Delicious food is certainly not a problem when you go vegetarian. But what if you miss meat? The flavour of burgers, sausages and bacon, perhaps? Or even fish? Then have a look at the amazing range of meatless meats you can now buy. Frankly, the look and smell of them is too much for me (even though I know they’re totally vegan) but there are plenty of people for whom they make all the difference, and they have been known to fool even the most dedicated carnivores…

So, if you want to go vegetarian, my advice is simple: just do it! Whether you go vegetarian overnight, or gradually, is up to you. You know yourself and how you like to approach things. Do what feels comfortable. Some people start by eliminating red meat from their diet, then white meat, then fish. Others decide to start by being vegetarian for one meal each day, or for one day a week, and gradually build on that. If you adopt this gentle approach, it’s a good idea to review your progress from time to time – or to plan a schedule – to keep the momentum up.

In any case, make sure you eat things you really love (some of which may happen to be vegetarian or vegan already). Almost every dish will have a vegetarian version – perhaps included in those I’ve mentioned above. Then start to add new dishes. There are some suggestions in the Recipes section to get you started and there are plenty of ideas in my books such as Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Meals in Minutes or Rose Elliot Vegetarian Supercook, which are good ones to start with. Eat well, have fun and be happy.
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