So you’ve made the decision to go veg. What an amazing step! You are on a mission to diminishing animal cruelty, helping the planet and getting healthier than ever! This mission, however won’t always be easy, little grasshopper. While the treasures of better health and a clean conscience await you at the end, the first steps might be challenging at times since you’ve been eating meat for so long. But do not fret! We asked long time vegetarians and vegans to guide your way. They’ve made the switch, they’ve been there and done that, and now they’ll be your Yoda, your yellow brick road, your Mr. Miyagi — and before you know it, you’ll be the one giving out advice.
Dr. Neal Barnard, Founder and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
“Focus on four food groups—vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes—that are the most powerful for health. What really counts is what works for you, whether it’s a bean-based chili or leafy green salad for lunch. Give it 21 days. When you see the numbers dropping on the scale, when people remark about how great you look, and when you feel your health getting better and better day by day, you’ll really want to keep going. And there is an extra benefit: A wonderful rebound of energy.”
“Keep the focus on the short term—that is, three weeks—so there is never any pressure or long-term commitment. Once you’ve experienced the power of healthful foods, you’ll never want to let it go.”
Additional tips from Dr. Barnard can be found on his website.
Stephen Neabore, M.D., Physician at Barnard Medical Center
“Learn a new recipe! Try to eat as much fiber as you can since it is found only in plants and will leave you feeling full.” (Dr. Barnard recommends aiming for 35 to 40 grams of fiber a day. His research shows those who follow a high-fiber vegetarian diet weigh 10 pounds less, on average, than omnivores.)”
“Decreasing medication requirements—or even stopping them all together—is extremely rewarding.”
Elaine Hendrix, Actress “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” and Animal Activist
“I find people move towards this diet for various reasons: health, animals, environment, experiment, all/other… So maybe that’s my answer, to be clear about why you’re adopting a vegetarian diet and regularly remind yourself of that reason. The more important the reason and more personal it is, the stronger it will take hold—and it will likely shift.”
“For me, I became a vegetarian in 1995 because my boyfriend and I were really into Kundalini Yoga and eating vegetarian was part of that. Then I became an animal activist and my reason became about saving lives. Now that I’m vegan I can’t do anything without thinking of animals first. It’s become not just a lifestyle, but my whole life. It’s been an evolutionary process, one baby step at a time.”