In the old days, being a vegetarian was considered as something very eccentric in the West. It was normally limited to followers of certain religious teachings.
Today, however, the story is completely different. More and more people have been “converting” to vegetarianism over the last couple of decades. People are choosing to exclude meat from their diet for various reasons. The most common reasons are the wish to stop eating animals and health issues. Some people simply feel that meat and fish have become too expensive, so they choose to become vegetarians for purely economical reasons. In fact, many people are semi-vegetarians, meaning that they exclude meat and fish from their diet for a couple of days per week.
This great interest that some people taken in vegetarianism has put it in the spotlight in contemporary cuisine. More ingredients from all over the world are available in supermarkets than ever before. It has been included in all major recipe books and cooking shows. Vegetarian restaurants have started sprouting in cities all over the world at an incredible rate. This has in turn contributed to a great deal of innovation as regards vegetarian recipes. Cooks have seen it as a great arena for coming up with new and creative dishes. Vegetarianism has brought excitement to cooking. It has also become more representative of modern living.
If you are deciding to become a vegetarian, there are several things that you should keep in mind. It is essential for you to understand that you cannot just stop eating fish and meat and introduce no other changes to you eating habits. Switching to a vegetable-based diet requires proper planning and timing. When you stop eating meat and fish, you also stop providing your body with proteins and other nutrients, such as calcium, zinc, iron, and vitamins D and B12, which are beneficial to your well-being. You must not eliminate meat and fish, you must substitute them. There are other great ingredients that are very rich in protein and nutrients and these should become an essential part of your diet. They include leguminous plants, oilseeds, tofu and dairy products. If you find out that you are allergic to any of these, make sure to seek advice from your nutritionist. You may also need to take certain comprehensive vitamin and mineral supplements.
You should also keep in mind, however, that becoming a vegetarian is not so difficult anymore. If you plan it carefully, you will find that you can very easily feel comfortable as a vegetarian. Vegetarian dishes are today available virtually everywhere; even fast food joints offer some tasty salad dishes that come in large enough amounts to make you feel full. Society is becoming increasingly tolerant and mindful of vegetarians and there will be no reason for you to feel excluded at social occasions.
Never forget that most basic rule of all that applies to both vegetarians and meat-eaters: whatever you eat, make sure that you eat a great variety of food. With an endless number of delicious vegetarian recipes that are easily accessible on the Internet, there is no reason for you to stick to just a few vegetarian recipes. You will need plenty of variety to have a balanced and healthy diet.