Animal Cruelty Made Her Decide To Go Vegetarian

Would Becoming A Vegetarian Help Her Lose Weight And Get Healthy?

Hi, I heard recently that KFC and Tyson are being cruel to chickens so I researched online. I was horrified by the animal cruelty I saw. I also discovered other animals were very mistreated.

I never knew this was going on, but I have decided not to eat meat anymore, and I'm becoming a vegetarian.

I am overweight so becoming a vegetarian should also help me get healthier and lose weight. I am overwhelmed over all the vegetarian recipes and stuff because they look complicated.

Is there a cheap vegetarian starter list I could use to get started but not spend a fortune on groceries? Also is there a certain vegetarian diet I should start since I'm overweight? Im 5'5" and weigh 200 lbs. I'm always tired and stressed out so I have no motivation or energy to work out.

Any advice you can give is highly appreciated. I don't know anyone else who is a vegetarian. - J. T.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice

Dear J.T.,

Your feelings and desire to go vegetarian, get healthy and lose weight are all good. Things are complicated by your circumstances:

1) You're surrounded by meat eaters, including your family, who I'd guess aren't interested in becoming a vegetarian.

2) You have health issues - overweight, tired, stressed.

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3) It all seems overwhelming, and you don't know where to start.

You aren't alone - many people who go vegetarian have similar feelings and problems. But even though their hearts tell them to go vegetarian overnight, for lots of good reasons, it's too hard on your body and social life to do that. That's why I always tell people to gradually go vegetarian.

In your case, I think you should first deal with your health problems. Get your doctor to refer you to a dietitian to give you a good diet to follow, and get help with setting up an exercise program that you can maintain. You should feel less tired and stressed once you're eating better and exercising.

Then start learning how to cook vegetarian dishes, and about vegetarian nutrition, and substituting healthier foods for the ones you're eating now, keeping in mind what you enjoy eating. The 10 Tips and Nutrition reports have some good suggestions for changing over to a vegetarian diet.

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Gradually reduce red meat, substituting chicken or fish. Avoid cheese - it's high calorie and high in saturated fat. Tofu and other soy products are also high calorie. Avoid fried foods - steam or bake more. Try to eat more veggies, esp green veggies, and fresh fruit, and avoid sugar, pop, chips etc.

Experiment with beans and whole grains once you're comfortable with all the other changes. All those steps will help you have a healthier diet, lose weight, feel better - and probably cost you a lot less than you're spending now.

This is a change that takes lots of time, so go easy on yourself.

Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

Reply from J.T:

Hi. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

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I went to the doctor last week and he put me on a diet and also gave me phentermine (diet pill). I know it's not the healthiest way to lose it but I have been eating really healthy since getting on them. I'm only going to be on them for a few months so I am teaching myself to eat better now. I also have lost 10 lbs! I will definitely use your advice too. Thanks again!

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