So, alot of time has passed since my fingers have touched my keyboard, and instead of boring you with the details of my six month break, I thought I would let you in on a small segment of the changes in my life.
One of the biggest things is my change in diet. No, i'm not on some crazy fad diet, where all I eat is a digestive biscuit and air because a Kardashian is doing it, but in fact becoming a vegetarian. That's right, I no longer spend drunken nights eating a kebab, or revelling in the small joys of a really well cooked burger. I now rejoice in the simple eating life of vegetables.
Now this post is not to convince you to convert, but in fact let you know how hard it truly was to switch my diet and bless you with the tips I wish I had when I started. So if your will power is as small as mine, grab your cup of tea, and your meat free snack and delve into the top ten tips for becoming a vegetarian.
Tip Number One - Don't tell your friends until you are committed
This may sound slightly odd, but trust me, this will be your best friend. There are times in everyone's life where they want to make a change, but don't quite make it. Although I have complete faith that you can happily convert, your friends will not be the same. You best friend will try buying you a pepperoni pizza and try to convince you that "one slice won't hurt". Your mother will order you a burger for your tea, trying to tell you that it's not right.
It's so much easier to keep it to yourself while you try to iron out the kinks. Temptation is everywhere, and my gosh people will not make it easy.
Tip Number Two - Be inventive in the kitchen
Now I can't be the only one who watches cooking shows, and convinces themselves that they are suddenly Nigella, and can turn a tin of tomatoes and some broccoli into a four course dinner for the queen. Well the fun thing about being a vegetarian is that you can be that inventive. Try buying some vegetables and just going crazy with spices and combinations. Some nights a ready meal really won't suffice, so go crazy! My favourite things to eat are now random inventions that I made in the kitchen when I didn't like what I had in my fridge.
Tip Number Three - Don't cut out the things you love
I am the biggest pizza addict that you could possibly meet. It was the hardest realisation that I couldn't tuck into a greasy pizza at the end of the long day. Until it dawned on me. I didn't have to cut it out! Vegetarian Pizza is a thing people! Rejoice! Of course it took me some time to scope out the best one from my area, but once I did, I was the happiest girl alive. Love sunday dinners? Find a vegetarian replacement! I even found vegetarian bacon which curved my cravings. Halloumi burgers are super tasty, and in my opinion, taste even better!
It's all about finding what you love to eat in a better way. Don't cut it out, just find alternatives. Trust me, you'll thank me when you get 3am cravings.
Tip Number Four - Learn to love spices
Before I became a vegetarian, I could barely handle the medium spice at Nandos without a breaking a sweat. Now I have my own spice section in my cupboard, and can't get enough. Everyone knows that eating a bowl of vegetables can be boring, but when you add some paprika? It's a whole different ball game. Experiment with spices and colours, and you'll soon find out that spice is your best friend. I now have an unhealthy obsession with Mexican food, and the best thing? You can make completely meat free, spicy food that is good for your body, and great to eat!
Tip Number Five - Check your bank balance
After around a month of being a vegetarian, check your bank balance. Seriously. Although it may not seem cheaper at the beginning, but eating meat free saves you so much money. No longer able to buy big bags of chicken nuggets, you'll start shopping for individual items to top up your supply, rather than a large weekly shop. The more you commit to a vegetarian life, the more you will reap the benefits in your purse. Cooking at home seems like no big deal, and the expiration date on vegetables means that you have to put them to good use. Including making lunches for work, snacks in advance and so many smoothies. Which means no more mid day cravings where you spend £20 in the local shop, just to eat junk.
Tip Number Six - Eat out more
Now this comes from all the money you will be saving from step five. At the end of the week, treat yourself! You have been clean eating all week, and slaving away in kitchen so give yourself a big reward! Head on out to your local restaurant, or even order a takeaway. You deserve it, and let's be honest. You can afford to now! Not only will you relax for the evening with no dishes to clean, but it's a great way to get more recipes and ideas. I have been spending weeks trying to remake the Chiquitos Halloumi Burger, and i'm close to a break through.
Tip Number Seven - Check out the tin aisle
So you're pushing your trolley around the local Aldi, and it is full of fresh vegetables and fruit. You're ready to go to the checkout right? Wrong! We all know that our mothers have had tins in their cupboards for all of our lives, that never seem to see the light of day. Well this training from a young age will help you. A couple of tins of tomatoes, and tin of sweetcorn and a tin of mushrooms is a quick way of making a pasta sauce for those days that you really can't be bothered. Stocking up your cupboards at the beginning of the month can save you later on, and leave you thanking the lord that you purchased that tin of gherkins.
Tip Number Eight - Sleep is your new best friend
Sleep has always been my enemy. I have spent way too many nights up until the early hours, cursing my sleep pattern. Well the great thing about being a vegetarian, is that your body will create a new cycle. All of the natural things that you are consuming are giving you natural energy that will of course burn out. A tip within a tip - Always aim to have your tea in front of you by seven if you can. At this time of the evening there is always a gap between your favourite TV shows that you can nip into the kitchen and whip up a storm and be back for Eastenders. Not only that, but by the time that the night truly is calling, your natural energies will be depleted enough to allow you to have a restful night sleep.
Tip Number Nine - Cook for two, even if you are just one
Coming back to my pure laziness and weak willpower, sometimes cooking truly is a chore. I don't want to be standing in front of a pan, or chopping vegetables. I want to be sat in bed watching Gavin and Stacey with something delicious. Well a quick way to stop you reaching for the takeaway menu to order a burger, is to cook in advance. Now I will never be one of those meal planners who cook a week in advance (How are you supposed to know what you are craving?!) but a simple thing to do is cook pasta for two not one. Whipping up a lasagna? Cook one big enough for an army. All you have to do is separate a portion and pop it in the fridge/freezer. Then when you are feeling sorry for yourself, just pop it into the microwave and watch the minutes count down in the happy knowledge that you will soon be eating, and you have done absolutely nothing. Ah, bliss.
Tip Number Ten - Snack, snack and snack some more
Now i'm not just talking about chomping on an apple, but make yourself some tasty snacks for throughout the day, that will pang any cravings you might get in the transition. Whip up some nachos and hummus. Even better! Subscribe to service that will deliver them to you. No this is not a promo, but something that has truly helped me. Graze Box has been my best friend through this change. They have a purely vegetarian box, that you can get delivered every week (Or even every month) that is super simple, exciting and delicious. I'm always excited to see what will arrive, and it's easy enough to throw them into your bag on your way out without having to worry.
If you're curious about Graze Box then head on over! If you use the code PJW39TMXB you can get your first, fifth and tenth box free!
So those are my Top Ten Tips on becoming a vegetarian, and trust me. It's easier than it looks. Now if you are an avid carnivore then sit back and relax, just know that one day, your friend might make the decision to cut out meat. If they do? Then be kind! This is not an overnight change, but the rewards are endless.
And if you're making the transition? Then have hope! Use my tips, and have knowledge that once you start, you will never look back!