How to give up meat and become vegetarian

There are many reasons to become a vegetarian. But it is not always easy to drop one's carnivorous habits…

Vegetarian bowl
© Getty Images
Vegetarian bowl

It was this quote from Paul McCartney that motivated many people to become vegetarians. For others, it was a documentary on the environmental impact of production methods that pushed them to stop eating meat.

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While everyone’s triggers or reasons are different, they all agree on one point: the transition is not always easy. Neither for them nor, sometimes, for those around them. Here is some easy-to-follow advice to help the growing number of people who want to take up this diet.

A step-by-step transition

Becoming a vegetarian means changing your lifestyle and abandoning long-established habits. That is why it is advisable to go slowly. Some people may start by trying out the ‘Green Monday’ method, which consists of not eating any meat or fish on Mondays. Others may prefer the 30-day method:

  • Month 1: Cut beef out of your diet completely
  • Month 2: Cut out pork (in addition to beef)
  • Each month: One meat is eliminated in order to reach, for those who wish it, seafood. This gradual elimination facilitates the transition


On average, adults are advised to eat 0.83g/kg/day of protein. However, these requirements may increase for pregnant or breastfeeding women, for athletes, and for older people who lose muscle mass, and may decrease for people suffering from kidney failure or who are overweight.

To avoid dietary deficiencies it is advisable to replace animal proteins with vegetable proteins. They are found in good concentrations in legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc.), cereals, pseudocereals (chia, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.), seeds, oilseeds, starches, and even algae (especially spirulina).

Try new recipes

Are you worried you'll have a hard time giving up burgers and sausages? Try (with an open mind and open taste buds) vegetarian salami made from wheat for example, or soy steaks, which are easily available everywhere. But don't overdo it, as they are processed products. You’ll be surprised at how good they taste!

Finally, don’t hesitate to experiment with vegetarian recipes, and treat yourself to a good vegetarian recipe book.

A third of vegetarians eat meat when they get drunk A third of vegetarians eat meat when they get drunk