The first thing that I recommend about becoming a vegetarian is talking to your doctor. You should get a blood test done before to see where you are at, so you can monitor the things that you are low or high on. You should also get another blood test done 6 months after and again a year after to make sure that you are getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet. The blood test that my doctor had me do specifically was Vitamin B12 as well as iron (mine was too high before I became vegetarian; a year later, it’s finally normal).
Once you’ve done the blood test, the next area to focus on is how you want to start your new journey as a vegetarian. There are two ways you can do this, one is to go cold turkey (what an odd expression for this occasion), or you can slowly cut meat from your diet. The choice is entirely up to you.
For myself, I grew up in a house with a Dad that grew up on a farm, so we always had meat for dinner. The worst part was it was always red meat. Ground beef this, that, and pretty much everything. I was so tired of eating beef that when I moved out last year, I basically stopped eating meat for a good two months. After that, I limited my meat intake to just pork, chicken, and fish (maybe four times a month for any of those), and then I cut out meat from my diet (except for the occasional meal of chicken or fish). I still eat chicken and fish, but rarely. I try to keep away from it as much as possible and get my protein from other things like beans, sprouts, corn, kale, mushrooms, artichokes, spinach, broccoli, chia seeds and other nuts, and other grains. I will also eat tofu or soy products occasionally (for example, Yves veggie cuisine products).
If you have trouble stopping immediately, then try limiting the amount of meat you eat. If you usually eat meat every day, try having a “Meatless Monday” for a month, then go up to two or three days without meat. You could essentially have a cheat day until you no longer feel like you “need” to eat meat.
What about cravings? Honestly, I still get it from time to time. I used to enjoy many Japanese and Korean dishes that are made from pork or beef. However, I have my own trick to stop myself from giving in: (I watched a documentary on how animals are slaughtered) I think about how the animals suffer when they are killed and I immediately feel disgusted and repulsed at my cravings that I immediately opt for the vegetarian dish instead.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!