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Today, the idea of a vegetarian diet is gaining more and more popularity and credence. It is touted as more healthful, invigorating, compasionate and ecologically sound. It seems that to its followers, the vegetarian way is the only way to go, but is there any room for compromise?

If you are interested in being a vegetarian, but don't think that you can give up meat, it is possible to make the change slowly. There is no need to make a sudden or dramatic change in your lifestyle. You simply need to observe your eating patterns and then craft a stuctured for plan for a gradual but steady change in your diet that leads towards the consumption of less meat.

For instance, if you find that you eat meat three times a day, pick one meal each day that you will make vegetarian. In this way you can reduce your meat consumption by up to one third without giving up meat for more than a day. There is no need to attempt to totally change your eating habits at once.

For the one meatless meal a day, it is good to experiment with different foods and recipes that you like so you can build a repetoire of vegetarian foods that you enjoy so that when you move to a more completely vegetarian diet you will have plenty to capture your interest.

Vegetarian meals can be intrinsicly rewarding in their own right with just vegetables, grains, beans, breads and natural sauces, but there are also meat substitutes that are both healthy and delicious. A visit to your local health food store may prove enlightening in regards to what sort of products are available to replace meat in your diet. You can probably adapt all of your favorite recipes, and not have to give up any of the tradition that means so much to families.

Tofu is very popular and comes in a variety of textures. Made from soybeans, it is quite versatile and may be used in casseroles, salads or pasta dishes. It can also be baked or fried with spices or variety of sauces and served as a dish in its own right.

Seitan is made from wheat gluten and is much more meatlike than tofu is. This is a meat replacement that has continually fooled both vegetarian and meat eater alike. It comes in a few different forms, either pre-made or in a mix for you to make it your self. Chewy and rich, this vegetarian food is a real treat.

In addition to these simple vegetarian foods, there are a great many faux meat products on the market, vegetable ingredients crafted to resemble everything from bacon and ham to hot dogs and sandwich meat. If you want the health benefits of being a vegetarian, but don't want to give up the food you love, maybe you don't have to.

Regardless of whether or not you exclusively adopt a vegetarian diet to the point where you would call yourself a vegetarian, you can appreciate the benefits vegetarian cuisine offers and learn to create meals that are meatless, healthy and delicious all at the same time. Even if you do enjoy the occaisional steak, you don't have to be a stranger to stir-fry, vegetable pasta or fresh green salad. Eating good food is good for you, and that's all there is to it!