Going vegetarian is one of the best things you can do for your health, for animals and for the planet. However if like most people you have grown up within a meat eating family whose favourite meal of the week is the traditional Sunday roast, it can be difficult to know where to start!
Perhaps the easiest way to begin is by cutting meat out of your diet slowly. Why not try adopting a Meat Free Monday (http://www.supportmfm.org/) for a few weeks and see how you get on with preparing and eating vegetarian meals for just one day a week. As you become more accustomed to meals without meat you can increase this to two or three days a week before eventually cutting meat from your diet entirely.
Another way could be to cut out certain types of meat first e.g. you could cut out red meat from your diet and then white meat such as pork and chicken and then eventually fish.
Whichever route to vegetarianism you decide to take, a good vegetarian cook book will be of great help to give you ideas for balanced meals. Most also contain useful information about nutrition. The Vegetarian Society of Ireland have a cookbook called Simply Vegetarian (http://www.vegetarian.ie/content/merchandise) which can be purchased by contacting us by post, phone or e-mail.
All the nutrients you need are easily provided in a vegetarian diet using a variety of pulses, grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fresh fruit and dairy products. There is lots of nutritional information to be found online. The Vegetarian Society of the UK have a useful page on basic nutrition on their website (http://www.vegsoc.org/info/basic-nutrition.html).
Many people who are considering going vegetarian find it useful to talk to other vegetarians. There are a few vegetarian meetup groups around the country, the details of which can be found on our website. There are also online message boards.
Remember the Vegetarian Society of Ireland is also here to help answer any questions you may have.