More and more people are opting to go meat free these days. However, deciding to stop eating meat is not always super clear cut. You may decide one day but might suddenly get overcome by temptation the next day. Deciding to stop eating meat is a process- a journey. In order to help you reach your destination, we are enlisting some easy ways to help you go meat free:
1. Start slow
Develop a weekly plan. You can start by deciding to go meat free just 1 day per week. Slowly increase the number of meat free days until you are able to do so for all 7 days. Simply dipping your toe in the water of meatlessness in this manner can you get started on this journey!
2. Do not give up meat entirely
For many people, it helps to not give up non vegetarian food completely. For example, some opt to eat chicken and turkey and give up red meat completely. Others eat fish or/and eggs but avoid all other meat types. Decide if doing so will make it easy for you to go meat free.
3. Get family and friends on board
This is an important part of the process of going meat free. Make sure you explain the reasons why you have decided to stop eating meat. You might need to be assertive, not aggressive. If anyone starts an argument, firmly tell them that everyone is entitled to have their opinion respected. You need not decline invitations to parties- just make sure before you confirm that there are vegetarian/vegan dishes for you. Better still, offer to bring your own food if needed.
If you are in charge of cooking for the family, you might have to make some explanations. For example, you can say that it is hard for you to handle meat or that you find the task and taste unpleasant. If needed, you can be firm that no meat will be brought into the house henceforth and if anyone desires, they may eat it outside.
4. Find support elsewhere
If your family is not supporting your decision, seek support elsewhere. You can find many vegetarian and vegan support groups online.
5. Start cooking
The easiest way to go meat free is to be in control. Start cooking your meals so that you are sure there are no meat/animal products in the dishes. There are many fantastic and tasty alternatives to meat such as soy, potatoes, etc which can all be cooked to replace meat.Even if your repertoire consists of a few dishes prepared excellently, you will not miss meat. And your family and friends will start appreciating them too! Invest in good cooking tools and recipe books as well.
6. Do not expect others to change for you
The hardest part of becoming a vegetarian or vegan is depending on others to feed you. You cannot and must not expect people to change for you. No one will want to learn a new way of cooking for your sake. You need to take matters in your hand and start throwing some weight around.
7. Seek tasty alternatives
You can start using tasty meat replacement alternatives like tempeh, tofu and seitan. These are much better proteins for the heart compared to meat based proteins.
8. Think about the advantages
Going meat free has many benefits. The most important one being for planet Earth. Processing meat requires tons of water. Additionally, many manufacturers are known to adopt harsh methods of factory farming the animals/birds. The livestock is housed under very harsh conditions. All these factors will change if more and more people decide to go meat free. Also, proponents of veganism and vegetarianism believe that going meat free has many health benefits. On the downside, you will want to consider getting proteins and Vitamin B 12 from other food sources or supplements. Talk to your doctor if this is the right decision for you.
9. Spend a day at the animal factory/farm
Spend a day on the farm and you will realize that animals have feelings just like us. Also check out the factory farming practices. These things can help strengthen your resolve.
10. Shop smart
More and more super markets are stocking meatfree versions of your favorite foods. You can also buy meatfree food online from sites like Vegan Essentials etc.
11. Keep a varied, well balanced diet
As stated above, if you plan on going vegetarian or vegan, you must ensure getting adequate protein and B 12 from other sources or supplements. Eat foods like peanut butter, tofu, Greek yogurt, low fat dairy, cheese, beans, lentils, walnuts, chickpeas, broccoli, Quinoa etc. Avoid sugar, sodas and junk food. Eat organic as much as possible. Stay away from stale and leftover foods. Eat three meals a day and chew your food slowly.
12. Listen to your body
If you feel tired or dizzy, talk to your doctor. Make sure you drink a lot of water and get regular medical checkups.
Going meat free is not easy but once you do,you will gradually warm up to eating plant based foods. Keep an open mind and soon you will be able to go meat free forever!