Today’s Meatless Monday post is brought to you by the fine folk at Weal Food for Vegetarian Awareness Month.
If you’re thinking of going veg, you may be trolling the internet for ways to cut meat out of your diet. Look no further. Here are some tips to help get you started.
- Quitting cold turkey (mandatory pun) may meet with failure rather than success so go slow. Gradually cut out meat in the following order: red meat, poultry, pig, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey and meat products (i.e. gelatin, rennet, bone char sugar, V8 etc.) This could take days, months or even years. Start with Meatless Monday and build up to meatless everyday.
- Be open to new tastes and be patient with the process. Tofu steak is never going to taste the same as the real thing and the saying “it tastes just like chicken” only applies to other animals, not meat substitutes.
It’s often been said that it takes 21 days to create a habit so give it time and give yourself a break if you fall off the wagon.
- To be a healthy vegetarian remove most processed food from your diet. In the presence of (nutritional) health is the absence of unnatural food cravings. Meat, shmeat-you won’t miss a thing. And if you do, there are tricks to satisfy your animal-trained palate.
- Prepare your own food. Recipes abound on the internet and there are many vegetarian/vegan restaurants that do tasty meals (if you’re lucky to have some in your area). And speaking of which…
- Good cookbooks to get are the Moosewood series and Laurel’s Kitchen. Both offer straight-forward recipes that are easy to follow with ingredients commonly found in many grocery stores. Laurel’s Kitchen also provides the low-down on a vegetarian diet as well as ingredient and nutritional information.
- If in doubt, consult ‘cultural’ cuisine. Dishes from the Middle East, India, Ethiopia, Italy, Greece and Mexico do vegetarian food combining very well.
- Vegetarianism is a spectrum from lacto-ovo to vegan. The journey to a plant-based diet is unique to each individual and you will settle on a diet that works for you. You may even decide that you’d rather be flexitarian and as long as you are occasionally choosing organic meats from ethical farmers than that’s o.k. – for you.
- Make sure every meal contains protein, fat and fibre for satiety, that feeling of fullness and appetite satisfaction. Meat shmeat-you won’t miss a thing.
- Make sure half of your plate is full of vegetables. Fill the rest with good grains and some protein.
- Eat a variety of food to ensure you extract the myriad of nutrients that a plant-based diet contains.
And finally, for motivation, keep in mind the good parts of a plant-based diet; it imparts benefits to your health and less detriment to the environment. Bon Vegetit!