Once you’ve made the decision to shift to a plant based diet (congratulations!), don’t let the pressure of that decision feel like a weight on your psyche. Everyone makes the shift at their own pace, and the speed at which you switch over does not matter as much as you think it does. If you are like most people, you’re not going to go from eating steak one day to only greens the next. The following are some tips to making a gradual shift; you don’t have to quit meat cold-turkey (pun intended).
Slowly Cutting Out Meat:
- Start with meals you love – The easiest way to make the transition will be to find the foods that you love, and adapt them into meat-free versions. If you have hankerings for pastas, opt for meat-free sauces instead of the sausage and chicken heavy toppings. Chinese takeout can still be delicious with all veggies instead of beef and pork.
- Introduce Meat Substitutes – Along those same lines, you can start to bring meat substitutes to the table. (They’re out there and they are delicious!) If you want to have a burger, substitute portabella mushroom caps for meat patties. If you’re a consistency-eater and textures are important to you, invest in texturized vegetable protein for the feeling of meat. Soy substitutes (aka tofu) also come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, so getting rid of meat won’t be too difficult.
Then, Say Goodbye To Dairy
- Milk & Eggs – Straying away from animal milk is not incredibly hard. Soy and almond milk taste slightly different than the standard cow milk, but the adjustment period shouldn’t be that long. Silken tofu is a great substitute for breakfast-style eggs (use turmeric for that familiar yellow color!). If your baking recipe calls for eggs, chia or flax seeds are an excellent alternative.
- Everyone misses cheese – Time and time again, people switching to a plant based diet say eliminating cheese is hands down the most difficult part of the transition. Cheese alternatives are getting better, but it’s probably easier to think about the deliciousness that you can eat instead of the cheese flavors that you’re giving up.
- Many other cultures have cuisines that are almost solely plant based. Go find them and get inspired! Many regions of India are vegetarian, and there are a plethora of veggie curries and dishes that you can incorporate into your repertoire. Moroccan style whole couscous and South American quinoa are also great a grains to be aware of in your new plant-centric life.
Most importantly, have a fantastic time with your diet transition! You’re making a great change for your body, and you’ll start feeling a noticeable difference in your body within a few weeks. Happy eating!