Today many individuals are trying to live a meat-free lifestyle. The reasons can vary from a moral duty to save animals and the planet, improving health in general, or merely as a way to achieve weight loss. Whatever the reason may be; switching to a meat-free diet can be stressful and tricky; especially without guidance and resources.
People have the misconception that a meatless diet means eating endless amounts of fruits and vegetables; however, this is not entirely true, with the proper amount of preparation and research making the switch can be easier for beginners. I decided to kick-start my meat-free diet with a 21 day no meat fast which help with the mental preparation, but three vital things helped with this transition.
1. Doing Research
Before switching to a meat-free diet, it is a good idea to research what a meat-free diet can look like in general. This research includes researching recipes and meat alternatives that are still appetizing. Additionally, it is essential to ensure you are still having nutrient-dense well-balanced meals. Considering the fact taste preferences and nutritional needs vary, it is best to have an understanding of the meat-free diet.
Whether it is planning out what recipe you will try out a day in advance or doing traditional meal prep, this is a great way to be consistent and disciplined in your switch. It may be tempting to quit early on or get discouraged because there are more available meat choices nearby; especially if you live with individuals who do eat meat. Meal prepping can minimize the temptation.
3. Utilize Social Media
A huge factor that can contribute to a successful switch is the endless amount of resources on social media. There are many vegetarian/vegan-friendly Instagram pages, Pinterest boards and even apps that showcase how natural the lifestyle can be for a beginner. One app that is also a website, that I found extremely helpful is Happy Cow. If you are not the best cook, don't feel like cooking, or want to eat out this app/website provides all of the vegan and vegetarian food spots near your location!
By far, I am not saying the switch is easy; there were many times I was tempted to give up. However, these three things offered me a push to continue. Switching to a meat-free diet can be gradual and ultimately the most significant deterrent is the mental aspect of the transition, but with preparation, discipline, openness and encouraging yourself along the way it can become your new norm.