It's World Meat Free Week: Here are 5 easy ways to cut back
It's never been easier to go plant-based.
Whether you’ve been thinking of reducing your meat intake, or cutting it out entirely, now's the time to go for it as World Meat Free Week is here.
People give up meat for a variety of reasons including animal rights, saving the environment, and, of course, the health benefits.
For me, it was a very Lisa Simpson style awakening around the age of 12 - I realised baby lambs were super cute and just didn’t want to eat meat anymore.
I get messages from friends all the time asking how I do it and to be honest, it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.
With that in mind, here are five tips to help you kickstart your meat-free journey.
Take your time
During my first few months as a vegetarian, I felt like calling it a day any time I had a slip-up. But really, there’s no rush. Take the time to figure out what you like and what you don’t like - don't force yourself to eat something just because it's plant-based. You can even start by eliminating one type of meat at a time or having one meat free day a week. Take it slow and don't beat yourself up if you have a mishap.
Reduce meat to one meal a day
Going cold turkey is hard (excuse the pun), so limiting meat to one meal a day is a great place to start. Try eating vegetarian throughout the day and having meat with your dinner in the evenings. This is an actual lifestyle called ‘Vegan before 6 - and it’s a great way to start.
Replace meat with plant based ‘meat’
This isn’t exactly the best way to thrive on a plant-based diet, as meat substitutes can often be super processed. However, these products are lifesavers for the initial transition period. The good news is that there's a massive range to choose from nowadays, as major companies are keen to cash in on the veggie game (McDonalds are even releasing a vegan burger). There’s some amazing stuff out there, my personal favourites are Denny’s plant-based sausages and Linda McCartney’s veggie mince - so good you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Play around with your favourite recipes
Don’t assume you have to give up your favourite non-veggie dishes. Instead, challenge yourself to make them vegetarian. It can be something as simple as replacing the chicken in your fajitas with a plant-based alternative. Sometimes, I noticed it wasn’t the meat I missed, but the flavours of certain sauces or spices I used with it. Play around with recipes until you find something just as tasty.
There are some very informative documentaries out there on the benefits of going meat-free, with a good selection available on Netflix. While some aren’t for the faint-hearted, if you really want to ditch the meat but find yourself struggling, it might be just what you need.