7 Top Tips for Eating Less Meat and Dairy
It’s week two of Veganuary and if you’re undertaking the challenge and feeling a little overwhelmed, let us be your vegan lifestyle guide. First, a gentle reminder to be grateful that you have a choice in what you eat (since almost a billion people go hungry each year), that you have the opportunity to become healthier and that you get to contribute to a greener planet.
Now gratitude aside, when learning anything new, such as forgoing meat and dairy and switching to plant-based eating, it’s important to have a game plan. Think of this article as your program for vegan success.
So here are some tips for eating less meat and dairy:
1. Plan your meals.
When planning your meals, instead of focussing on what you’re giving up, instead embrace all the new plants and foods that you’ll get to eat and cook with.
Planning your meals in advance will help you stay on track when it comes to grocery shopping for plant-based substitutes and will prevent you from reaching the stage of becoming so famished that all you can think of is surrendering to an awfully tempting and awfully unhealthy hamburger from a global fast food joint. Learn about the ins and outs of the vegan diet by doing your homework into the foods you should eat for certain vitamins and minerals and the supplements you should consider taking so you maintain health and optimal nutrition during this time.
For help in in-depth vegan meal planning, visit the Vegan Society website as their checklist will help you narrow down your choices and better plan a full week’s menu.
2. Follow plant-based food influencers for inspiration.
Instagram is the perfect source for awesome ideas and inspiration. Here are some vegan influencers to check out:
When we think of comfort food, we think of a box of donuts, slices of greasy pizza or surrendering to a scrumptious burger. Veronica, of the Boston-based vegan blog VedgeyVero offers up so many mouthwatering vegan meals and recipes that you wouldn’t even know it’s vegan if it wasn’t in the bio!
If you need more than just ideas for vegan food, follow Diyasha Jones for all-round vegan lifestyle inspo. The model and wellness advocate frequently posts reels and Instagram Stories offering up information on how your body changes when you change to a plant-based diet, how you can save money when shopping for vegan food and she even posts about natural health remedies.
For tips on skincare, weight-loss detox or plant-based detox, follow Vegan coach Orisha Oshun’s Instagram account I Am Surviving Vegan. She boasts an an online community of over 300,000 followers and her Insta reels are a must-watch, frequently attracting over 100,000 views or more.
Orisha created the account to help those who are transitioning to a plant-based diet by sharing plant-based soul food that people resonate with and can easily recognize.
For more plant-based influencers and bloggers, revisit our Veganuary post from last year here.
3. Buy vegan cookbooks.
Prancing about in the kitchen, concocting a plant-based feast is a lot easier when you have a vegan cookbook on hand to guide you.
This website has rounded up a list of vegan cookbooks with tons of superb recipes that will get you to whip up something deliciously divine for you and the whole clan. We also recommend the Global Vegan cookbook by Ellie Bullen and the Deliciously Ella cookbook.
4. Download apps to help you locate nearby vegan restaurants.
When cooking at home isn’t an option (because you’re traveling, or after a long day at work you just can’t be bothered), there’s always eating out– but scouting for nearby vegan restaurants online can be time-consuming. Download these apps that help you find nearby vegan restaurants in a fraction of the time it would take you to do an online search:
The free app Happy Cow is the top vegan app on the market and is used in over 180 countries. This app will make your Veganuary that much easier to complete.
This mobile app from Germany is fairly new but is already being used by vegans in the United States, France, Austria or Switzerland. It boasts a list of over 16,000 restaurants across these countries.
The Yelp app can help you locate vegan restaurants and since it’s also a review app, you can read customer reviews and recommendations first before marching over to that plant-based restaurant and wasting your money.
5. Veganize your meat.
If you can’t do away with meat entirely, there are plenty of plant-based faux meat options now available in supermarkets to buy. So if you’re partial to burger patties, chicken nuggets, schnitzels and sausages, choose the plant-based option instead. Just be mindful that packaged vegan foods isn’t as nutritious as plant-based whole foods.
Check out this post for a list of meatless favorites for you to prep.
6. Choose plant-based milk.
A study by the National Institute of Health suggests that 65% of people around the world have trouble digesting lactose after infancy. It is possible that dairy products are imposing unnecessary risks to our health and bodies.
With a myriad of plant-based milks to choose from such as soy, almond, macadamia and rice milk, we have reached the age where there little reason to continue supporting the dairy industry where cows are required to be pregnant just so humans can enjoy dairy milk. Choosing plant-based milk can help end the cycle of cruelty for these cows.
Check out our previous post to learn more about plant-based milk options.
7. Sign up for meat-free challenges.
The plant-based journey is much easier when you’re part of a supportive network where you can draw inspiration from others on the same path. Signing up for meat-free challenges can get you that kind of support as there are plenty of online groups across the social media landscape that you can join. Aside from Veganuary, here are two other meat-free challenges you can participate in:
This is probably the easiest one for everybody as you are not required to dive into a whole new meat-free, dairy-free diet all at once. You can ease into it by just saying no to meat at least once a week.
Meat-Free Mondays is a not-for-profit campaign launched in 2009 by the music legend Sir Paul McCartney and his daughter Stella McCartney. It is a campaign that encourages everyone to give this movement a try – and it doesn’t have to be on Mondays, you can choose to do a meat-free Tuesday or meat-free Sunday if you prefer. Because sacrificing your desire for meat once a week still creates a positive environmental impact.
If you want to challenge yourself after Veganuary, there’s also the No Meat May campaign. This program and registered charity urges people worldwide to eliminate meat from their diets for the entire month of May. Launched in 2013 by Australians Ryan Alexander and Guy James Whitworth, this campaign challenges everyone to live a healthier life to end animal cruelty and for a healthier environment.
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Cover image by Andrea Piacquadio.