Making the switch to veganism is a small decision with great effects. Research has shown that eating more whole plant foods can not only reduce your risk of certain diseases, but can reverse diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Cutting down on animal products is beneficial to not only your health, but the environment as well. Almost 20% of fossil fuel in the US is used to produce animal products, and it has been proven that those with a diet that is heavy in meat leaves a greater daily carbon footprint than those who eat a plant-based diet.
While it has its benefits, making the full transition to veganism can seem daunting. A few years ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix called What the Health that made me change my eating habits completely, and I went 100% vegan. After being confronted with all that information about the negative impacts of a heavily animal based diet, I felt that I needed to give up all the foods I love for the sake of the environment and the animals. I slowly started to give up on the vegan diet out of convenience, but I knew I still wanted to make a change.
The idea of becoming vegetarian or vegan can feel very overwhelming for some people and going into it with an all or nothing mentality can make it seem even more intimidating. Like most people, I’ve never been good at telling myself that I can’t have something – because it will just make me want it even more. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can cut back on your intake and use of animal products without giving them up completely. Who knew small changes can have such a big impact?
- Order non-dairy milks with your coffee
This simple tip is an easy, small change that anyone can make to their typical coffee order. Instead of getting dairy milk, try an alternative such as oat, almond, soy, or coconut milk.
- Make meat the accent of your meals, not the focus
By making meat the accent of your meals instead of the main entrée, you can shift away from meat heavy dishes to more vegan-friendly based meals. Some easy examples of this include adding a few pieces of chicken to a stir fry instead of eating the whole chicken breast or having meat as a side dish to your entrée.
- Choose vegetarian meals when you go out to eat
Switching to ordering vegetarian meals when you go out to eat is a great way to reduce your meat intake, but it can also be more budget friendly! For example, a vegetarian bowl at Chipotle comes with free guacamole!
- Try plant-based versions of your favorite foods
One of the biggest reasons why many people today are hesitant about trying veganism because they’re afraid to give up their favorite foods – but this should be the last of your worries! There’s plenty of meat and dairy alternatives available on the market, but also tons of yummy vegan friendly versions of your favorite snacks you can try.
- Participate in Meatless Monday
This simple tip is perfect for those who are just starting to dabble in the world of veganism. Going meatless once a week is a small commitment with a big impact, and a super easy transition for people who are just starting out.
- Don’t strive for perfection
It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself when it comes to changing your diet. Remember to take it one day at a time and slowly work to reduce your meat and dairy intake. Don’t stress if you slip up!