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6 Baby Steps to Go Vegetarian
Food

6 Baby Steps to Go Vegetarian

6 Baby Steps to Eat Vegetarian:  (Helping a Reader’s New Years Resolution)

One of our readers asked: “I’m trying to eat less meat in the New Year and want to go vegetarian. Do you have advice?”

Yes, I do.  I will say first-hand that it’s not easy transitioning from carnivore to a plant-based diet. After reading many books like Skinny Bitch and discovering how animals were treated abused in Factory Farms, my appetite for meat shrunk.  Discovering how many GHGs/pollution I’d save, I was sold on the diet.  But after eating meat for 25(ish) years, it didn’t happen overnight…

Here are 6 tips to go Vegetarian:

  1. Baby Steps.  You can’t expect to go from eating wings, burgers and chicken sandwiches to zero. Well, most humans can’t.  You’ll hate it.  Set mini-goals for yourself. Eat meat 7 days a week? Start with aMeatless Monday or 2 days per week. Work your way up to only having meat on the weekend, to only 1 meal per week. You’ll be meat-free soon after!

    Baby Steps (and yes, i used my cute niece.)
  2. Be realistic with your goals. You don’t HAVE to go vegan.  Stay in your comfort level.  Although I typically cook veggie at home, I do eat seafood when out.  (I clarify I eat a “mostly pescetarian” or “fake-a-tarian” diet.)
  3. Start with meat substitutes for foods you enjoy from brands like Morningstar or Amy’s. Try the vegan dogs, chicken-less fingers, etc. Many are tasty and make the transition of “missing meat” a little easier.
  4. Don’t fret over hiccups.  Yes, I’ve been known to “try meat” or “have a bite” on occasion, especially when dudes are involved.  I treat myself to a birthday burger yearly.  Just don’t call yourself “vegetarian” or “vegan”(trust me.) Labels are nice if you’re committed, but aren’t necessary. Do what makes you happy.
  5. Try getting creative with what you enjoy. Instead of thinking “I must eat vegetarian”, I thought of my favorite meaty dishes and turned them veg. One day I craved Beef Stroganoff, so then googled a veggie-friendly recipe with a “ground beef” seitan from Whole Foods.  This worked. Love a Reuben? Living on the Vedge has a Tempeh Reuben recipe that looks PHENOM.
  6. Start replacing the faux “meat” products or ingredients with veggies, etc. Enjoy pepperoni pizza? Try a mushroom instead.  Can’t miss chicken burritos? Try the veggie quesadillas.

Good luck! Readers, what have you learned while cutting meat from your diet? Struggles? Triumphs?

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

1 thought on “6 Baby Steps to Go Vegetarian

  1. Great tips, Julie! A little goes a long way – if everyone in the US went completely meatless one day a week the carbon savings would be the same as taking 19.2 million cars off US roads for a YEAR!
    I’ve also found that family and friends are more supportive of a veg lifestyle than some might think… especially when you feed them yummy meatless meals, and vegan treats that taste even better than the original 🙂
    -Beth, greenphillyblog

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