Mass production in the meat industry creates high greenhouse gas emissions and uses significant amounts of water for production, creating detrimental effects on the environment. Whether you're thinking about transitioning to a plant-based diet or simply want to reduce your meat consumption, here are a few easy tips to get you started!
1) Take it slow
Become a full vegan overnight is a lofty and challenging goal. Transitioning to a plant-based diet is an adjustment, and the more you ease into it, the easier it becomes! When you're first starting, try having one plant-based meal a week, this way, you're giving yourself time to plan and put a lot of thought into a recipe you'll really enjoy. This will also help you experiment more with new recipes and develop a collection of ones you really like that you can come back to in the future!
2) Use what you know
No idea what kind of plant-based dishes you'll like? Try veggie-fying your normal favourites. For me, these include eggplant parmesan, black bean tacos, butter chickpeas and tofu instead of chicken, chickpea salad in the place of tuna, and tons of others! Pro tip: beans and lentils are great sources of protein that can be the base of a lot of your favs turned plant-based.
3) What's worth the hype?
You've probably seen tons of "meatless" alternatives in grocery stores like veggie chik'n strips, meatless meatballs, etc. With the rise of beyond meat, you may find yourself gravitating towards these easy substitutes. What I've found personally is that these substitutes can be great when you're really in a pinch, but for the most part by making your own meatless mains with hearty ingredients like beans, tempeh, and tofu you'll be generating less plastic waste (by buying things like beans and lentils in bulk) as well as getting more nutritional value out of your food. Personally, I think homemade meatless alternatives taste way better too- definitely worth the extra effort!
4) Don't feel pressured!
Food is fuel, you have to listen to your body and do what is right for you! If your lifestyle or needs don't agree with an entirely plant-based diet, that's okay! Every little bit counts, whether you're an experienced vegetarian or trying your best to participate in meatless Mondays, you're making a difference. Many people I know are flexitarians, eating mostly plant-based, with meat every now and then. If you do choose to eat meat, try and buy local, and if you're eating fish, remember to look into sustainable fish companies or local fish markets if you have the opportunity of having one close by!
Ambassador Sydney has been a vegetarian for 7 years and has gone through all the ups and downs of transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. In this post, she shares some basic tips for an easy transition to plant-based eating!
This month, Sydney has been experimenting with more fun and exciting recipes trying to use up her food so it doesn't go to waste!