Five Fun Ways to Eliminate Animal Products from your Diet
Becoming a vegan or vegetarian overnight is difficult. However, there are plenty of ways to gradually cut animal products out of your diet. The health benefits of cutting animal products out of one’s diet will be discussed in a different post, so for now let’s just agree that eating less animal products benefits both us and the animals that we love!
Actions have to be repeated until they become habits and the act of cutting out animal products
is no exception. So to gradually cut out animal products out of your diet, you just need to gradually change your habits. Here’s 5 steps to get you started:
1. Join a vegan/vegetarian meetup/social group
Everything is better when it’s shared, except for maybe chocolate cake. If you feel you’ve
exhausted the resources of books and blogs and want to actually talk to others, join a vegan or
vegetarian meet up group. There will be more groups in larger cities, but many smaller places
have groups too. If none exist, start your own! This is a great way to learn new recipes, find
local meatless restaurant options, and meet new friends in the process.
A similar version of this would be to find a vegan/vegetarian lunch partner at the office. Even if
it’s just once every week or two to begin with, find someone or a group to go out with for a
vegan or vegetarian lunch. This is a fun way to try new restaurants and receive the social
benefits of going out with a group. Other versions of this could be doing meatless Mondays (or
Thursdays) with your spouse/family or eating vegetarian/vegan-only lunches for a week (with a
Additionally, this provides a bit of an accountability structure as you’ll want to contribute to the
group by “reporting” your own experiments, techniques, and results. Cutting out animal products
is as much a mental/emotional process as it is physical, so equip yourself with the proper
feedback mechanisms and support. Make sure you congratulate yourself on small successes. It
can be seen as fun, exciting, and a learning process, not a chore that you have to do!
2. Eat avocados!
These really are little miracle fruits. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, the
“healthy” fats, which have been linked to decreased inflammation and lower chances of heart
disease and diabetes. These fats are also very satiating, meaning that you will feel full for a
longer period time after eating these types of fats. If you think you may feel hungry after trying to
cut out animal products,then avocados provide an excellent way to fight this feeling.
Additionally, avocados are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals while containing almost no
sugar. Avocado oil can also be used instead of butter when sautéing or roasting vegetables.
3. Eat cauliflower!
Roasted cauliflower tacos with pickled onions or slaw? Riced cauliflower sautéed in avocado oil
with roasted asparagus, portabellas, and sun-dried tomatoes? Pureed cauliflower, sweet potato,
and coconut milk soup? Roasted buffalo cauliflower instead of chicken wings?
Cauliflower is hearty, filling, healthy, and versatile. It is delicious prepared just about any way
and is pretty good raw dipped in some hummus. Roasted cauliflower (seasoned to taste) tastes
amazing and really can provide that savory taste and heft that meat eaters crave. This
underrated vegetable has 1/8 the calories of rice, vitamin C levels comparable to oranges, and
plenty of antioxidants, additional vitamins, and minerals. U.S. farmers sold more than $150
million more cauliflower in 2016 than 2012, showing a rapidly increased demand for the
vegetable, both in restaurants and at home.
4. Experiment with dairy substitutes
Vegan cheese “alternatives” have received mixed results over recent years but are gaining
popularity. Brands such as Kite Hill specialize in cheeses, spreads, and yogurts all made from
almond milk. Earth Balance made their name with non-dairy “butter” and has since expanded
with vegan mac ‘n cheese, dressings, and other snacks. Let’s face it, butter is delicious and is
used as a base in so many recipes. Finding a vegan butter substitute could go a long way in
gradually cutting out animal products, especially if you’re a baker. How about we grab some
cauliflower and some vegan butter and voila! We’ve got a vegan substitute for mashed
potatoes. Not quite like mom used to make, but just as tasty!
Substitutes for milk itself include soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, coconut milk,
and now even hemp milk. Try some of these out in your coffee, cereal, or homemade ice cream.
You’re just going to have to sample several to find what works best for you. Or, better yet, join a
vegan/vegetarian meet up and ask around!
5. Engage with Vegan/Vegetarian Groups or Accounts on Social Media
There are tons of accounts and groups on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest that deal with
eliminating animal products from one’s diet. Many of these accounts and posts will discuss other
products and lifestyle changes to remove animal products from other aspects of your life as
well. So pick a social platform (or two) that you enjoy and see what’s out there!
So there’s two main elements to gradually eliminating animal products from one’s diet: they
psychological and the physical preparation/consumption of food. Here we’ve tried to give you
some tips on addressing the psychological aspects through social interaction and accountability
in addition to some tasty preparations and products that you may not have thought of yet.
Consider this a fun and exciting opportunity to learn instead of a chore and we guarantee you’ll
be happy with the results!