If you are reading this, you’ve already taken your first step towards a better you and a better world. We understand—you want to ditch chicken, fish, eggs, and other animal products, but you’re not sure how easy that’s going to be. We’ve all been there. The fact is that changing any habit can seem hard at first. But with each passing week, it gets easier and easier. So pace yourself, and know that we’re here to help you! These tips will help make your transition to a better way of eating as easy as pie.
Switch & Ditch:
One of the best things about your new compassionate lifestyle is the abundance of plant-based options that taste just as good as your old favourites. We’ve put together a short list of some of our top picks, but don’t stop here—there is such a wide array of choices. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavours and varieties to find your faves!
|Plant-based dairy products
|Bombay Cheese Company
|The Vegan Co.
How to Switch?
- Start part-time: Cutting out animal products doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. For many people, the best way to change how they eat is to do it gradually. Eating plant-based foods a few days a week or for a certain portion of every day (like before 6 p.m.) is a great way to practice your new habit without having to be perfect. Once you get the hang of it, you can add more plant-based meals each week!
- Cut out the most suffering: Start by cutting out the foods that harm the most animals. Ninety-five percent of the animals we eat are chickens and fish—and they are probably the most abused animals in the world. Simply by choosing plant-based versions of chicken, eggs, and fish, you could prevent a tremendous amount of animal abuse.
- Going cold turkey? If you do decide to cut out animal products all at once, just remember that none of us is perfect. If you find yourself still eating them once in a while, don’t beat yourself up. You can always start fresh at your next meal. Having an approach you can stick with is more important than being perfect from day one.
- Feed your cravings: If you’re missing meat, it probably isn’t animal flesh you’re craving—after all, who eats plain raw chicken? You’re probably craving the end result: a fatty, salty, seasoned, and protein-rich meal. You can get all of that from plant-based foods as well! Stay satisfied with savoury, protein-rich items, like sautéed portabella mushrooms, crispy vegetarian meats, or a snack of salty mixed nuts.
- Get enough calories: If you often feel hungry, you’re probably not eating enough calories. Because plant-based foods have fewer calories and less fat than animal products, many people who ditch meat find they need to increase the amount of food they eat. And vegetables alone won’t cut it; you also want plenty of grains, protein, and fat, which we all need to be healthy. By getting enough calories—the USDA recommends 2,000 to 2,500 per day—you’ll feel full and stay energetic throughout the day.
- Keep up with vegan nutrition: Whether you’ll get enough protein, iron, vitamin D, and other nutrients if you go vegan for good is one of the most frequent worries. A tonne of knowledge and understanding is out there to ease your concerns, along with some reputable publications on vegan eating. Make sure you are aware of the sources of vital nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iron.
- Munch on plant-based meats: Have a hankering for a chicken sandwich, breakfast sausage, or any other animal-based dish? Chances are there’s a delicious vegan version that will quench your craving without the cruelty! From meatballs and lunch meats to chicken nuggets and ground beef, plant-based meat options have exploded in recent years. Every supermarket stocks some. You’ll find some brands are better than others, so be sure to try a variety to see which ones you like best! Here are a few online stores that have a wide selection of plant-based products: Vegan Dukan, VVegano, VeganMall, GreenIndia, Amazon India, NatureSoulShop, and Urban Platter.
- Look for vegan-friendly restaurants before heading out to eat: Find new local spots. You can easily find vegan restaurants or places which offer plant-based food on Happy Cow or Zomato.
- Familiar Foods: Guess what? Some of your favourite foods are already vegan! Stock your plant-based pantry with these super staples so that quick, cruelty-free meals are always at hand!
- Grains: Most bread, pasta, and other grains are free of animal products, and they make a great base for any meal.
- Convenience in a can: Keep your pantry stocked with canned goods, such as black and kidney beans, lentils, and savoury soups.
- Go nuts: Nuts, dried fruit, and granola make for filling snacks at home or on the go. Grab a handful between meals or toss them in a salad or your morning cereal.
- Super snacks: Get your snack on with these cruelty-free faves. You’ll find them in just about any major grocery store!
- Fast and frozen: No time to cook? All out of fresh produce? Reach for veggies, fruit, and ready-to-heat meals in the freezer aisle.
- Eat to thrive: Protein, calcium, iron? No worries, we’ve got you covered. We will take you through the nuts and bolts of nourishing yourself with your new way of eating.
- Seeds and nuts are not only great sources of protein and iron; they also support a healthy immune system. Some of the best sources are peanut butter, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Tip: Grab a handful of almonds as a satisfying midday snack.
- Vegetables are pretty much the healthiest foods on the planet. Some of the most nutrition-packed are kale, broccoli, spinach, and peppers. Tip: Eat the rainbow! The varying, vibrant colours in vegetables exist because of the thousands of healthful phytonutrients.
- Fruit is great for hydration and is a fantastic source of fibre, potassium, and antioxidants. Apples, oranges, blueberries, and blackberries are some of the most nutritious. Tip: Starting your day with a fruit smoothie is a great way to get your daily servings of fruit.
- Grains and starchy vegetables are excellent sources of fibre, iron, and protein. Brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes are a few of the healthiest options. Tip: Whole grains are less processed and more nutritious than refined white grains.
- Beans and lentils provide a hefty dose of protein, and many are also great sources of iron. Kidney beans, split peas, and tofu (tofu is made of soybeans) are some of the best sources. Tip: Always keep an open can of beans in the refrigerator for salads and snacks.
Getting all the nutrients you need is easy if you eat a wide variety of foods. So don’t be boring! Fill your plate with foods from every colour of the rainbow. Switch up your meals. And be sure to eat from all the plant-based food groups: fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, and nuts.
You’ve taken a big step toward a healthier, more compassionate you! Remember, it’s all about progress not perfection. Take your time, and don’t worry about slipups or setbacks.