Ten Tips to a Meat Free Lifestyle

On 1st January this year I made a decision- no more meat in my diet. Here’s ten tips for those of you also wanting to go meat free…

  1. Cook at home – I used to love eating out, but since cutting out meat, I now just find it much easier to cook at home 90% of the time and can often make much better veggie meals at home than I can get when I eat out. It’s also cheaper and healthier too- you can cut out hidden oils or fats or chemicals. Just be sure to read all ingredient lists carefully…

 

  1. Make your food tasty! Cook meals you enjoy! Get excited about vegetarian options! Get adventurous with your ingredients! Search vegetarian and vegan blogs, scour markets for fruit and veg and spices, google recipes for your exciting ingredients, or even better invent your own!

I took this photo at Anjuna Market in Goa India- spices are great ways to add flavour to your food.

 I love reading veggie recipe blogs for inspiration:

https://cookingonabootstrap.com/ – simple, low cost vegan and veggie recipes using lots of pulses.

https://deliciouslyella.com/category/recipes/ – lovely recipes e.g. “crunchy orange, coconut and vanilla granola” and “potato and peanut curry” – yum! Who needs meat with tasty meals like these?!

http://vegetarianventures.com/ – slightly more exotic flavours and ingredients – if you fancy getting complex with cooking try this blog. Great for a special occasion.

 

  1. Find veggie alternatives for your old favourites!

One of my favourite meals used to be spaghetti bolognese made with beef mince, now I’ve replaced it with red lentil bolognese served with whole wheat spaghetti and courgetti noodles. It’s honestly delicious. I think the grated carrot I add is key giving it a lovely delicate sweetness.

See my last blog post for my recipe

Another favourite of mine is Indian food –instead of prawn or chicken or lamb curry, I now make veggie curries- most veggies really soak up the flavours and spices and I honestly don’t miss the meat at all. Cauliflower, potato, sweet potato and spinach are great ingredients which work so well in a curry, a lovely veggie curry topped off with fresh coriander – mmm perfecto! 

Veggie Chilli made with kidney beans is also a staple. Piled onto sweet potato or brown rice it’s a great source of protein and nutrients!

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for vegetarian changes to the menu. When you do eat out ask the waiter or chef if the menu option can be adapted. All too often you look at a menu and the only vegetarian option will be portobello stuffed mushrooms or plain tomato pasta- that gets boring pretty quickly, especially if you’re used to cooking up tasty meals at home! Most places will offer other options if you ask.

 

I asked the waiter in the Cheesecake Factory if I could have the Louisiana Chicken pasta without the chicken- no problem he said! 🙂

 

  1. Get veggie friends! Meet other veggies, vegans and like minded people- either online or in person. Join Meet Up groups or online forums. If you’re involved in a community you will learn from each other and keep motivated to continue to make positive changes.

Veggie Forums:

http://www.veggieboards.com/forum/index.php                             https://www.happycow.net/forum

 

  1. Get friends and family involved. Now this can be tricky. A lot of people roll their eyes when you say you’re a vegetarian. I don’t understand why wanting to do something positive for the planet, the animals and your health produces such a hate filled reaction. But it often does.

Some gentle advice- don’t shove strong opinions down their throat ,the best       way to involve others is simply to remain positive and lead by example. Make sure they see how healthy and happy you are eating this way and let them ask questions.

 

They may ask “Your skin’s looking great what products are you using?”

You may reply “Oh actually it’s because I’m eating so much more fruit on this lifestyle”

They may ask: “How do you have so much energy on a veggie diet? Don’t you feel tired all the time?”

You may reply “Actually no I feel more energetic than ever before”.

Over time they may become more curious and realise that you can have a healthy lifestyle while being a veggie- honestly some people really don’t believe this. This is the point you can direct them to other resources or suggest some recipes for them. A great way of getting friends or family involved is to suggest a veggie pot luck night, and show them some amazing meals. Then once they’re interested, you can start discussing other reasons it’s important to go meat free.

 7. Think about why you’re doing this. Write it down. Why do you want to go meat free? For me the primary reason is ethical reasons – to avoid the death of innocent sentient beings. If I can live a healthy, happy life without having to eat an animal which has been murdered then why wouldn’t I?! But it’s also more cost effective, lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, it benefits the environment…Whatever your reasons are, reinforce them to yourself and feel proud that you are actively changing your lifestyle for the better.

 

  1. Nutrition is key. Don’t survive on fries and packet noodles- you’re not going to be getting enough nutrients with this and 99% will fail on this diet and say they can’t cope without meat. So eat a variety of food! Eat lentils, beans, veggies, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruits. Don’t be afraid to have bigger portions of veggies and carbs like whole wheat pasta or brown rice. You need the energy and nutrients. If you cut down on calories you will probably be lacking in nutrients and then won’t feel great and are more likely to go back to your old meat eating ways. Use chronometer to check your typical days eating so you can see if you’re getting the required nutrients and if not then google foods which are high in those minerals and vitamins. Oh and buy a B12 supplement!

 

  1. Educate yourself about animal rights and ethics. Educate yourself about the benefits of a plant based diet. Watch documentaries – Forks over Knives or the Cowspiracy. Read interesting blogs. Watch Youtube videos. Read articles and books. Then you’ll feel more passionate about the cause, and you’ll be able to answer tricky questions from others.

Books:

 

  1. Stay true to yourself. It’s all so easy to ignore what is in your heart and mind. Yes the majority of society doesn’t eat this way. Why should you?! But you may be saving animals from pain and death, or cutting some profit from these companies who make a living out of their cruel practice. The more people who avoid meat, the less demand there is, and the more these companies are going to have to CHANGE their ways to meet the demands of the consumer! Things are changing, and by being an ethical consumer and making demands the companies will listen because all they care about is PROFIT. What matters is that you are making the difference, and by spreading positivity about this life then trust me, others will do the same.

 

Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment down below. Any other advice for people making that first step from meat eater to plant eater?

About The Author

Dubai Dreamer

Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.

🙂

1 COMMENT

  1. Ashwin Fernandes | 19th Mar 17

    Apart from just fruits and vegetable there are even plants based vegan meat available in the UAE. Like veg sausages, burgers, frankfurters etc. Available only online on Gogoguy.com. Here is the link, have a look – https://dubai.gogoguy.com/tofu-soy-vegetarian-products 100% vegan, 100 % organic

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