A Meat Eater’s Guide to Vegetarianism
Do you care about animals and still eat meat? You aren’t alone.
It’s easy to feel defensive when vegetarians point out the cruelty and environmental destruction meat-filled diets often support. Depending on who you are, you might keep eating animal products guiltily or feel an impulse to devour a burger in front of them.
March 20′s Great American Meatout encourages us to cut meat from our diets. If we can’t (or won’t) do that, at least we can reduce what we consume.
Here are a few tips for how meat eaters can eat more vegetarian and vegan meals.
1. Inspire yourself with knowledge.
In this culture, vegetarianism isn’t the default. The typical cookbook is brimming with recipes for red meat, fish and chicken; no laws guarantee schoolchildren need to have meat-free lunches available every day.
Set yourself up for success. Make humane meals an easier, tastier option by buying or borrowing vegetarian or vegan cookbooks. Peruse a few blogs. Find recipes that actually excite you.
A few resources to consider include The Vegan Stoner, Minimalist Baker, Thug Kitchen and Oh She Glows. You can also skim through Good and Cheap, a free PDF cookbook for living off $4 a day that isn’t all meatless but still has many options.
2. Rethink how affordable plant-based food is.
Health food store shelves try to deceive you. You can skip buying an obscure, expensive superfood or meat substitute.
Sometimes, all you need is a can of beans bought at a store you can afford.
Care2‘s Katie Medlock shares a decent shopping list that yields a week of vegan meals for $50. If you rely on SNAP in certain states, double your allowance by buying farmers market produce with the Double Up Food Bucks program.
Consider eating meat-free for a week or longer, rather than just one day, to stretch specialty ingredients.
3. Eat what you like.
Some like salad. Others consider it rabbit food.
Luckily, meals sans animal products are versatile. They can fulfill your healthiest, or junkiest, dreams.
You do you.
You can easily make your favorite foods vegan. Throw together some whipped cream by refrigerating coconut milk and beating the solids with vanilla. Drown potatoes in vegetarian gravy. Try a tasty ice cream sundae with banana soft serve.
Becky Striepe shares some great tips on how to eat without feeling deprived.
It’s so easy to have an all-or-nothing attitude toward vegetarianism, thinking if you aren’t full veggie you might as not try. People with all diets perpetuate this false binary.
As self-described disabled vegan and activist Michele Kaplan writes, “Veganism is thus about doing the least harm and the most good. And so if one can not go fully vegan due to their health and/or disability, it becomes a matter of doing what they can.
“Consider eating less meat. Not an option? Consider drinking a non-dairy “milk” (soy, rice, almond, oats, coconut etc.) instead of buying dairy milk. Or if changing one’s diet is not an option, then consider purchasing products for your home and body that are not tested on animals, if not totally vegan…It’s better to do some good and less harm than nothing at all.”
Soycrates has a few more resources for people interested in more plant-based meals.
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