A Meat Eater’s Guide to Vegetarianism

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on March 19, 2017.

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 that 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.

I’m among the blameworthy. As a flexitarian, I eat meat at restaurants and home sometimes when my live-in partner makes dinner. While unpopular to admit, I’d probably go vegetarian if I were single.

If we can’t — or won’t — go completely plant-based, then we can at least reduce the meat we consume.

Here are a few tips for incorporating more vegetarian and vegan meals into your diet.

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 StonerMinimalist BakerThug Kitchen and Oh She Glows. You can also skim through Good and Cheap, a free PDF cookbook for living off $4 a day. While this guide isn’t entirely meatless, it still offers many plant-based options.

2. Rethink the affordability of plant-based food

People of all races and economic classes are vegan/vegetarian, but wealthy, white health nuts get most of the press.

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.

Raw food is OK. Takeout is OK. Vegan barbecue is OK. 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.

4. Do it.

It’s so easy to have an all-or-nothing attitude toward vegetarianism, thinking that 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.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

229 comments

peitse w
peitse w4 months ago

It should be 'Animal eaters' and not 'Meat eaters' because that makes it sound so clean sterile and animal-free. Only when meat is made without animals , can the word animals be dropped.

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rachel r
Past Member 4 months ago

Thank you.

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Shelley R
Shelley R5 months ago

Thanks.

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Dave fleming
Past Member 5 months ago

Thanks for sharing .

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Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

Thanks

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Janis K
Janis K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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mmmm w
mmmm w6 months ago

you go, sweetpea(s)

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Frances G
Carla G6 months ago

thanks for posting

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Martin H
Martin H6 months ago

Thank you for this article.

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Leo C
Leo Custer6 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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