If you are still eating meat and dairy and need assistance transitioning off, this is for you.
First let’s start where you are and talk about portion sizes and how to organize your plate. If you make sure to have the majority of your plate full of fruits (avocado, peppers, olives, etc) and vegetables (leafy greens, asparagus, brussels sprouts, etc.), you should be in good shape during your transition phase. This will balance the meal to assist with digestion and proper elimination. See examples below.
I asked you all on Twitter “what challenges are you facing trying to quit meat”. I got a few responses, which are listed below. Also listed are solutions. Try any of these recipes or substitutes to break your addiction to meat. Avoiding foods high in saturated fat (meat and dairy) will help release excess fat on the stomach area and foster a better running cardiovascular system.
Obstacle 1: “Trying to find something that mimics the texture and isn’t mostly made with soy or fillers”
My favorite are beans and lentils, but you can also check out the soy-free and gluten-free options here: http://www.peta.org/living/food/guide-soy-gluten-free-meatless-meat
It’s important to read the ingredients on the back of the frozen burgers to make sure the ingredients are clean.
The Beyond Meat Beast Burger recommended on PETA’s website is not a favorite of mine. The ingredients are too long, there are words on there that look like it is something made in a lab and not real food like L-cysteine hydrochloride (according to VeganPeace.com this is most likely made from coal tar ), and it has carrageenan in it. Food should not be complicated. Once the ingredients start making your head spin, put it back on the shelf and find something better.
Be mindful of the burger bun ingredients as well. These seemingly harmless whole wheat burgers from Whole Foods have soy in them.
For a soy free burger bun option, Natural Ovens Bakery is an option. See their ingredients below. I found this at Whole Foods also.
You can balance those burgers with the coleslaw recipe below.
My main thing when I transitioned to plant-based eating was not texture but flavor. Once something has a delicious flavor, I don’t need it to have the texture of animal flesh. I would try seasoning lentils and beans the same way you do meat and eat that instead of the meat at least 4 days a week to start.
If you prepare your beans from scratch, you can control the texture and flavor. It’s best to soak your beans overnight or cook them with kombu for easier digestion. Once you rinse the beans and put them in the pot to boil, add your spices. Or if you use a sauce with clean ingredients, you can add it to it later. The best way to get over the craving of animal flesh is to just eat other things. That craving will disappear after a while.
Even eating substitutes that taste nasty will help you not have the craving for the original anymore. It did for me. It may sound ridiculous or flippant, but it’s true. Just try it for a month or 2 and see what happens. Your brain will start to associate that horrible substitute with the original.
For example, I had Tofurky within my first 3 months of being vegan and it was just ok. I used it on a vegan pizza I made with Daiya cheese and it all looked like a real pizza. But, when I ate it, I was not thrilled. It did not give me the excitement that I remembered real pizza giving me. But, since in my mind that was my only cooked pizza option, I just did not like pizza enough to eat it anymore at that point. That new version ruined the taste of pizza for me and now it has been so long since I’ve had cooked pizza that when I see pizza commercials, all I see is mucus on bread topped with dead animals. All of it is mental. You have control. You just decide and your taste buds and cravings will fall in line.
Obstacle 2: “Summer-time barbecues”
You bring the food and make it mouth wateringly delicious. Encourage your whole family to eat more plant-based. Check out these recipes for some vegan barbecue staples.
I made my own quick and easy version of Barbecue Jackfruit and Coleslaw Sandwiches
You’ll need burger buns and jackfruit for this super simple quick recipe. The barbecue jackfruit I found at Whole Foods has super clean ingredients. See below:
Follow the instructions to warm the jackfruit on the stove. Once its done, put it on the hamburger buns and add the coleslaw.
For the coleslaw, I mixed the following in a big salad bowl
2 cups of finely shredded purple cabbage
9 oz of cabbage and carrot mix from Trader Joe’s (see picture)
In a small separate bowl, I mixed the following:
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (see photo)
2 tbsp dry mustard
Salt and pepper
The mayonnaise was also a Whole Foods find with very clean ingredients. See below:
I put the maynonaise mix on the cabbage mix and tossed it so it was spread all over. I put that huge bowl in the fridge covered for an hour to just marinate for a bit before using it on to the sandwich.
Obstacle 3: “Im letting cheese go. I never really liked it much & its expensive. I do like butter & eggs. What can replace eggs that’s not tofu? Help!”
These are some vegan egg replacement ideas you can utilize http://www.peta.org/living/food/egg-replacements. It all depends on what you need the eggs for. If you’re trying to make scrambled eggs, you could try VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart. I don’t like that they have carrageenan listed as an ingredient but if you have it once in a while to get over a craving of scrambled eggs, it should not be a big deal. If you’re eating it daily for years and can’t wean off because you’re still having cravings for scrambled eggs, there may be some other issues at work you may want to explore on a call with me.
There are numerous reasons you could be dealing with cravings:
- Unfulfillment in other areas of your life
- Dehydration or excessive water consumption
- A need for connection to your childhood
- Nutritional deficiency
- Hormonal imbalance, etc.
You’ll want to explore all of these to see the real source of your cravings so you can nip it in the bud and eat for health. Don’t be a slave to cravings and bad food. Overcoming your cravings can heal your entire life.
Tell me in the comments below – what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced trying to quit meat?