It’s taken decades, but veganism and vegetarianism can finally be considered part of the mainstream. At least in most of the western world. With growing awareness of animal cruelty, combined with the negative health and environmental impacts of meat consumption, more and more people are going veg. But if you were raised with a meat-heavy diet in a meat-heavy culture, it can be hard to make the switch. Luckily we are in the golden age of veganism and vegetarianism and there are more options than ever. You don’t have to completely change your diet overnight. Start small with just one meat-free day per week and see where it takes you.
Find the right substitute for you.
Veggie food is anything but bland. If you’re a meat-lover, start with ‘beyond meat’ substitutes. The taste and texture will have you impressed and make the transition that much easier. But feel free to diversify. The most common substitutes are beans, lentils, and tofu. They may sound boring but they can be made into many different things: falafels, burger patties, seitan, tempeh, loafs, spreads, chips … visit a nice veggie restaurant to get a feel of what these plant-based proteins are capable of and soak in some inspiration.
Have the world at your fingertips.
Many global cuisines offer amazing veggie dishes. South Indian is probably the best, as there are entire vegetarian cities in India. However, other cultures may surprise you. Italians make some delicious vegetarian pastas and pizzas, and many flavorful Mexican and Thai dishes are or can be made vegetarian or vegan. Ethiopian and Mediterranean cuisines are also great options.
There seem to be hundreds of milk alternatives now, from oat to rice to pretty much any nut you can think of. Switch up your morning (and/or afternoon) coffee or tea order with an alternative milk. While you’re at it, try alternative yogurts and ice creams - they’re surprisingly creamy and delicious. While most coffee shops charge a bit extra for alternative milks, some are now starting to price them the same as dairy milk.
Although veg is in the name, having a plant-based diet definitely doesn’t mean living off lettuce and carrots (unless you want to). You still get to enjoy a plethora of sweet and savory treats. So go ahead, order that helping of fries! Fun fact: oreos are technically vegan!
And lastly, don’t beat yourself up. Going veg might mean completely changing your diet, which is huge. It make take you longer than you anticipated to fully make the switch, but know that every step is one in the right direction.