Half of June is already gone and my meatless month has been going very well! I think my wife and I have had a great experience and both of our families have even joined in to help out on the weekends when we come to visit.
So far I feel great and haven’t had much of an issue with not eating meat. The only tough time was at Olive Garden, but it wasn’t difficult to find a good vegetarian meal after looking over the menu a couple of times.
This month I have eaten:
- Waffles and hash browns
- Fettucine alfredo
- Penne Rosa
- Mashed potatoes and steamed veggies
- Rice with sautéed veggies
- Pizza (cheese and pineapple)
- Vegetable soup
- Various sandwiches
- Mac N Cheese
- Burritos (several variations)
- Baked potatoes
- Homemade salsa w/chips
- And much more…
Of course we tried to add in fresh or cooked vegetables and fresh fruit with most of these meals. I wanted to stick as closely to possible to what we normally eat and just eliminate the meat while adding in a few things. I hope that others will see that not eating meat really isn’t that difficult. We seem to associate eating vegetarian meals with salads and carrots. I will probably eat meat after this month is over. But I will be limiting my meat intake and trying as much as possible to eliminate red meat. It’s time to get over our love affair with meat! This obsession with meat is causing the continued deterioration of our health.
Here are 5 tips for eating less meat and developing a vegetarian diet:
- Add extra vegetables and sides to meals: change your thinking about mealtime. The meat doesn’t have to be the centerpiece. Choose a starch, like rice or potatoes, and build a meal around that using extras like beans, vegetables, fruit, salad, toppings, etc.
- Don’t eat out: there aren’t many burger joints that have a vegetarian friendly option. Save your health and your money and cut the restaurants out of your diet and your budget.
- Shop 2-3 times per week: I know this can be hard, but my wife and I are gone every weekday from 7am-6:30pm and we can manage to run to the store to grab a few fresh vegetables. Plan your meals ahead to know what vegetables and other fresh produce you’ll need. Then buy the produce for the next 3 days only. You’ll avoid wasting fresh food, saving money and time.
- Don’t stress: look at the list above. Nothing on there is weird or gross (at least in my opinion). Eating vegetarian meals doesn’t have to be hard or involve tons of salads. You can slightly alter almost any meal to make it vegetarian-friendly. Don’t worry about being perfect at first. Do your best and remember that health is a journey, not just a destination.
- Get creative: try something new. Search for new recipes and don’t be scared! You might find something really great to add to the meal rotation. It takes some patience and creativity to go meatless, but if you have fun in the process it’ll be that much better!
It’s not hard to eat less meat. Try eating no meat for 2 meals per day. Or maybe 3 days out of the week. Or pick 10 days during the month. Whatever you decide, it’s time to reap the health benefits of eating less (or no) meat. There’s some nice financial and environmental benefits as well. Join me for the last half of this month in eating no meat and see the difference it makes in your life.