Cutting out animal products has been a lengthy and slow journey that I am still on! I’ve never been a cold turkey person, I see success with sustainable baby steps. The following are three steps I have taken (and continue to take) to help me on my way.
1. Stop Buying Meat at the Grocery Store
Don’t throw out the meat you have in the freezer or whatever – that’s wasteful – but just stop buying it and see what happens when you run out. Forcing yourself to think outside the chicken breast will be hard at first, but I promise you can figure it out. If this seems too daunting, baby steps baby! Start by not buying red meat. Or no meat except deli meat for sandwiches. Or only fish. You get the idea. Tailor your food goals to your family so that they stretch you, but are doable enough that you don’t just give up.
2. Find Your New Milk
Growing up in the nineties, I was raised on the idea that dairy milk was the ultimate representation of health. And if you didn’t drink dairy milk, you were unhealthy, weak, and probably going to get osteoporosis. Well, calcium can come from plenty of other sources like fortified alternative milks, cereals, oranges, tofu, broccoli, oats, almonds, pinto and navy beans, etc. And most of those don’t come with half the sugar, fat, and calories that come with dairy milk. Currently, there’s a lot of options to choose from, but almond and soy milk are my personal favorites in the “original” flavors. If you feel resistance for changing milk from your family (or from yourself) think of the calories you’ll be saving and remember that people who come from skim milk houses don’t generally like Vitamin D milk and vice versa. What I’m saying is that people usually just like what they are used to, and you can probably get used to a plant-based milk.
3. Experiment With Substitutions
Baking is where I usually find myself doing this. For example, applesauce instead of fats and oils, coconut oil instead of butter, plant-based milk instead of dairy, and coconut milk instead of cream. When cooking soups and sauces coconut milk is amazing for thickening instead of using butter and heavy cream. Even if you don’t feel like you can make the entire recipe vegan, substitute what you can. The goal is to Every bit of animal products you cut out counts.
If you are anything like me, changing your diet isn’t easy. I consistently feel like I take two steps forward and one step back. Or sometime two steps forward and two steps back. But I can say I’ve moved forward, no matter how slowly, and you can too.