food

11 vegetarians share their tips on eliminating meat from your diet.

The world needs to eat less meat.

In fact, reports have found that beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses, in order to feed the entire population in the years to come.

It’s no secret that meat and dairy consumption is one of the greatest causes of damage to the environment. Whether that be via the greenhouse gases from livestock, or deforestation and water shortages from farming, the solution is to eat less meat.

“Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” Professor Johan Rockström at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany told The Guardian

“Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today,” he added.

With that in mind, you probably want to at least reduce your meat intake.

It’s a huge change, but we can all do our part.

We asked the Mamamia team the ways they reduced their meat intake, to give you the head start you might need.

Meal Service Plans.

For Tiffany, a meal-service plan was an easy way to introduce new recipes into her life.

“Doing a meal service plan, because thinking of dishes at the start is hard!” she said.

“But if someone does it for you for the first few weeks, you can get some inspiration about what to cook later.”

She added that cutting out a few meats at once, such as phasing out red meat, then white meat, was also helpful.

Marley Spoon and HelloFresh offer vegetarian meal plans.

Apps.

Leigh encouraged the use of an app to track macros, so she could ensure she was still getting enough protein.

“Track your macros on an app so you can make sure you’re still getting enough protein. This’ll mean you feel full and don’t gorge on empty carbs!” she said.

Nutritionist and My Macros allow you track your macros, while How to Cook Everything Veg is an app that will help on the recipe front.

Speaking to your doctor. 

For Belinda, chatting to the doctor about alternative B12 sources was essential.

“Chat to your doc about alternative iron and B12 sources, and get regular blood tests to make sure they’re not taking a hit,” she told Mamamia.

According to Nutrition Australia, vegetarians are at risk of being deficient in Iron, B12, Protein, Zinc, and Calcium.

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Vegetarians should talk to their GP about blood tests with the possibility of taking supplements.

Plan, plan, plan. 

Whether you’re planning meals for the entire week, or making sure there are some snacks at home after a night out, planning is essential.

“I always used to plan snacks for after I’d had a night out so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat a cheeky kebab,” says Eloise.

Meal-planning is another great way to ensure you are getting a wide range of nutrients, and aren’t tempted to order a burger in.

Ease into it.

For many people, easing into a vegetarian diet is the key way to stay on track.

While Tanya went vegetarian cold turkey (and… without turkey), her partner eased into eating less meat.

“Personally, I went cold turkey, but then again I was twelve and demanded my mother cook me all my vegetarian meals… But when my partner wanted to start eating less meat, he still had meat and chicken for lunch, but at home we only ate vegetarian,” she said.

For Sarah, only eating meat when she was eating out was the perfect way to transition.

“I started not having it at home and only buying it when I was out for dinner. It’s cheaper too!” she said.

Meat-Free Mondays is another popular way to ease into reducing meat intake.

Janine began eating less meat doing Meat-Free Mondays, and used a check list of vitamins and minerals.

“A check list of minerals and vitamins is essential, for example, Weetbix has a higher amount of iron than spinach and meat! So even if you give up meat, you don’t have to be low in iron,” she said.

Peta found that doing a meat-free Monday also saved her a lot of money.

“We do meat free Monday – and I did a budget for our groceries and worked out what we were spending on meat and what we could get if we substitute those for veg options. The savings were huge,” she said.

Branch out. 

Becoming vegetarian without discovering new vegetables is close to impossible, so branching out and trying new veggies and proteins is essential.

“Branch out with your veggie choices and google heaps of recipes,” said Sarah.

“Eat lots of indian dhal – it’s very high in protein, as are many legumes,” added Nama.

Happy vegging, people.

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