With the widespread availability of meat substitutes in restaurants and grocery stores, many people are reducing or completely eliminating their meat intake. A vegetarian is somebody who doesn’t eat meat, but might still consume other animal products, such as cheese or milk. Vegans don’t consume any animal products, and many vegans also eliminate the use of products like leather from their lifestyle. The reasons for not eating meat vary, but some of the common reasons are social (such as concerns about factory farming or climate change), cultural, religious or dietary. Many people just don’t like the idea of eating meat. Whatever the reasons are, here are some tips for anyone contemplating a meatless lifestyle.
1. Utilize Supplements
Since some vitamins are found more commonly is animal foods, many vegetarians will supplement their vitamins. You can buy B12 injections and other supplements to reduce the stress of making sure you’re getting enough nutrients. This can help keep your energy up; many vegetarians and vegans have experienced anemia because they weren’t aware of the nutrients they were lacking. If you are not eating meat, you should seriously consider supplements — talk to a healthcare professional to figure out what will work best for you.
2. Plan Meals Ahead of Time
If you’re planning on cutting out meat or other animal products completely, you’ll need to plan ahead when you travel or go out to eat. Meat is so engrained into the everyday diet that at some restaurants, your only vegetarian options might be french fries or what some people call a salad, but is really just a pile of lettuce with some carrot slices. You may want to bring snacks with you to keep you satiated and healthy. Plan ahead and figure out which restaurants will have quality meat-free options so you don’t end up disappointed and hungry. The pre-dinner rolls make a terrible meal.
The same goes for group events — if you’re planning a meal with family or friends and they don’t want a meatless meal, just bring your own main course. It’s easy to prepare something, throw it in a container, and simply bring it to the event. If you’re cutting anything from your diet, don’t expect others to do the same when they’re around you. After all, how would you feel if a friend expected you to eat meat when you were around them?
Many people find going without meat to be very rewarding, both mentally and physically. If it’s done correctly, it can be a very healthy way to live. Just make sure you’re getting the proper supplements and that you know ahead of time what your food options might be when you’re out and about.