How To Remove Meat From Your Diet (Slowly)

I often get asked how one even begins to start removing meat from their diet. It can seem overwhelming. The diet is rather simple but shifting the mindset from a Standard American Diet to a plant-based one can seem complex for a lot of people. I want to show you how easy it is to make the change.

How to Remove Meat From Your Diet (Slowly)

First of all, you need to determine your motivation behind this decision to remove meat. Is it ethical? Watch Earthlings to reinforce your decision. Is it environmental? Watch Cowspiracy to understand the implications of animal agriculture on our environment. Is it health? Watch Forks Over Knives to solidify your understanding of why a plant-based diet is the healthiest and only proven diet to prevent and reverse chronic diseases. Educating yourself on these matters will help build your foundation to success and staying the course. After taking off the metaphorical blinders, you’ll wish you had known all of these things a long time ago.

The next step is to make a plan. Decide what your comfort level is first. Maybe you just want to try Meatless Mondays and then expand to other days of the week over time. Maybe you want to cut out red meat first, then eventually poultry and fish. I myself started with something as simple as ordering only vegetarian meals every time I went out to eat. I didn’t really know how to cook vegetables at home to make them taste as good as restaurants do and I knew I needed more nutrients in my diet so by eating a vegetarian meal when at a restaurant I was guaranteed to get a couple servings of veggies. Most restaurants have vegetarian options now but a great site for finding veg-friendly restaurants in your area is Happy Cow. Eventually, I wanted to recreate those same tasty meals at home. Soon enough, there was no more meat in my fridge.

Crispy tofu thai curry

Crispy tofu thai curry ordered at restaurant

Have a favorite recipe that includes meat? One of my friends mentioned that she simply left the meat out of her recipe and said it was just as good! If the recipe seems sparse after the removal of meat, just add more of whatever vegetables are already in it or add tofu or beans as a meat replacement. They are both great for absorbing whatever spice/sauce is in the dish and are excellent sources of protein.

easy stir fry

Easy stir fry with chicken omitted

When eliminating meat, remember not to just replace it with processed starches. Bread is okay when it’s whole grain with minimal ingredients (my favorite is Ezekiel) and brown rice is good too. The best thing to do is to think about whole grains as the center of the dish rather than meat and your meals will come together a lot easier. It is the largest food group after all! So load up on sweet potatoes, brown rice, squash, whole wheat items, and oats!

Hearty homemade stew without the meat

Hearty homemade sweet potato stew without the meat

There is also a plethora of fake meats on the market now if you choose to go that route. They are great for transitioning or to have on occasion when you have a craving. Just remember that they are processed and more expensive. You’re better off with the above suggestion of using tofu, beans, and whole grains (for a slimmer waist and fuller wallet).

Also, as you make the conscious decision to remove meat, think about what you’re gaining not what you’re giving up. You’re going to be trying new foods, finding new favorites, gaining back back health and energy, reducing your impact on the planet, and saving lives! And when you slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just do the best you can and reevaluate what caused the slip up and what you can do to prevent it next time.

In the end, do it at a pace that is comfortable for you. There is no rush, because any progress is good progress. Ultimately, the end goal should be to cut out meat entirely but setting up a step-by-step plan will ensure you make progress towards your end goal. Set a timeline, plan the steps, then do it!

Hope this helps and inspires you to make the change! xoxo

For some additional resources, check out my series on How Your Diet is Slowly Killing You Part One, Two, Three, and Four.

Making Two Meals out of One & Grocery Shopping on a Budget

When eating out, portion sizes are ridiculous! Sometimes I feel like I’ve barely made a dent in my mountain of food before I feel full. But that’s a good thing! Just take the rest home.  I used to feel obligated to eat as much as I could on my plate when eating out but now I’ve learned to stop when I’m not hungry anymore.  Plus, you get two meals for the price of one.  Most left overs taste just as good if reheated on the stove or in the oven.  But I do take the lazy microwave route pretty often myself.  That’s what I did with these bad boys:

boneless wings

Daniel and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings Friday for lunch because he just HAD to watch the cardinals game. Plus, boneless wings were sounding pretty good.  I ate four during lunch and most of the fries and some carrots/celery, and then saved the rest for dinner.

Friday Meals:

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Fruit Smoothie 180
Snack Fiber one bar 140
Lunch and Dinner Honey BBQ boneless wings, fries, ketchup, ranch, carrots, celery 770
Snack Tortilla with nutella 200
Total 1290

Not bad for eating some high calorie foods.

Alright, now let’s discuss my friend Ashely. As I said yesterday, she’s going to be featured on the blog often to help keep her accountable.  She wants to share her story and weight loss journey and continue reaching her goals.  She started out weighing 325 lb and is currently 219.7 lb. What a transformation!  Her goal weight is 160 and she’d like to reach it by her birthday, March 19th. So that means she’ll have to lose about 2.6 lbs/week.  That will be challenging to cut out 7,000+ calories each week.  She’ll need to reduce her calories each day to about 1200 and then workout enough to burn 500-600 calories a day. That’s equivalent to a solid hour of cardio. Let’s keep her motivated! She’s going to be filling me in every few days on what she’s eating and her workouts and then we’ll weigh her once a week.

Ashley’s current diet consists of a lot of ramen and easy cheap meals.  I wanted to show her that she could eat healthy foods and still stay within her budget.  She had $40 to spend on groceries for two weeks. Here’s what we found:

  • Pita Bread
  • Turkey slices
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Eggs
  • Guacamole
  • Cooking Spray
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Activia yogurt
  • Mustard
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Lite
  • Feta

= $39 (including tax)

Success! And look what all she was able to get! She can make sandwiches, wraps, salads — a whole variety of options and most will last her the whole two weeks! She was wanting to cut out most processed foods, so I think we did pretty well in that category.

I can’t wait to see how she progresses! We took Before photos but I still need to upload them so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

It’s time to relax and enjoy this Saturday evening now that I’ve accomplished some homework/studying.

Have a great Saturday night!