A common question for individuals who want to transition to veganism is whether or not they should go vegetarian first.
How hard is it to go from a heavy meat and dairy-based diet to a 100% plant-based diet?
Do you really need to use vegetarianism as a stepping stone?
We’ll take a look at both the advantages and disadvantages of both ways and see which one is better!
Before going full-on vegan, I went vegetarian for less than 1 year.
During the few months I was vegetarian, I still consumed quite a bit of cheese, although milk grossed me out since I thought of it directly coming from a cow’s udders (which is true). My thought process was very hypocritical, considering that cheese is just a curdled form of milk…
It wasn’t until later that I made the connection…
But during my dairy days, I ate pizza, grilled cheeses, penne a la vodka, mozzarella on my tomatoes, and a ton of other dishes that had cream or cheese in it.
I also ate a lot of scrambled eggs! I’d eat two or three eggs every morning, knowing they were high in protein and super easy to make!
Dairy was a large part of my diet. It was really tasty to add it to bread, pasta, or any other dish.
As I began to educate myself more and more about the food industry, animals, and our planet, I slowly gave away cheese and eggs. It also helped that 3 of my family members were already vegan, so eating vegan dishes all day become a habit, and much of the groceries in my household were already 100% plant-based.
Finding eggs and cheese in my fridge eventually became quite difficult.
Eventually, the only time I would ever consume dairy was when I went out to a restaurant. This was only because most restaurants had did not have vegan dishes, so I had to choose something containing egg, cream, or cheese.
After that, if I did see a vegetarian dish on the menu, I would ask for all dairy to be removed… yes, it was as simple as that! Then I went a step further and stopped going to restaurants that didn’t have any vegan options altogether.
Going vegan has to be one of the top decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
Whether you may agree with me or not, my sole decision to go plant-based makes a difference in both the impact on animals, our planet, and the human race. That’s a fact.
The only regret I have is why I didn’t choose to go vegan earlier.
Similar to my story, many people who make the switch to vegetarianism will eventually go vegan.
After a while, if you chose vegetarianism for ethical reasons, you’ll end up becoming disgusted with milk and cheese due to the horrors of the dairy industry.
Tips And Tricks To Transition From Meat To Vegetarian
To go from eating meat on a daily basis to no meat at all can seem like a tough task.
The first step is to start implementing the ‘flexitarian’ regime.
Flexitarian is defined as someone who takes a day or multiple off from eating meat.
First, start by not consuming meat for an entire day. After doing so, notice how you and your body reacts to it. Was it hard?
Afterward, try taking two days off. They don’t have to be consecutive either. Try taking 2 days off out of the week.
Then slowly increase the process until your only consuming meat for maybe 2-3 days a week.
At this point, you’re almost vegetarian!
If you can go 5 days out of the week without eating meat, going completely vegetarian won’t be a problem at all!
Go an entire week without eating meat. Avoid adding any meat to your groceries list. Write down goals that say you won’t eat meat this week. By writing it down, you’ll subconsciously ingrain it into your brain.
Tips And Tricks To Transition From Vegetarian To Vegan
I found this transition to be the hardest.
Finding foods or products that I often ate without the dairy was difficult. So many products like baked goods, hot dog buns, desserts, and more have some sort of milk, cream, or eggs on the ingredients list.
If you love milk, try slowly incorporating plant-based milks such as
- Soy milk
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Pea milk
All these milk contain a good deal of vitamins and minerals and are much healthier than that disgusting cow milk. They’re also quite tasty and come in a ton of flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and unsweetened.
If you have trouble giving up cheese, try giving the Miyoko Vegan Cheese a try. It’s super creamy and great at replacing real cheese in dishes such as lasagna, pasta, sandwiches, and everything else!
Similar to cheese, there are also a ton of high-quality vegan butters out there!
Remember, we’re living in the 21st century. Being vegan doesn’t mean you only have to consume grass or lettuce.
There are plenty of tasty plant-based substitutes out there.
If you don’t already, take a grocery trip to Whole Foods. The products and food are of higher quality and they have thousands of vegan options!
Tips And Tricks To Transition From Meat To Vegan
This transition requires the biggest change, but if you can go straight from eating meat to only eating plants, you’re a boss!
One trick I would recommend is looking for substitute or fake meat such as the Beyond Burger, Gardein Chicken, and others. They are delicious and taste very similar to real meat! I wouldn’t recommend eating these all the time because they are heavily processed and rather unhealthy, but they are a good cheat meal!
Eating other foods that are high in protein like tofu, tempeh, seitan, and grains like pasta/rice will also help with this transition.
Tofu takes on the taste of whatever you’re cooking it with! Try cooking it with the same ingredients and taste you would as a piece of meat!
So What’s The Best Way To Go Vegan?
Although I would love for everyone to go 100% plant-based overnight, I know from my own experience that it’s not that easy.
It took me a few months from consuming a meat-based diet to a 100% plant-based diet.
My best advice is to start incorporating a flexitarian diet and consuming less meat each and every week.
Educate yourself on veganism and how it impacts so much more than just your health.
By educating yourself, you’ll naturally increase your will and push yourself in the right direction.
Surrounding yourself with vegan recipes, online content, social media influencers, and more will encourage your goal of going vegan as well!
Cheers and happy veganism!