You are about to make a choice that will look after your health, the environment, and the animals on this beautiful planet. You will feel more compassion. You will break through the immense social conditioning that tells us we need to eat meat in order to survive. You won’t be fooled by the money-hungry meat industry anymore. You will feel amazing, trust me! I have gone from eating steak and bacon & cheese sandwiches on the weekends to waking up to muesli with cinnamon and eating exotic vegetable curries. I have way more energy (some meats can take up to four days to digest, how tiring!), I have lost weight, and I feel SO much closer to animals. These are just a few of the noticeable benefits! You will cut your risk of cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, and heart disease. You will be practicing disease prevention instead of drug dependence. Follow this guide to giving up meat, and be prepared to feel incredible!

1. Don’t Go “Cold Turkey”

Remove one or two meats out of your diet at a time, preferably the unhealthiest meats like beef and pork. Apparently, it takes around 21 days to break a habit, so avoid your chosen meat products for three weeks. By slowly making the transition to a meat-free diet, you will put your mind in good habits and, most importantly, learn first-hand that you can survive without eating meat!

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2. List Your Reasons For Giving up Meat

Us vegetarians and vegans make up less than 4.5 percent of the U.S. population – that’s a lot of people to go up against! And, you will find that people will question your diet choices. I have been meat-free for more than three years, and people still try and convince me to eat meat. If you let it, this can make you feel hurt. The intentions behind our plant-based diets are unique to each of us. Our diet influences our overall mind, body, and spirit. It’s personal. Fill your notepad with your reasons and refer back to them as much as you wish!

3. Be Adventurous

One of the best things about going meat-free is the HUGE amount you will learn about food and nutrition. You will focus on your diet more than ever before. You will learn your tofu from your tahini. Make your meals magical. Excite your taste buds with mini quinoa chickpea cakes, banana almond butter superfood shake, and a kidney bean walnut burger served with a Mississippi sauce!

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4. Read Food Labels

Animal products are used in a range of foods; dairy, candy, alcohol, and desserts are the worst offenders. Look out for rennet, whey, and gelatin in the ingredients list.

5. Create Meal Plans and Shopping Lists

You are going to be making changes to your daily routine. You need to be prepared! By making a meal plan for the week ahead, you will prepare yourself for new experiences at the grocery store, stop yourself from eating meat, and ensure that you won’t go hungry!

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6. Eat Vegetables, Not Meat Substitutes

At first, replacing meat with mock meat will leave you feeling unsatisfied. Most of the time, it has a plain taste and is heavily processed. Eat meals packed with vegetables and flavor. Prepare plant-based meals made up of beans, chickpeas, and edamame to ensure you get your RDA of protein!

7. Appreciate Your Actions Daily

Every plant-based meal you eat, you are saving a life, cutting carbon emissions, and nourishing your body. Be thankful for your conscious choices. Reward yourself with positive affirmations and sweet treats. I love having a bite of raw chocolate and quick & easy avocado cacao mousse!

8. Give your Kitchen Cupboards a New Look

Becoming a vegetarian is a perfect excuse to re-stock your store cupboards with colorful superfoods and goodies. Invest in nutritional yeast, cacao, maca, spirulina, cholera, acai, and hemp powders to add to meals and smoothies!

Image source: Seitan and Mushroom Bourguignon with the Boxer