The food industry is pretty awful, let’s be honest. From treating and killing animals in terrible ways, through to the abuse of land and water that could be used much better, it can seem like a pretty bleak picture. However, if you’re anything like me then substantial changes in your diet may also seem pretty daunting. It’s easy to feel like it’s all or nothing, you go vegan or continue as you are. Here are five top tips for starting to adapt your diet that don’t require a massive sacrifice but still make a positive impact.
1.Choices when eating out
Choosing something vegan, or at least vegetarian, when you’re eating out is a really easy way to make a difference. It means you don’t have to look up recipes, buy ingredients specially or change your day to day diet, but are still making a small difference. The more people who buy the vegan/ vegetarian option in restaurants, the more they will cater to that market; it’s just how buying patterns work. When all the food is being cooked and prepared for you then why not choose a vegan option? It’s no extra effort on your part, it will make you more experimental in the kinds of food you consume, and it seriously narrows down your choices (which is something I’m in great need of when buying food.)
2. Make up/ fashion selection
Personally, I find it much easier to change my beauty buying patterns, than my food. I’d love to be able to do both, and I’m working on it, but if you love your food/ the culture surrounding it then maybe consider going vegan/ vegetarian in other areas of your life. There’s a whole world of vegan beauty products, clothing, shoes… you name it! When we say ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ then most people jump to thinking about food, but it’s an entire lifestyle. If food seems too challenging right now, then why not consider adapting other areas of your life instead?
3. Slowly cut down on meat
It isn’t necessary to cut all meat and dairy out overnight. In fact, that would be an incredibly difficult thing for most people to do. Try cutting down to eating meat four times a week for a month, then three times a week for two months, twice for three months and so on. Phase meat out until it’s gone from your diet. The same thing can be done with dairy, although personally I would recommend fading things out at slightly different times. Stagger the changes so you’re not altering your diet too much all at once.
4. Experiment when you have time
When you have time, try cooking meals outside of your usual repertoire to experiment with vegetarian and/ or vegan options. A change is as good as a rest, and when you’d don’t force the change all at once, this can be a liberating experience. Rather than ‘giving up’ certain foods, simply add in new meal choices to your diet and keep things interesting.
5. Vegan cafes
Vegan cafes are the best places ever, trust me. Take yourself along for a treat one weekend and indulge in the wonders that are out there. Again, this doesn’t involve a sacrifice, it’s just about trying new things, meeting new people and experimenting a little. There are loads of fun ways to adapt your diet, so take things slow and don’t get stuck in the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. These changes can make a big difference but are easy to do and an enjoyable way to adapt.