Most of the people I encounter say they cannot imagine completely giving up meat, fish, dairy and eggs. And I always tell them that that’s okay.
Maybe you can’t see yourself as 100% vegan, but you can choose meals with fewer animal foods right now in some pretty painless ways. Don’t worry about never eating meat again or never eating cheese. Just start out with some easy changes and replacements and see where it takes you.
Here are 10 things you can do this week that will reduce your consumption of animal products:
Replace mayonnaise with Vegenaise, a wonderful vegan substitute that tastes better than the real thing. One friend—who isn’t vegan—said she thinks it tastes like old-fashioned homemade mayonnaise. Look for it in the natural food section of the grocery store, where it is always kept refrigerated.
Replace sour cream with Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. Try it on burritos or baked potatoes or spoon a few dollops into black bean soup.
Replace ground beef in spaghetti sauce with Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles. If you taste these by themselves, you won’t be fooled; they don’t taste exactly like ground beef. But in your favorite spaghetti sauce, you’ll be surprised at how much you don’t miss the meat. (Unlike this company’s Grillers burgers, the recipe crumbles don’t contain eggs.)
Replace creamy salad dressings with oil and vinegar.
Use non-dairy “creamer” in your coffee.
Try some of the instant soups in a cup like Fantastic Foods Black Bean soup for a super quick lunch or snack.
Serve vegetarian baked beans instead of “traditional” baked beans. (You’ll hardly notice a difference.)
Replace chicken broth in recipes with vegetable broth or bouillon.
Serve mushroom gravy on potatoes instead of meat-based gravy.
Snack on potato chips instead of fried pork rinds (okay—well I know you don’t eat fried pork rinds; I just wanted you to know that vegans can still eat fun things like potato chips!)
I can’t promise that every single change on the way to being a vegan or near-vegan is quite so easy. (I am still on a quest for a good vegan “ice cream”, cheese, and burger.) You may encounter your own challenges on the way to eating a more plant-based diet. Bur for now, don’t worry about it. Make the changes that are easiest for you—and feel good about them! Every time you choose a plant food instead of an animal food, you’ve made a difference.