Have you guys seen the movie Okja yet? It’s a Netflix original, meaning that basically anyone can watch it. And if you’re one of those people that just DON’T have Netflix for whatever mad reason, then you need to stop reading this, and go stream it.
Done? Okay cool.
I never ever watch those movies that expose the truth in factories or slaughterhouses. I don’t have the stomach or the mind to watch that shit. I know to a limited extent of what goes on in there, and it makes me sick. Okja is not like these documentaries, it’s a fictional movie. But it does a brilliant job of showing what happens in the meat industry and how poorly these animals are treated.
I know that Okja was a CGI created animal. There are no gigantic super pigs out there. But at the end of that movie I had tears streaming down my face, because the comparison of what happens in this fictional movie and what happens in real life was all too accurate.
I’ve already published a post on Why I Stopped Eating Meat. I stopped eating meat when I was 13 years old, because I knew that it was cruel to kill animals so we could eat them. I don’t expect many 13 year olds to do the same, but as we start to get older and learn more about the disastrous effects that the meat industry has, it is OUR responsibility to cut down on our consumption.
This is something I feel so, SO strongly about, and I can’t joke around about it. WE are responsible for what we eat, and what happens to the environment, and how animals are treated. We should be aware that there are other alternatives for protein than just chicken, beef, turkey, or ham.
Since publishing that post, i’ve had numerous people tell me that they want to cut down on meat, eventually become a vegetarian or pescetarian (like myself). I’ve been asked countless times for advice on how to do this, so I knew that I had to write a post on how to go about doing it.
1. Take it Slow: One Week at a Time
When I made the decision to stop eating meat, I didn’t actually cut it out of my diet for probably a month. It’s hard to really remember everything (since it was over 12 years ago), but I remember still eating some of my favorite things until I finally cut it out. Bagel bites with little bacon pieces on top. Beef croquettes (a British favorite of mine). Pork dumplings at dim sum. You guys, I still miss those things. But doing it slowly will allow you to adjust your diet and your mindset in a way that will stick for the long term. I’ve never heard anyone say quitting something cold turkey (no pun intended) was successful for them.
A lot of people start by cutting out red meat initially – it’s heavier and not eaten as often throughout the week. Try that for the first couple of weeks, and see how you feel. Then move onto the lighter meat, such as chicken and turkey. If you’re becoming a full veggie, then slowly start to take the seafood out of your diet here as well.
2. Realize that it’s a healthier path for you
Personally, I think that if I ate meat, I would be a lottttt bigger than I am now. Well, maybe not a LOT. But I truly believe I would be a few pounds heavier. Not eating meat prevents me from chowing down on things like chicken wings, pepperoni pizza, hot dogs, or slices of prosciutto. Sure, I snack on other unhealthy snacks, but some types meat has sooo much fat and grease in it that your body just does not need.
There are also many studies that show that eating red, processed meat can shorten your lifespan, is filled with hormones, and are considered carcinogens. Sure, it can help you fill your protein requirements for the day, but at what cost??
3. Look at your other options
Gone are the days where we make fun of something for having tofu in it. Tofu is GREAT, YO. I love tofu. But these days, there are even MORE options than just plain tofu. Some of my favorites include tempeh, veggie ground beef, and smoked tofu (try this recipe that uses it!) I also love a good veggie burger, and Presidents Choice is coming out with new options all the time. FINALLY, there are these new meatless products that Gardein has come out with, and I actually really love. The 7 grain crispy ‘chicken’ tenders are my favorite!
Yes I know there are different opinions when it comes to soy products, but I think everything in moderation is key. Switch between these meat-free alternatives and high protein pulses, such as lentils and black beans, for a well-rounded diet.
Finally, if you are only cutting out meat, but still eating seafood – there are even more alternatives. Grilled shrimp, salmon burgers, canned tuna, and tilapia filets all frequent my meals every week. There are so many options out there, that you don’t have to feel like your culinary life is over as soon as you say no.
4. Use as an opportunity to try new recipes
If you’re one of those people who eat the same thing for lunch and dinner every week – you must be getting bored by now. It is so easy to fall back into the same habits over and over just because it’s simple. Chicken with pasta, turkey wraps, or steak and salad. Sure, they can be good, but they can also get extremely repetitive.
When I go to a restaurant, if I really enjoyed my meal, I ALWAYS figure out how I can make it at home. I learnt how to make risotto (easy!), shrimp rice rolls (an art form in itself), and pad thai (my noodles need a little work, but we’ll get there). It’s fun to experiment in the kitchen, expand your culinary horizons and try new spices and ingredients.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a meat free/high protein item that you wouldn’t normally add into your menu – lentils, tofu, shrimp, etc – and see what exciting recipes can come from that. If you need a hand figuring out some options, check out my recipe page. I have tons of different options that anyone can make!
5. Become more aware of how the meat industry ruins the environment
If all else fails, think of the big picture.
I mean, the really big picture. i.e. The world. Our home.
The meat industry is a major, MAJOR, contributor to climate change. If you don’t believe me, then you have your head in the sand. Just google it, and see the thousands and THOUSANDS of pages that come up, quoting the different scientific studies that have been done. It’s despicable. Our Earth is slowly falling to shit.
Do we want future generations to have to deal with OUR impact? More importantly – do we want to die and then be reincarnated into a person who has to live in a planet, destroyed by global warming (yes, I truly fear about coming back to life in 2080 and having to live on this planet).
We need to change and we need to change fast. One of my friends recently told me that she took my advice, and stopped eating meat. She said “I feel 100% less bloated, my stomach hurts way less, I never feel heavy after meals anddddd most importantly, I feel so much better morally.”
I felt so happy to hear this – changing one persons mind might lead to changing three more people’s minds, and so on and so forth. I believe that we can get ourselves back on track. I hope, for the sake of the planet and animal welfare, that we do.
What About You?
- Do you eat meat? Have you ever thought about cutting it out of your diet?