Living a plant-based or Vegan lifestyle is one way to become healthier and have more energy on the day to day. I for one, find it extremely terrifying to give myself a “vegan” or “plant-based only” label. I don’t want to go through life knowing I can never have that delightful piece of cheesecake again. I figure, why not have the best of both worlds? Eat mostly plant-based but also allow myself to have special treats every now and then. I don’t really care for labels to begin with but if I had to call myself anything I would say I am a “Reducetarian”….. What is a Reducetarian you ask? A Reducetarian is someone who reduces the amount of animal products they consume while still occasionally allowing themselves to indulge in foods they love (that may or may not contain animal products). As I began to write this post I did a little digging and found a website that talks all about reducing your intake of animal products at reducetarian.org. Check them out if you are wanting more information on reducing animal products from your diet. This is also a really good baby step if you are ever thinking about going fully plant-based.
This post is designed to show how easy it is to reduce the amount of animal products you eat while also giving tips on how to cut out animal products in items you eat everyday.
Step 1: When You Eat at Home, Eat Plant-Based
Eating plant-based at home is the easiest way to cut out animal products from your diet. If you only buy plant-based foods, you will not feel tempted to add animal products to your meals. In order to achieve this, you will need to do a weekly meal prep. Every meal, snack, and side I choose is all plant-based.
For help with meal prepping click here:
For help finding easy, vegan meals click here:
Step 2: Find Out What Foods Can Easily Be Plant-Based
There are many foods out there that people don’t realize are plant-based or can easily be plant-based by one simple change. Oreos, dark chocolate, Lay’s potato chips just to name a few….
I write this as I am at Starbucks drinking a Cinnamon Dolce Latte (with soy milk). There are so many plant-based milks out there these days that make it so easy to swap out the real milk for.
Below I have compiled a list of foods that are plant-based or easy to be made plant-based to help you beat those cravings and start your Reducetarian lifestyle.
The sofritas and veggie bowls are both vegan. Cut out the cheese and sour cream and you can easily make a delicious vegan bowl.
2. Taco Bell
Bean burrito hold the cheese……
As mentioned before, it is pretty easy to swap out regular milk for soy or almond milk in most of the lattes. I still haven’t figured out how to veganize the Pumpkin Spiced Latte.
4. Hungry Root
Hungry Root is a meal delivery service that only serves meals, snacks, and sides that are plant-based. For being plant-based, they are the most affordable meal delivery service I have found. Better yet, each meal takes less than 10 minutes to make! (Hungry Root Review Coming Soon).
Sushi is pretty easy to veganize. Usually when I go out for sushi I run across menu’s that carry about 1-2 different vegetable rolls. When you are going for several rolls this can be a little disappointing. I always find a roll that looks really good and just swap out the meat for avocado. Usually the waitress is really friendly about it and the rolls turn out delicious.
Several of the local pizza places around my area have begun to carry vegan cheese. This is a pretty easy way to get rid of dairy products on the pizza. I for one, despise vegan cheese with a distinct passion. Something about the texture just doesn’t do it for me. What I have found though, is that getting a pizza without cheese is simply delightful. Just load that baby up with tons of vegetables and you won’t even notice it is missing a key ingredient. You will also notice you don’t feel like crap after eating a couple pieces.
7. Mexican Restaurant’s
Skip the cheese dip (obviously). Go for some chips and salsa or chips and guacamole as your appetizer instead. Veggie fajitas are a usual go to for me.
8. Sub Sandwiches
I was pleasantly surprised to find out how good sub sandwiches are that do not have meat and cheese on them. Usually when I get a sub sandwich I put the following on it: avocado, spinach, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers, lettuce, black olives, and jalapeno’s (when I am feeling like a little spice). I usually top it with mustard and it keeps me full and satisfied until my next meal.
This was a true game changer for me. I could have served these to my family and they would not have even noticed it wasn’t real chicken. These can be eaten as tenders or in a “chicken” sandwich. They are truly delightful and I would recommend most Gardein products to anyone.
10. OLIVE GARDEN BREADSTICKS ARE VEGAN!
This information couldn’t be more exciting! Those endless loaves of greatness are plant-based approved and vegans all over the world are rejoicing. The salad dressing on the other hand is not….
The traditional marinara at Olive Garden is vegan and if you pair that with any type of noodle and add some veggies you have yourself a plant-based dish. I am still working with Olive Garden to see if I can stop them from adding a ridiculous up-charge for each veggie though.
Those are a couple of ideas to get you started on your plant-based lifestyle. If you need more help finding out how to make your favorite food items vegan visit some great people over at Vegan Eating Out. They have tons of tips and tricks on how to eat vegan at your favorite restaurants as well as food lists of foods you would never even know were vegan.
Step 3: Understand That You Can Allow Yourself to Eat What You Want Occasionally
About once I week I allow myself to have something that might not be plant-based. When my husband and I go to the Mexican restaurant and he orders cheese dip, I have to have some. If I wouldn’t have seen the dip I wouldn’t have the issue but my husband isn’t quite as plant-based as me. If I saw it and didn’t have some I would most likely crave it for days on end until finally I had to get it and would probably eat more than I would have if I would have just originally allowed myself to have the cheese dip. I live by the simple saying that “Everything is okay in moderation”. I’ll say it again…….
Everything is okay in moderation.
If you allow yourself to have something unhealthy occasionally you will satisfy that want and hopefully be able to get through the week without having huge unbearable cravings.
Let me know of ways you have veganized your favorite food items to make them more healthy and plant-based!