ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ten Tips For Meat Free Eating

Updated on June 10, 2015
Source

Cutting meat from your diet? Here are ten tips to help

Many years ago, I ran a health food store and even all that time ago, I was often asked to advise people who had decided to eat no - or less - meat.

All these years later, even more people are deciding to cut meat from their diet for a variety of good reasons. And there are many good reasons for doing so; health, weight, concern about the environment, expense, animal rights, distrust of the meat industry ... and more.

Your reasoning might be a combination of several of those factors.The good news is that it's easy to cut out (or cut down on) the meat that you and your family consume.

There is a wealth of fabulous, natural ingredients and many meat-free meals are simple and easy to prepare.Here are ten tips which I hope will be useful to you. If you have additional tips -or questions - please add them in the comments section below.

Graphics © BritFlorida

There are no rules
There are no rules

There are no rules

The only rules are those you make for yourself.

For example, we don't eat meat or fish but we do eat eggs and dairy. This may or may not be your choice but there is no right and no wrong.

You are in control of your diet and your lifestyle. For this reason, avoid listening to criticism. There may be meat eaters who tell you that your decision is wrong. There may be strict vegetarians who urge you to cut out all animal products. Do what's right for you.

And if you 'lapse', don't worry. No-one's keeping a score. If you're faced with a tuna melt that you can't resist (my own weakness sometimes) that's fine. There are no vegetarian police watching you.

You already eat meat-free meals
You already eat meat-free meals

Consider the meat free meals you already eat

My customers at the health food store were often surprised when I said this. But the chances are good that you already eat some meals without meat.

Many people, for instance, rarely eat meat at breakfast. So that's one daily meal taken care of...

Often, for lunch, we have a selection of cheeses with lovely crusty bread, fruit and salad. This is really just an extension of the cheese/salad sandwich that many people grab for lunch. Add a lovely tomato (or other vegetable) soup.

Many people, even those who eat meat, regularly order vegetarian dishes when dining in Italian restaurants - a lovely Pizza Margherita, Fettuccine Alfredo or that lovely Penne alla Vodka. You can recreate these at home easily.

Think globally
Think globally

Consider world cuisine

Most of us have been brought up with an abundance of food available to us. But in other less wealthy countries, wonderful recipes have been developed over the years that avoid expensive or unobtainable ingredients.

Your voyage into the world of meat-free eating can be an adventure that leads you to discover so many different recipes and meal ideas.

My favourite recipe book, for example, is below and I highly recommend it. I draw mainly on Italian, Indian and Chinese foods. After all, we've been used to them for all our lives. But with a great cookbook at your side, it's fascinating to delve into the cuisines of other countries from time to time.

Recommended

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World
Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World

This is my go-to cookbook whenever I need inspiration or ideas.Apart from the wonderful recipes, it is the most comprehensive recipe book I have ever seen, with so many tips and words of advice.

I'm on copy number two and yet it gets so much use, its pages already have some rather interesting stains! Absolutely delicious recipes though.

 
Avoid meat substitutes
Avoid meat substitutes

Try to avoid commercial meat substitutes

If you're accustomed to a certain food, and then try a substitute, it's almost inevitably a disappointment.

Some commercial foods, spicy bean burgers for example, can be pretty good but don't expect them to be like meaty hamburgers.

There are so many wonderful foods available to us that substitutes shouldn't be necessary. Furthermore, if you're eating meat free because of your concern about additives, be sure to check the ingredients on the packaging.

Two great ingredients to use in the place of meat are luscious mushrooms and tasty eggplant. Take lasagna for example. Using these two vegetables in place of the meat creates a lovely delicious and filling meal.

More than mere vegetables
More than mere vegetables

It's not all vegetables

Sometimes, when people know that we are a vegetarian household, I've had the comment 'oh, I could never eat just vegetables'. Well, neither do we.

In fact, a common question at my health food store was 'what do vegetarians eat?'

Often, this was asked by mothers whose teenage son or daughter had just declared themselves meat free. My answer? 'Oh, pies, casseroles, pizza, pasta dishes, rice, quiches...'

You see, meat free meals are perfectly 'normal' really. What some people have difficulty with is that they are used to having a solid lump of something (a chop or salmon fillet) and accompanying vegetables. But when you decide to eat meat free,so many exciting opportunities are open to you.

Yes,use convenience foods
Yes,use convenience foods

Yes, I use convenience foods to speed up cooking

There are many meals that I make in fifteen minutes or less and some of those use convenience foods. (If you have a can of tomatoes, pasta and herbs in your pantry, and cheese in the fridge, you can make dinner in no time).

I'm also keen on using high quality frozen or ready-prepared dough and pastry. With dough and the aforementioned tomatoes, cheese and herbs plus a few olives and other bits and pieces, a 'takeout' pizza is possible in ten minutes.

Look too for excellent quality ready-made sauces.I don't bother with tomato sauces for pasta because they are so easy to make but commercial curry sauces definitely have a place in my kitchen.

Np special ingredients required
Np special ingredients required

No unusual ingredients or equipment are required

If you came into my house now and poked around in my pantry and refrigerator, you'd find no bizarre or unusual ingredients.

All my shopping is done at the regular grocery store. The same applies to the utensils and equipment. In fact, I think that the most 'exotic' pieces of equipment I have in my kitchen are the garlic press and the pizza wheel!

Sure, if you have a blender that's a real bonus and you can make delicious, healthy soups and sauces in no time at all. I've cooked delicious (and quick) vegetarian meals in RVs, boats and on campsites. Don't let anyone tell you that eating without meat or fish means that you'll spend more time in the kitchen. That is absolutely not the case.

Vegetarian dining out
Vegetarian dining out

Eating out

Dining out is so much easier for vegetarians (of all varieties) these days. No longer do we have the one dreaded 'vegetarian option (usually a not-very-tasty vegetable lasagna).

Chefs today create a variety of wonderful meat free meals.I'm reluctant to tell servers 'I'm vegetarian' because they often say that 'the chef will prepare something special' which is often just a plate of roasted vegetables or an uninspired salad.

It's easier to say 'I don't eat meat or fish'.Over the years,I've found that Italian restaurants are always a good bet as are Indian - closely followed by Chinese. Mexican restaurants can be excellent too but we avoid the more traditional French or American establishments unless they've been recommended as meat free-friendly.

Choose quality foods
Choose quality foods

Treat yourself to quality

Even if you are just cutting down on meat and not giving it up entirely, you'll be saving tons of money.

Direct some of this towards delicious treats. We always, for example, have some special cheese in the refrigerator -something to savour.

Experiment with organic foods which, despite the fact that they don't have preservatives, tend to last longer and are certainly far more tasty.The price difference decreases too,as time goes on - organic food is no longer an expensive luxury.Try lunching on an unusual cheese variety, with superior crackers, fresh fruit and a good quality bottled chutney or relish and and you'll be enjoying a luxury cheese plate that would cost a fortune in a restaurant or from room service.

Have fun with your meals
Have fun with your meals

Have fun

Most of all, have fun with your meals. Eating meat free isn't a hardship - quite the opposite.

The advantages are immense and you'll enjoy your food more than ever before. Your body and your bank balance will thank you.

Treat your new way of eating as an exciting new adventure. Enjoy your own way of eating whether it's simply embracing meat free Monday or going the whole way and eating no animal products at all - or anywhere in between.

Experiment with exciting new foods. Now that you're saving from the butchery counter, enjoy some special delicacies. Savour your food and see your new way of eating as a fascinating new hobby. Relax, enjoy and reap the rewards.

© 2014 Jackie Jackson

Comments or questions

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @bravewarrior - our family loves escargots. I don't like meat at all but escargots are more like shellfish, I think. Oh, and that garlic butter ... mmm.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I love escargot. People think they're gross, but I think they're yummy, especially sitting in a mushroom cap swimming with garlic butter.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @bravewarrior - the truth is out :) I have a secret fondness for tuna (don't tell anyone!) But himself is 100% vegetarian and there's no way I'm cooking two different meals every evening so home cooking is always meat free and fish free. He says he won't eat 'anything with a face'. We have arguments about escargots!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Ah, the truth comes out! You were the difficult one on your trip to The Keys, Jackie! Ha ha.

      I don't eat a lot of meat, but I do eat fish. I have a real love for shellfish. Give me anything in a shell and I'm a happy girl.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      4 years ago from Fresno CA

      Well done. I love the numbers with veggies inside. Nice touch. My husband and I have been cutting down on meat for the past few years until now I only have a piece of chicken maybe once a week (he has a little more than I do). And I'm happy with that. I don't think I need meat and I don't seem to be missing it at all. If you had told me that a decade ago, I'd have sworn you were on crack.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 

      4 years ago

      Nicely written. Being vegetarian is really pretty easy, but changing habits is always a challenge.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Mary Crowther: Thanks so much. I hope it will be useful to lots of readers.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: Thank you! I had way too much fun doing them :)

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 

      4 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Great tips for easing into a vegetarian lifestyle!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Great suggestions that take some of the fear out of going meat free! There are so many options available now. I love the graphics here! Very pretty!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @BarbaraCasey: Thank you,Barbara! That's a good tip about the appetizer section. 'One order of mozzarella sticks please and an order of garlic mushrooms - please serve that as my entree'.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 

      4 years ago

      Interesting... I've "accidentally" ended up following just about everything you mention in your 10 tips. Eating out sometimes limits me to the appetizer section, but I've also found that many meals that include meat can also be made without it... even at a restaurant. Really good tips, especially for vegetarian newbies.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)