You don’t have to be a full-blown vegetarian to understand the benefits of a plant-based diet. More and more people are realizing that reducing their meat intake and upping the number of fruits and veggies in their diet can have positive effects on their own health, and that of our planet. It’s estimated by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations that livestock production is responsible for about 14.5 percent of all global green house gas emissions, and of these emissions, about 32 to 40 percent are methane gas (produced by cattle during digestion.)
For some, the environmental benefits are enough reason to move towards a plant based diet, but for others, it’s the health benefits that play a major motivator. Among these benefits (according to the National Institutes of Health) are weight loss, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Whatever your reasons, the move away from meat can be a difficult one, but there are some tips that can help with the transition…
1. Start Small
One of the most important aspects of moving to a plant-based diet, is the way you go about it. Going cold turkey (sorry, bad pun) can be extremely difficult, and your body may have a hard time adjusting this way. For this reason it’s highly recommended that you start small. Take whatever you’re doing currently and find ways to scale down, slowly.
If you typically eat meat with almost every meal, start with ‘meatless Mondays’ and once you’re used to one meatless day a week, increase it to 2 or 3 and so on. There are no hard and fast rules about how you go about making the switch, it’s really about doing what works for you. Even if you don’t want to give up meat all together, there are still many benefits to be had from a few meatless days each week.