We get it: going full vegan isn’t for everyone. Our world is set up so that it can be expensive and time-consuming and inconvenient. That said, we do know that meat production is a real, significant problem for the earth. So if you care about the environment but don’t have the time or resources to go completely vegan, what are your alternatives? Here are a few ways to start thinking like a vegan and making small, easy decisions that will get you a li’l closer.
When it comes to meat production, beef uses far and away the most environmental resources. In fact, it requires 28 times more land, six times more fertilizer and 11 times more water compared to pork, chicken, dairy and eggs. So if you’re looking for a simple way to make a big impact, skip the burger. Or, don’t skip it — just grab a turkey burger or a veggie burger instead.
Choose veggies when they’re available
One of the main obstacles to going vegan is dining out and finding yourself at restaurants with no interesting veggie-centric options. And it’s true: this definitely happens. So if you’re just looking to dip your toe in, don’t stress about it — but when you do see a veggie dish, order it. You’ll have a great vegetarian meal, and contribute to a culture that recognizes the need for something meatless on the menu.
Switch to a dairy-free milk
One of the truest facts in this world is that cheese is delicious, and it’s very daunting to imagine giving it up. So rather than shield your eyes whenever you see a cheese plate, start by removing dairy milk from your diet. Alternatives like soy, almond, and oat milks are everywhere; chances are both your local coffee shop and your grocery store carry them. Find your favorite and make the switch.
Make vegetarian cuisines your go-to takeout order
While American food tends to be fairly reliant on meat, other parts of the world have truly perfected the vegetarian dish. So don’t stop eating out or ordering in! Just tweak your regular Mexican, Thai, or Indian order to be meatless (and just as delicious and satisfying).
Experiment with meatless sources of protein
On your next grocery shopping trip, pick up quinoa, beans, and tofu. Then try using a vegan protein to replace whatever meat you’d usually use in your favorite dish. It doesn’t have to be every night, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. But start playing around and discovering what you like and don’t like, and what leaves you satisfied. Once you find your faves, make them more often. Just like that, you’re on your way.