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10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Cutting Meat From My Diet

It's totally doable β€” but there are a lot of ways to make the change easier.

Hi! I'm Emily, and I've been a pescatarian for more than three years.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

I've experimented with vegetarianism and veganism as well, but neither of those have completely stuck (yet). Take it from me, though: Cutting meat out of your diet β€” or at least cutting back on it β€” is totally doable, but there are a lot of ways to make the change easier. Here are 10 things I've learned in the past few years that wish I had known from the start.

1. Accept that you probably won't be able to quit cold turkey, because it takes a while to get used to the change.

When you're vegetarian and eat meat and someone calls you out for it

Just like with any other change, it's going to take some time to adjust your habits. If you ate meat almost every day of the week, it's going to be a really difficult adjustment. And that's OK! Just keep it in perspective: You aren't failing, because hey, you're eating less meat than you did yesterday.

2. Instead of trying to go from carnivore to vegan in one fell swoop, ease your way in.

Nickelodeon

Take it slow! Maybe start by eating one meal every day that doesn't have meat in it. Or only eat meat if you're going out to eat. Or try out meatless Mondays. It'll be easier for you to figure out what fills you up when the cravings aren't as intense.

3. Try out a few meat substitutes to keep the cravings at bay.

4. Know how you're going to supplement your nutrition when meat is out of the picture.

Healthy Indonesia / Via self.com

Everyone always made it seem like I needed meat to get enough protein or that I would have to eat a ton of tofu (I, to this day, still can't stand tofu). Once I did my research, I realized how untrue that was. At first, meal planning is going to be confusing and your nutrition intake will probably dip while you're restrategizing. But once you get the hang of it, you won't even think about it.

Get a few cheat sheets here and learn more specifics about nutrition here.

5. Check out the menu before you go out to eat.

At a restaurant and realizing there's nothing you can eat #vegetarianproblems

In most cases, it isn't that challenging to find something on the menu that you can eat, but in order to avoid the awkward moment when you end up having to eat the bread basket for dinner, suggest a restaurant you know everyone will like to take the awkwardness out of the experience.

6. Learn how to cook vegetables really well so you aren't overcompensating by eating a lot of refined carbs and dairy.

wholeliving.com

This is going to sound weird, but the more I lost my taste for meat, the more I gained it for vegetables. I think that's mostly because I learned how to cook them the right way. You remember when everyone hated Brussels sprouts and now everyone loves them? That's because no one was cooking them the right way. (If you still aren't A Believer, you will be after you try this recipe β€” because wow.) Even if you quit this whole thing in a month, you'll at least learn more about cooking vegetables and incorporating them into your meals, and that's a good thing.

7. Do this the way you want to do this, not the way someone's telling you you have to do it.

8. Don't feel like you have to justify your decision to anyone β€” not even yourself.

9. Better yet, just don't talk about it at all.

10. Now, if a friend asks you for honest advice, that's a totally different story.

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Tell them about your experience, send them the recipes you love, and tell them about your favorite veggie burger.

Get this pin from JessicaJumpers on Etsy for $10.09.

What are your best tips for making changes around what you eat? Tell me in the comments below!