When we think of vegetarians we think of people who want to save the animals, hippies, and people who hate meat eaters. Not all vegetarians fall into this category. Majority of vegetarians made the decision to stop eating meat to save our environment. The meat industry uses 30% of the water consumed in the world, makes up 45% of the world’s land, is responsible for 91% of the Brazilian rainforest destruction, and the leading cause of ocean dead zones. Humans and the animals they eat make up 98% of the biomass now while wild animals make up 2%. 10,000 years ago, humans were the 1% while free animals were 99%. The rainforest is being cut down an acre per second. 91% of rainforest is burned due to livestock and GMO soybeans we plant to feed them. These animals were meant to eat grass, but we are feeding them grain because it causes them to get fat quickly. A lot of our foods are made with this hidden corn: corn syrup, medicines, ketchup, etc. Just like humans, these animals’ bodies are becoming inflamed from what they cannot digest, and they are disease ridden. Majority of meat companies don’t care and will process these animals.

Ready to save the planet with what’s on your plate?

This is only a small part of the reason people become vegan or vegetarian. You should never start a new diet cold turkey, especially vegan. It’s important to find recipes you like before switching completely over. Start with a few meals switched out and keep changing it up. Even a few vegetarian or vegan meals a week makes a difference.

As I switch out meals for vegetarian or vegan alternatives there are 7 realizations I have come to:

  • All great cooking is about how you season whatever you are eating. Eating meat plain is just as good as tofu plain, it’s all in how you prepare your meal.
  • Don’t expect things to taste like the real food you are trying to imitate. Try something new
  • You don’t need meat to eat protein.
  • It’s not just salads you can eat raw. There are some amazing raw meals.
  • Not all vegans or vegetarians are skinny. It depends on what you eat. Even vegans and vegetarians are able to overeat processed foods. Some junk food is vegan.
  • If you’re worried about your weight, take out gluten too. We’re overeating it and it’s making us fat and sick.
  • It’s not just salads, but some vegans stick to a majority raw diet.
  • If you decide to go vegan you will experience your body detoxing.

Here are 10 vegetarian meals and vegan meals I love:

  1. General Tso– First look at the recipe it seems odd to use ketchup, but the sauce was a hit! It smells and tastes just like General Tso. I made my own veggie nuggets with this, but I advise you use Morning Star’s nuggets. Unless you’ve found a veggie nugget recipe you love, don’t try to make your own. Here’s a delicious tofu recipe option. 
  2. Pulled Pork– This recipe satisfies the texture we’re looking for when you’re giving up meat for veggies. Another option is using jack fruit. To make it vegetarian add cheese. Don’t skip the coleslaw! You can opt for a gluten free bun. I recommend Canyon Bakehouse.
  3. Skewers- Don’t worry you can still enjoy BBQ this summer! Check out these tofu skewers! The Sriracha sauce is amazing!
  4. Minestrone soup. You can substitute gluten free noodles or use spaghetti squash zoodles if you’re looking to go gluten free. Cutting gluten helps reduce weight gain.
  5. Jambalaya. You don’t have to miss your favorite flavors while on a diet!
  6. Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers. You won’t miss the meat! Add some sweet potato fries to make it a meal.
  7. Mushroom Burger Recipes. After having portabello mushroom burgers at a NYC restaurant I had to find a recipe for the grill this summer. There are so many burgers on the market that are not very good. If you are going to buy an already made brand I would purchase Beyond Burgers Brand. Otherwise, check out these two recipes. If you need a quick meal, use this recipe. This recipe is a little time consuming, but it’s worth trying. It does not come out too moist like most recipes.
  8. Buddha Bowls are so easy to make! Majority of the ingredients are raw. You can take one day out of your week to chop everything up so you can easily assemble them. Check out this southwestern bowl. 
  9. This Power Salad is amazing! The dressing is made with olive oil, some vegans don’t use oil in their dressings. Here’s some healthy homemade, oil-free dressings you can try.
  10. Korean BBQ Stir Fry Zoodles.

Feature image via taste.com.au