There’s no doubt that you will miss your favourite meals shortly after you cut a meat out of your diet. The smell of it will be enough to turn any respectable person back. It’s the same as if you suddenly cut out your favourite unhealthy sugary or salty snack. Even though it’s not necessarily good for you, your body is trained to want and enjoy it. The good news is that these cravings will eventually disappear with time. The trick is being able to get through the storm.
There is an excerpt in my favourite self-help book “How to be a Badass” by Jen Sincero that comes into play here. The concept was to look around the room and notice everything that is one colour, say the colour red. Try it. Done? Ok, now without looking up again, try and remember everything that you saw that was yellow. It’s likely that you won’t remember anything that was.
When we put so much focus in on one thing, we often look over the other obvious, and possibly much better, things. When I had first cut out eating cow I remember missing ground beef tacos the most. And Hamburger Helper, of all things. It was comfort food. I almost fell off the path a few times until I finally searched my mind for creative substitutions. I then realised such an obvious solution sitting right in front of my eyes that it was a bit embarrassing to admit. I could make the exact same meals but with ground turkey, chicken, pork, or even tofu. My mom used to do it for us when I was little. How could I forget?
Before you give up you owe it to yourself, and to your reason whatever that may be, to exhaust all options first. Here’s a list of all the methods that I used to hold back over the years:
- Remember your reason. Mine was animal cruelty, so every time I felt like giving in I would think about who I’m trying to save and I’m automatically turned off.
- Consider your alternatives. Can you make something similar but with one of the other meats you can still eat?
- Ask if you can make substitutions to your favourite restaurant dish. Chances are the kitchen can figure something out.
- Ask someone to prevent you from craving in. You have friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers surrounding you ready to help. They can help to remind you that you’re not allowed.
- Come up with a phrase to recite whenever you need it. Mine is “Remember why you did this in the first place. It’s not worth it, you don’t need it.”
- Count the days since you started. Whether it be 3 days, 30 days, or 3 months, they are all great accomplishments. How can you give up now?
- Breathe through your mouth. I’m serious! Smells are my kryptonite. This helps me when walking through food courts or by McDonalds.
- Breathe through your nose, a lot. Totally contradicts my previous point, but for some people satisfying one sense will lower the need to satisfy the others. I often do this with bacon…
If none of the above works and you do still cave in, don’t feel as though that’s the end. I’ve given in once or twice before but I made sure to not let that discourage me. You get back on track right after and don’t look back.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, The Vegetarian Method is a slow and steady change. Remind yourself that you are working for the long term. If that means caving once or twice along the way, so be it. As long as it means that eventually you will be there, eventually you will be a vegetarian or vegan for good, then it’s worth it.