sustainable diet

Changing my diet to be more sustainable

Sometime in April, I watched Cowspiracy and What The Health. And while some of the claims of the movie have been disproved (see Unnatural Vegan’s review of the movie) it still left an impression on me. Big enough that I decided to change my diet for it to be a little more sustainable.

Now, in an ideal world, I would switch to a completely vegan whole foods diet, with some supplements I’m already taking, getting the majority of my food plastic free from local sources. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world.

The Set Up:

I watched the Cowspiracy movie (and then several more movies available on Netflix). I knew that no dietary changes would take place without my mom being on board. Because I work at a corporation, I’m usually out of the house for 10 hours at a time. Which means my mom does the majority of shopping and cooking. So, unlike most of the changes in my introvert life, I had to share this idea.

“Hey mom, so I want to eat more sustainably and ethically so i don’t think I want to eat meat anymore.”

My mother, who sat through a number of my phases over the years, said “Okay”, and asked what do I want to eat instead.

The problem:

I’m an extremely picky eater. When I was super young I stopped eating the majority of food types and never touched it again. I tried reintroducing some of those foods into my diet, with poor results. So any change in diet is a bigger challenge than it would be for other people.

On top of that, I’m limited by where I live. Poland is a lot different that the US in terms of what’s available and what price it is. While I can buy my vegetables from a small family owned stand, free of plastic and grown locally. But it’s also expensive. Financially speaking I’m not saving as much as the Internet has lead me to believe.

Another problem is also the fact that I can’t cut out animal products completely. I still eat eggs, milk and cheeses. I eat regular pasta and yoghurts. And that’s because I need the variety and changing lifelong habits are not the easiest. Plus I don’t have enough alternatives among foods that don’t cause me to gag.

The Implementation:

Once I shared my dietary goal with my mom we wrote down all foods and meals that we already knew and ate on a regular basis that didn’t contain meat, as well as those meals where meat could be replaced with an alternative or omitted altogether. And while the list wasn’t all that long, it was still longer than we thought it would be and offered enough variety that the new diet wouldn’t get old.

Not to mention that with Summer, there will be a lot more variety of veggies available.

The Road Ahead:

While I haven’t given up completely on animal based products, I am determined to keep experimenting with possible additions and replacements that could help me phase them out of my diet as time progresses. The experiments are hit or miss (yes to replacing pepperoni with mushrooms on grilled toast, no to rucola pesto), but I keep trying. After all, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Do you have any meatless, vegetarian and vegan recipes I could try? Let me know!

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