Oh, the feelings of guilt and shame…and all over a craving for meat!
Of course, for carnivores this isn’t a problem…it’s a signal that it’s time for dinner. But for vegetarians and vegans, these feelings are real and can be difficult to deal with. It’s happened to both Larissa and me on numerous occasions. Here in Texas, the smell of Tex-Mex food or BBQ always seems to linger in the air, particularly at public events.
When meat cravings strike, here are 6 ways we’ve been able to keep them at bay. Here’s hoping they’ll work for you too!
#1 Don’t beat yourself up for craving meat
The majority of us grow up as meat-eaters so there are not only physical cravings at play but often psychological attachments as well. Additionally, your body might actually be trying to clue you in to something you’re missing in your diet, so be kind and thank your body for doing its job!
#2 Find a good meat replacement
There are some obvious meat replacements such as tempeh, seitan, and tofu that might help satisfy your hunger. Consider making meatless versions of your favorite recipes using one or more of these subs. Ask yourself what texture and taste you’re trying to simulate and choose one that will most closely do the trick. If you are trying to avoid processed foods, consider foods such as jackfruit, lentils, mushrooms, and beans. Jackfruit makes an amazing substitute for BBQ!
Upton Jackfruit is one of our favorites!
#3 Season and sauce it!
Those seasonings, sauces, marinades, and rubs that you use on meat can also be used on veggies! Consider grilling using some of these same seasonings to satisfy your craving for grilled meat.
For soups and stews, make a rich “meaty” broth by adding ingredients to vegetable broth such as:
- soy sauce
- liquid aminos
- vegan Worcestershire sauce (check the label since not all Worcestershire sauce is vegan!)
- red wine
- red wine vinegar
- black pepper
#4 Don’t let yourself get too hungry
We crave all sorts of things when we allow ourselves to get hungry. Make sure you carry healthy snacks such as nuts when going out in order to help you avoid becoming ravenous.
#5 Stay hydrated
Dehydration can often be confused with hunger so be sure to drink plenty of water and have a bottle with you if heading out to run errands. Here are some some great guidelines from the Mayo Clinic to help you ensure you’re drinking enough!
#6 Remember your “why”
Larissa and I gave up meat after watching a couple of disturbing documentaries about the factory farming industry. After watching those videos, we knew we could never eat meat again. Whatever your reason for deciding to reduce or eliminate meat from our diet, remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing. If it’s for animal rights, watch a documentary or visit and animal sanctuary to renew your commitment.
To learn more about how to handle meat cravings, listen to episode 124 of the Vegetarian Zen podcast!