Any dietary shift is going to take some getting used to. Remember, as a Flexitarian, you’re not eliminating meat entirely from your diet; it’s just no longer the focal point of every meal. Begin thinking of meat as something that you look forward to and when you do enjoy meat, make it locally grown and organic. If you are the type that craves a steak, savour it and get enjoyment from a smaller portion. A six-ounce cut goes a long way when married with all the fine fresh vegetables that are available this time of year.
It’s important to understand where the craving comes from. Am I craving meat because I’m lacking protein or iron, or is it just a psychological thing? If you asked Vegans what they miss most about meat, the answer would be BACON. That’s a craving! There must be something about bacon that is hard wired in into our brains at an early age. It’s the ultimate love/hate type food, so good, yet so bad. After all it’s about 65% fat and loaded with sodium, but other than that it is almost a perfect food.
A vine-ripened tomato on a BLT is pretty hard to beat, but the same tomato with mayo, freshly cracked pepper and maybe a little fresh basil mixed in is pretty damn good as well. I am not a big fan of faux meats, like “fakeacon”, but that is one way to perhaps satisfy your craving or perhaps when you absolutely have to have a BLT, make it a good one that will satisfy your craving for a while. Go to your trusted butcher and buy a few strips of a good double smoked bacon and treat yourself, just stay away from the grocery packaged stuff which is just plan nasty. Food boredom is another reason for meat cravings, “not another bloody salad”. Fire up Google and plan out some meals before you go shopping. If it feels like you are lacking in protein, boost it up the legumes, if you feel like you are lacking in iron, increase your dark green plant intake. Keep the carbs to about 30% of what is on your plate, and you’re laughing.
I would be remiss at this point not to mention the benefits of texture and bite profile to satisfy the need for meat. You don’t get the same chew factor from plant-based foods as you do meat. When we developed the Original Nutburg and Holy Mole Nutburg we wanted a satisfying bite profile that you could get your teeth into; not like, but similar to meat. Both the Nutburg and Holy Mole are excellent when cooked, cooled and cut up into a stir fry, taco, veggie wrap or yes, even put into that boring salad which now becomes pure palate pleasure.
I wish you continued success on your journey.
– James West,