Ten Easiest Ways to Get Over Your Meat Cravings

ten easiest ways to get over your meat cravings
Anyone who’s ever transitioned from a meat and dairy-based eating plan to a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle has surely encountered this problem at one point or another: getting over their meat craving. It’s happened to the best of us and not necessarily in the early stages. You might be a vegetarian for a few years now, find yourself in a restaurant and see a lovely steak tartare being served at the table next to yours. There you have it: that old familiar smell starts circulating and your taste buds go wild.

The essential step to dealing with a craving properly is to understand it. You have to understand where it’s coming from and how to trick your mind and body into accepting the new situation.

Here are the ten easiest ways to get over your meat craving:

1. Have more zinc

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Most of the times when people crave meat, it’s actually a sign that they have a zinc deficit in their bodies. Since red meat and poultry in particular are packed with zinc, this can be a common explanation for why this phenomenon occurs. Worry not, though. This wondersome mineral can be found in many other types of foods, such as lentils, spinach, beans, nuts and cereals. 
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So the next time you are hungry for some chicken wings, consider cooking a lentil soup instead or have a handful of pumpkin seeds and that should satisfy your craving.

2. Have more iron 

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The other essential mineral found in meat is iron. When you don’t have a sufficient iron intake, your body cannot produce enough hemoglobin, which makes it harder for the red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body’s tissues. This leaves you feeling tired, irritable, thus unable to function properly throughout the day. 
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Meat does not have the exclusivity on iron, though. You can find this mineral in all kinds of vegan-friendly sources, such as potatoes, raisins, brussels sprouts, soybeans, whole wheat pasta, tofu and many more.

3. Trick your senses

Craving meat after you’ve become a vegetarian is not a crime and it is totally understandable. Most of us have been fed with animal-based products from early childhood and we’ve grown to love its taste, smell and texture. After so many years of consuming it, it has become an addiction, so it’s only natural to associate it with something pleasurable and savory.
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The Japanese actually have a word for this, which in English we refer to as “umami.” Umami is considered to be the fifth basic taste, after sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. This makes us crave deliciously tasting foods, which is why the craving for meat sets in. 

Thankfully, there are many ways through which we can trick our senses nowadays, since the market for vegan/vegetarian products has grown so much over the years.
There are currently many products that imitate the texture, color and shape of meat, so whenever you are hungry for it, you can always opt for a veggie burger, a falafel or a tofu-based sausage. 

4. Get more protein

Since meat is usually packed with protein, this is one of the reasons why we find ourselves craving it. Body builders are usually pumping up huge quantities of this stuff, but it is important to know that protein does not only build muscle, it also helps strengthen your hair, nails, bones and every cartilage in your body.

Fruit & Veg
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Protein can be found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, peaches, lentils and corn. You don’t need to eat a chunkload of them every day, but as long as you include them in your daily meals, you should be all set.

5. Drink water

This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes when we have a food addiction, the best way to trick it is by drinking a large glass of water. This will fill you up and reduce the hunger which you’ve associated with meat.

6. Distract yourself

You’ve had that large glass of water? Great! Now be patient for a few minutes, because it will soon go away.  Don’t just stay on your couch killing time, though. Boredom is actually one of the main reasons why we experience food cravings, since eating tends to satiate any emotions that we might be going through.

So go ahead and reconnect with a few friends, see a movie or clean your house. Whatever you can do to focus your attention elsewhere is a good place to start.

7. Exercise

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According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, high-intensity exercises can actually decrease any food cravings we might experience. As it turns out, an intense workout can lower your levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. So hit the gym or go for a 30-minute jog session or take up dancing, as it will not only increase your health, but also lower your meat craving.

8. Avoid meat-serving restaurants

Pretty obvious, right? If you don’t want to crave meat, you should steer clear of it. Even if your husband/wife or friends are meat-lovers, you can always suggest switching it up every once in a while and try a vegetable-based dish they’ve never had before.

9. Be prepared

Realize that meat craving works like every other addiction. It takes a while for your body to get used to a new eating plan and every now and then you might experience a type of hunger associated with it. That is why you should always keep your kitchen stocked with healthy, protein-rich alternatives to satisfy your taste buds and give you enough energy for the day.

10. Make new memories

 Since most of us have grown accustomed to eating meat from an early childhood, we have lots of memories associated with it, from family barbecues to birthday parties, where everyone would prepare some sort of recipe involving chicken, beef or turkey. Another good way of avoiding your craving is to organize your very own family gatherings, where you include vegetarian alternatives to the traditional recipes. Your loved ones might be skeptical at first, but once they see how delicious they are, they’re bound to come around.

Amanda is a freelance writer and partner at Home Remedy Shop, a website focused on promoting healthy living through natural and herbal cures. 

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