Q: I'm not ready to go totally plant-based but I would appreciate some New Year's resolution ideas to move in that direction. Any ideas?
A: Happy to hear you want to make some positive changes that will benefit your health and the animals.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Commit to eating plant-based meals only for at least one day each week. Or commit to cooking three dinners each week that are meatless (you'll soon see how easy and delicious vegan cooking can be!).
2. Substitute one tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with three tablespoons of water for each egg you'd normally use while baking. Replace cow's milk with non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, hemp, hazelnut, oat, coconut) in baked goods. Use applesauce in place of butter or oil when baking.
Saute using water or vegetable broth instead of butter. Swap tofu/tempeh/seitan/meat substitutes for meat in recipes like meatloaf, tacos, chili. You'll find plenty of free, mouth-watering recipes at www.vegnews.com.
3. Try out local veg-friendly restaurants. Visit www.happycow.net to locate those near you. You may find some new favorites and you'll be supporting businesses that care about health, the animals, and the environment.
4. Read a book on plant-based nutrition (like Janice Stanger's Perfect-Formula Diet or Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat For Health).
Check out a book on the animals (like Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer or The Face On Your Plate by Jeffrey Moussaief Masson).
5. Consider joining a meetup group (www.meetup.com) that focuses on vegan/vegetarian interests. I participated in a wonderful vegan book club through this meetup site. It's a great opportunity to meet others with similar ideas or to ask questions and obtain resources from long-time plant-based eaters.
6. Volunteer with an animal advocacy group. National organizations like Vegan Outreach (www.veganoutreach.org) offer one-time or recurrent opportunities to pass out information on college campuses and public events. Local organizations (in San Diego, the Animal Protection and Rescue League www.aprl.org, for example) often seek volunteers for informational booths, fundraisers, etc. You also can volunteer for groups like the Humane Society or at a farm sanctuary.