My 4 Step Vegetarian Challenge: How to eat more like a vegetarian WITHOUT giving up meat or dairy.

In the wake of the release of What The Health I have noticed a serious uptick in client fascination with plant-based diets.

This makes me happy because, quite frankly, there are great long-term health benefits to be enjoyed by both yourself and the environment if you choose to live a more animal-friendly lifestyle.  

I also appreciate that not everybody can just go cold turkey ( no pun intended) when it comes to their consumption of animal products, so  I am proposing a 4 step challenge that will help you to include less animal products in your diet without having to significantly changing how you eat. 

Step 1- For every 1 Litre of Cow’s Milk or Yogurt you consume, consume the equivalent amount of Soy Milk or Yogurt ( or enriched Almond/Rice Milk). 

This one is pretty straight forward . Every time you purchase milk or yogurt from a grocery store, you also purchase an equivalent amount of non-dairy alternative that you must also consume before purchasing or consuming more cow’s milk.

Step 2 – For every 1 whole egg you consume , consume ½ of an avocado or 1 tbsp of peanut butter instead of a second egg.

If you currently consume 10 eggs a week, you will instead consume 5 eggs and 2.5 avocados. Your old two egg breakfast would become a 1 egg and 1/2 avocado breakfast.  

If, for whatever reason, avocados are not an option for you or you already eat them very often, you can swap in 1 tbsp of peanut butter for 1/2 an avocado ( 10 eggs would become 5 eggs and 5 tbsp peanut butter). 

Step 3 – For every two salads you consume with an animal protein source (such as chicken, fish, beef etc) consume one with legumes as the protein source (such as lentils or chickpeas).

Salads are commonly consumed with animal protein sources, particularly chicken and fish. I challenge you to consume one salad with legumes as the protein source for every two salads you consume with a animal protein source. Once you have consumed two salads with an animal protein source, your third must be a salad with a plant-protein source before re-starting that cycle. This will occur over a period of days or weeks. 

Step 4- For every 3 meals you consume meat ( excluding in a salad, as per above) consume tofu at one meal.  

I know this is a hard one for most people, but I also know you can give me 3:1 odds on tofu.  I did not try tofu for the first time until 2016,  but I am extraordinarily confident that you will like it as much as I did. Extra firm tofu can be prepared and seasoned just like meat, it can be grilled, fried or baked and literally dressed and served in the same way and the same dishes that meat can ( tacos, stir fries or a la carte). 


There you have it folks. 

This is my four step challenge to help you eat more like a vegetarian without really having to give up any of your favourite foods.

It is well documented that swapping animal foods for plant-based foods has positive benefits on long-term health and chronic disease prevention, and it also feels pretty great on a personal level. 

Ready to give the challenge a shot? I am willing to bet you will enjoy it more than you think and it will make you feel better than you could ever imagine. 

Give it a try and share your journey with me on social media – Twitter  | Instagram 


Andy De Santis RD MPH

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