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From Carnivore to Herbivore: Justin’s Take on Plant-Based Eating

Good morning everyone!! I often talk about MY experience with transitioning to a plant-based diet and every time I share my thoughts or progress … I always get questions about Justin and how he has dealt with the transition. Since both of us grew up in Alberta, meat was always a huge part of our lives. It by no means was an EASY transition for either of us. Every single day we have to work towards incorporating more plants and fewer animals and are always learning and experimenting! Anyways, I’m sure most of you know about my journey so far but today I wanted to do something different and let Justin share HIS journey with you!! Here we go, Justin … take it from here and dish out the deets!!

Hey everyone! Justin here. This plant-based journey started around three years ago. Jill used to take me to Heirloom Restaurant in Vancouver and I remember getting so mad when she wanted to go there because I always felt like there was nothing on their menu that I wanted to eat. Keep in mind, at this time I was a big meat eater so I thought anything “vegan” was stupid, I absolutely hated it.

Even though I was a carnivore, I knew that animal cruelty was a real thing but I was completely ignorant to it. This is where that saying “Ignorance is bliss” comes in, and it couldn’t be truer. I knew that animals were being harmed and slaughtered but I was oblivious to the extent of it (or at least wanted to be). I should mention here though that not ALL farms are abusive but it does exist out there and I was having problems seeing the videos and the stories on the news and it just turned me off! However, we make SOME exceptions with small family farms but it is rare that we eat meat, which is crazy to think about now as I  grew up in an Italian family, we literally had a meat slicer on my kitchen table, my parents would buy those huge cheese wheels and big blocks of meat, we would slice them all up and make sandwiches out of them every day! I was a carnivore through and through and in my mind I didn’t understand people being “vegan” and just thought it was so LAME to only eat plants.

Jillian Harris Justins Take on Eating Plant-Based

Fast forward three or so years and somehow Jill has pulled off transforming me to eat pretty well entirely plant-based MOST of the time. I honestly have no idea how she did it, I never thought I would say I don’t eat meat. I’m thinking maybe it was subliminal messages or something lol. I will admit though that the first few vegan meals she made for me were terrible, they weren’t good, I had no desire to eat them at all and I always felt hungry after. But Jill stuck with it, she is always trying out new things and finding new ways to cook and now I love her meals. They are hearty and comforting and you still get that cheesy taste in her dishes without the dairy which is awesome. As I mentioned above, I’ll still eat the occasional meat and dairy products here and there but it’s been drastically reduced since I’ve been able to educate myself more on it … and since Jill’s vegan cooking has improved.

Jillian Harris Justins Take on Eating Plant BasedJillian Harris Justins Take on Eating Plant-Based

If I had to give a piece of advice to any stubborn meat eaters out there I would say, to just be open to the idea, eating vegan isn’t all salads and sliced veggies! There are tons of awesome meat substitutes out there that taste pretty similar to the real thing so you can give up the meat but not miss the meat taste if that’s your thing. If you don’t believe me, check out Jill’s recent Super Bowl spread, or her veggie burger reviews!

Jillian Harris Justins Take on Eating Plant-Based

Thanks for reading everyone!



Leave a Reply

  1. i am curious what if any changes you may have felt in your body by eliminating animal products?

  2. K Justin, how did you do this. As an Italian like you, I have a meat slicer on my counter and use it weekly, prosciutto & mortadella is always on the cutter every week…goes fast in my house. Not to mention who can not eat parmesan cheese, grated, sliced you name it….Meat and dairy is the staple in most Italian homes, as it is in mine. I can’t see how I can stop cooking with these products as I already have finicky eaters to begin with. Any suggestions, Vegan isn’t something my family will go for, fact I’m not sure if any of my Italian relatives will go for this.

  3. Justin seriously makes me LOL! “so I thought anything “vegan” was stupid.” Our vegetarian journey started almost 3 years ago. It was my husband Anthony who initiated the switch, and I was just too tired to cook more meals. Our kids still eat meat, I’ll let them choose when they are older. Right now they want to eat it and I think they are old enough to decide. We choose local, organic, certified humane. Most will argue with that statment. At first, I was hesitant to post things on social media because I’m friends with farmers and I still consider it a very noble profession. Like anything, a few spoil it for the whole bunch. Anthony has a gluten allergy as well so while I have made steps to remove dairy completely, It’s tricky as most gluten free stuff tastes terrible without some cheese. LOL
    I enjoy your vegan inspiration as well as your recommendations. I wish Ontario had the options you guys have! PLEASE add some gluten-free recipes to the cookbook!!

  4. Thanks so much for your post Jill & Justin! I practice mostly a plant-based/ vegan diet and trying to cook for my Italian, meat-in-his-blood boyfriend has always been a struggle!! He always complains about being hungry or not satisfied after my vegan meals. I would love if you followed up with lunch or dinner recipes you love that are hungryman approved! I would also love to know if your household tries to limit the “fake meat” products such as Gardien or Yves in your meals? Sometimes I’m worried about the sodium and ingredients these products contain but haven’t done much research on it myself. Thanks again for your post 🙂

  5. I love hearing people’s perspectives about making the switch to a plant based diet. My husband and I made the transition six years ago. I was a vegetarian most of my life so the transition was smoother for me. However, he was a big meat eater like you. Chloe Coscarelli is our favorite vegan chef. She has four cook books, one of them is all Italian recipes. Her recipes are delicious. Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. What a great read! I live in a smaller, dare I say ‘redneck’ town, and am struggling to be more vegan. So this was helpful and I’m more determined. Thank you as well for the cookbook links.

  7. Justin/Jillian could I please transport my husband over to you and you guys try to work that magic on him?? I am not vegan but would love to reduce the amount of meat we eat. I could easily go all week without meat, but my husband can’t go a meal without it ☹️ (Health reasons alone I wish he wouldn’t) My biggest struggle is that my husband doesn’t like veggies too much, or barely any. Any advice?

  8. Would love to try making my husband and I one vegan meal a week, but my husband is like Justin and is a huge meat eater. What are some good hearty recipes to get him started?

    1. Search “vegan” on my site and a bunch of great vegan recipes will pop up that I’m sure your husband will love just as much as Justin does!! XOXO

  9. Love it, I have been slowly changing our family over this way and although there have been a few HUGE flops on the dinner menus my husband has eaten everything and usually enjoys it all…now I’m just trying to get him to like the vegan food MORE than the meat and cheese diet. Nice to hear a mans point of view. Thanks 🙂

  10. Hi Jillian & Justin. Thank you soo much for sharing your journey to healthier eating, truly inspirational. I have practiced many healthier eating choices and recently had testing that indicated I required supplements to compliment & meet my healthier eating goals. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more about gut microbiome health and why health Canada ?? has opened a $12 million research facility in Calgary to study this life changing health issue. Justin – tell your dad I said hi – grad 1997

  11. I have to say that a vegan diet is great but I am seeing a lot of processing going into nut cheeses and margarine fats. I have finally removed most processed foods and although I eat meat I have never had better blood work.

    Looking forward to the cookbook to give some great recipes.
    Justin we have seen you cook some wicked Gnocci but what else can you cook that’s vegan if you were alone and hungry?

  12. This makes me so happy 🙂
    I’m from AB. and I’ve been a very happy veg for 9 months now!!! But there is still so much judgement about the ‘V’ word… I often just don’t tell people and eat around the meat and dairy at events…

    So happy to see that a guy was open to the idea AND is liking it!!! Huge WIN

  13. What do you so to not gaining weight with a plant based diet? Whenever I switch, I ended up eating lots of bread and pasta, or lentils and beans makes me bloaded! Heelp!

  14. I LOVE that you shared your take Justin…thank you! I’ve been slowly transitioning to plant-based for years (vegan as of this past Fall) and I luckily have a supportive partner that has been open to trying things that I’ve made (the good, the bad, and the ugly), as well as learning about why I’ve changed my life. I totally agree that being open (as well as patient!) is key. Most people don’t (or can’t) give up meat and dairy overnight. I’ve found for myself that once you find a reason to do it that resonates with you the most (the animals, your health, the environment, etc.) you are able to stick to it. We are almost completely meat-free as a couple, and I know that dairy isn’t far behind. Thank you both for sharing your journey with the world, and especially Jillian as I’m sure you get a whole lot of ‘haters’ for speaking about going plant-based as much as you do. The animals, the environment, and the human population (whether they will admit it or not) THANK YOU!!! 🙂

  15. I’m a mom of three and recently had to give up dairy and soy to breastfeed my CMPA baby and it was an eye opener to vegan food for me which always was in the back of my mind. It was a huge struggle at first giving up a lot but I found more and more substitutes and EVENTUALLY felt healthier however. It’s EXPENSIVE! So I understand the thick behind your choice I commend it, I do. But if you’re on a budget it’s quite hard to buy the “specialty” substitutes.

  16. I have been following Jill since bachelorette days and visit her social platforms often, ll the way from South Africa, Africa, home girl to our fabulous Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universeve.Well done folks. and please know that you motivated me in many ways: decor, outdoors, etc and now this year already started my meat reduction program . Great stuff J and J. This is Tshidi with thanks

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