by Jamie Landa, Food Campaigns Intern

One of the most important things we can do as consumers to lessen our impact on the climate is to reduce the amount of animal products we eat. Raising animals for food produces over 51 percent of global greenhouse gas emission in addition to using more water and creating more pollution than growing plants.

Going vegan or vegetarian can seem inconvenient, expensive, and just plain not-fun. But it doesn’t have to be—it can be easier and more enjoyable than you think.

Additionally, cutting down on animal products doesn’t mean you need to adopt a label. Holding yourself to a standard like veganism or vegetarianism can mean setting yourself up for failure. It helps to go into a meat-free life with the attitude that nobody’s perfect and the less animal products you consume, the better for the Earth. And if you’d like a label that gives you some wiggle room, you can always be a reducetarian.

Once you get past the fear that you need to be perfect, eating a plant-based diet can be fun and easy. Here’s 5 reasons why it’s exciting to ditch animal products from your diet:

1. Try new things

It’s easy to get stuck in a food rut, we all do it. Cooking and ordering the same dishes day after day can become a bore. Cutting out meat means changing up your diet and trying interesting new restaurants and meals.

Whether it means learning to cook with plant-based proteins like tofu and tempeh or trying that new vegan spot in town, going vegetarian/vegan continually exposes you to new foods. Even better, these new options can be healthy, satisfying, and just as flavorful.