Oprah and Gayle. Lucy and Ethel. Monica and Rachel. Is there anything more powerful than a dynamic duo? A partner in crime makes the impossible that much more possible. And if you’re taking on any type of major life challenge, it’s always better when you’ve got someone by your side. Giving up animal products and going plant-based is no exception.

This is the time of year when we start psyching ourselves up for the best version of ourselves. Once Santa is on his merry way, many of us are thinking about getting back in shape and taking every step toward healthier eating and living. But don’t do it alone. Call in your squad and get the uniforms ready: here’s how to enlist a friend to stick to those plant-based goals.

  1. Start with the facts: You know why you’re going cold turkey on the turkey, but maybe you know things your BFF doesn’t. Yet. Clue them into the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of giving up meat, eggs, and dairy. This can mean some movie nights, going to a class or lecture, or a mini book club (check out T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study” for an enlightening read).
  2. Create a plan: So the two of you are going to give the vegan thing a try. What’s your plan? Are you donating non-vegan pantry items? Is there a countdown to start date? Get a solid plan going (maybe during a meal at Veggie Grill’s newest New York City location?).
  3. Create a menu: Okay, so neither of you are Julie or Julia, but you can cook your way through some delicious vegan recipes. Maybe work through the same cookbook just trading off nights. Or each tackle recipes from different books. Either way, come up with some drool-worthy menus to cover you from morning until evening snack and compare notes on what you loved and didn’t love about your new plant-based meals.
  4. Date night it up: Whether you’re on this mission with your bestie or your bae, date nights are a must. What are the hottest vegan spots in town? Or maybe a favorite meaty restaurant is now upping its vegan game? Go out and enjoy some new food and fun.
  5. Shop together: There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love going grocery shopping and those who are missing out. Be among the former! Head out to farmer's markets together and find some fun new veggies to cook up. Or maybe make a trip to that co-op you’ve been meaning to visit for a while and see what kind of fun ingredients they have in stock. But most important: take your time shopping and enjoying the process. Food becomes part of your body, so make selecting it as interesting and immersive as you can.
  6. Compare progress: What’s working? What’s not? Where are your biggest challenges? What about your partner’s? Do you feel different? Did anything change for either of you physically, spiritually, emotionally? The more you chat about progress and ups and downs, the easier it is to keep going.
  7. Celebrate your victory: Okay, so giving up bacon for a few weeks isn’t exactly like running a marathon or scaling Mt. Everest. But it’s still pretty big! And for many of us, new habits can be hard to make stick. Whether or not going fully plant-based is the new normal for you or your partner, giving it your all deserves some kind of reward. Maybe it’s a night out or a weekend getaway. Whatever you do to celebrate your achievement, be proud of yourself and your partner. What will you tackle next?

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