Deciding to transition to a plant based diet is a big (exciting) decision. You’re probably about to change your diet and eating habits in pretty significant ways. These changes will positively impact your health and wallet.
At first, any change can seem difficult or overwhelming. Be patient and enjoy all the new experiences and tastes!
It’s important to be openminded. If you spend all your time thinking about how much you miss cheese or view your new diet as a punishment, you probably won’t be the happiest vegan on the block. Life advice – bad attitudes never help a situation.
With the tips below and the other RESOURCES and MEALS posted on Flavors of Living you realize eating healthy (plant based or not) .
1. Crowd out animal products.
Rather than focusing food you’re removing from your diet, focus on all the new foods you’ll be adding. Last year, I had no idea how to use a chia seed and was intimidated by tofu. Now, I eat them daily and in a variety of ways.
Don’t run out and buy a bunch of things you’ve never tried before. One day at a time! Changing to a plant-based diet can be overwhelming. So, start simple. Chances are, you already have a good amount of ingredients to get you started and can buy the rest at any grocery store. Take it one step at a time and enjoy your new diet.
To begin, make a list of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and other animal free ingredients like and of those you would like to try. Next to those, list several ways you would like them prepared. Think about which items might pair well together. Tomatoes, onions, and pasta or HUMMUS, cucumbers, red peppers and PITA BREAD for example. Loaded baked potatoes and smoothies are a great way to combine your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Before heading to the store, take a minute to plan out a few meals. Use these meals along with your list from above to make a grocery list. This will set you up for success and help you avoid temptation.
2. The grocery store can help.
It’s better for your health and wallet to learn how to cook your own plant-based meals. Plus, its very satisfying to create something delicious and nutritious. However, depending on your current eating habits, the idea of removing foods, adding foods, and having to cook can be intimidating.
Have no fear! When starting out, take some help from the grocery store. There are so many vegan products at grocery store that help make transitioning to a plant-based diet easier for you. These products serve as a great vegan substitutes for your favorite foods. There are faux meats, vegan ice cream, vegan MILKS, vegan cream cheese, margarine, and more. In addition, there’s a bunch of “accidentally vegan foods” that you can still buy!
That being said, it’s important to be realistic about substitutions. While there are delicious vegan versions of many foods, they don’t taste exactly like the original. Rather than trying to compare it to the original, appreciate the new flavors and textures of your new plant-based diet. Plus, the health and environmental benefits of avoid animal products is a great reason to avoid animal products.
3. Prepare and know why.
One of the biggest reasons people give up a diet change is because they haven’t prepared for it. Like mentioned above, find a few RECIPES that really stand out to you and try them out! Budget some time to cook them and make it a priority.
Remember snacks too! Nuts and seeds make great trail mix and provide you with loads of vitamins, fiber, and essential fatty acids. Add some dried cranberries, granola, dried bananas, and some cacao nibs and now we’re talking. Other great snack ideas are popcorn, crackers and peanut butter, cut fruit, chips and pico, and pretzels.
Aim for variety in your food choices. Variety will help you eat the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. Start to become more aware of what your daily nutritional needs are and of where you’re getting those necessary building blocks from. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d check out protein, calcium, AND vitamin b12 because those tend to be where vegans are deficient.
Also, think about why you are transitioning to a plant-based diet. Is it for health reasons, environmental reasons, animal rights issues, or a combination? Focusing on this helps to reinforce your choice and gives you motivation. Do some research so you can be better informed, both for your own health and so you can answer questions others may have.
4. Get support and know that it gets easier.
Making changes is always easier when others are encouraging you. Discuss your new diet with those around you and see if anyone may be interested in try it with you (or at least meatless Mondays)!
The internet has a ton of resources that help with the transition. Check out RESOURCES, RESOURCES, VEGAN GUIDE on Flavors of Living to get you started. If you’re interested in meeting with vegans in your area (think delicious potlucks and restaurants plus good conversation and fun people) Meet Up is a great place to check out.
I hope that Flavors of Living will be a place that provides you resources and a community to support your new diet. I’d love to hear from you about what I could do to help support you more.
It takes times and a lot of practice to get good at something. when changing your diet, there’s a learning curve. Remember, it’s okay if you don’t know how to do it all right away. With every meal, you’ll learn a little more about ingredients, cooking, health, and your body.
Let me see what you’re cooking up by using #flavorsofliving