A plant-based diet is an eating pattern that focuses on only consuming unprocessed and unrefined natural foods. This diet includes grains, tubers, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. A plant-based diet has been known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. As of 2018, it has become the biggest dining trend in the United States, ensuring its subscribers a much healthier and environmentally friendly way of life.
While the benefits of eating natural plants seem more than enough to influence a worldwide transition, enforcing this change after thousands of years of meat-based diets has proven to be quite difficult. In most cases, health conscious individuals enter into plant-based diets with gung-ho attitudes, but are unable to continue due to attachment to old habits and a lack of understanding of how to transition. Achieving optimal health is not easy and like all things, preparedness is the key to success. Here are the top 10 tips on how to successfully begin your plant-based journey.
Tip 1: Research
Before you even think about going plant-based, it is wise to do some research for educational purposes and personal success. Weigh the pros and cons of making plants your only food sources. Whatever it is that’s motivating you to take such a big leap, make sure it’s something that’s right for you. This will increase your chances of success during the withdrawal phase. You will undoubtedly experience some cravings, which is why it’s important that you fully understand what this diet is and how you can benefit from it.
Tip 2: Make A Decision, And Stick With It
Commitment is everything when you make the transition to plant-based foods. Removing animal-based enzymes and processed foods from your diet will change the internal chemistry in the body. Going back and forth between diets may prove strenuous on your overall health.
Tip 3: Clean Out Your Fridge & Pantry
Once you commit to the new diet, it’s time to take action. Remove any and all items from your home that are not plant-based and replace them with items that are. The point of doing this is to alter your taste buds and prevent yourself from cheating on your new diet. Removing the temptation from your house is a painful yet necessary step.
Tip 4: Plan Your Meals
Going plant-based means that your food will have to be made fresh most of the time. Anything with added preservatives is not encouraged while adhering to this diet. Make it easy on yourself by buying bulk items like whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and other foods with a long shelf life. You can also try meal prepping one day on the weekend to make your life easier during the week. There are even plant-based meal delivery services that can ease your transition.
Tip 5: Start Small, Keep It Simple
As you begin to preparing your own meals, you’ll notice that you feel more satisfied when you focus on the basics. You don’t want to drain your energy by attempting to make a three-hour recipe with 47 ingredients. Instead, look for recipes that look delicious and require minimal effort. A plant-based diet requires more fresh ingredients so be sure to allot ample time to prepare everything. Keep your meals simple, no need to complicate things with gourmet entrées or three course meals; well, not yet anyway.
Tip 6: Recreate Your Favorite Recipes
Try to find alternative plant-based ingredients for some of your favorite recipes. It may not be possible to do this with all of your go-to recipes, so understand that there will be a difference in the way the dishes taste. Replace the non-plant based items with whole food items. For example, you can substitute mushrooms (portobellos work great) for meat in recipes that call for some type of meat. You can also blend nuts with various spices in a food processor to create raw plant-based meats.
Tip 7: Find Your Plant-Based Tribe
This is a great time to search your favorite social media network for like-minded individuals or groups that share you enthusiasm and interest in the plant-based diet. You may even have friends who have already transitioned to a plant-based diet and can illuminate the path to success. Participate in a challenge and start sharing the recipes you make to inspire others who may want to make the plant-based switch.
Tip 8: Explore Local Food Options
To piggyback on the previous tip, make it a habit to go out to local plant-based restaurants, where you can experience unique creations that you may not think to make at home. Try to do this at least once a week, especially since more and more plant-based restaurants are popping up around the nation. Have fun exploring the diet by immersing yourself in the lifestyle. Take note of any dishes that you may want to make for you or loved ones at home.
Tip 9: Be Patient, There Will Be Drawbacks
Subscribing to a plant based diet is not easy, and you may experience symptoms of withdrawals or even deviate from the path a couple times. What you need to understand is that failures like these are still part of the process and it is important to go at your own pace. Be patient and take this new diet one day at a time. Always remember that things will get easier with time, as long as you stay committed.
Tip 10: Add Some Plant Based Supplements To Your Diet
Don’t be afraid to add plant-based vitamin and mineral supplements to your diet, but make sure they are 100% plant-based. Supplementing can help maintain energy levels or keep your protein intake consistent. Transitioning will take time, especially when you’re trying to find what works well with your body and what doesn’t.
Be steadfast in your commitment to plant-based foods and never be ask for assistance, tips, or information about what you are doing. As long as you are trying to better your health with plant-based foods, you are on the right track.