How to Transition to a More Plant-Based Diet
Plant-based is the new vegan. Here are some ideas on how to eat more plant based and my own journey into this way of life.
Gary Zukav says that before a spiritual change, a diet change often precedes. Whether you are interested in participating in Meatless Mondays, looking to eat a healthier or ready to fully jump into a new diet, I have some ideas for you. Plant-based is the new vegan. I personally prefer the term because it gives the sense that plants are the star of the diet, which is true. I also eat raw organic honey and a true vegan does not eat any animal products.
Let's start by dispelling a few myths before we begin. The first is that we are meant to eat meat because we do not get enough B12 without it. Well, the reality is that many people regardless of diet do not get enough B12 and we should all take it as a supplement. I recommend pure encapsulations because it is truly pure, both my husband and I have been taking it for years now. Next, we need a lot of protein to be strong and healthy. In fact, most plants contain protein and many people get too much protein on a daily basis. If you are really concerned about protein then get a good vegan protein powder but personally, I just make sure to eat raw nuts, seeds and beans often. Lastly, eating plant-based can make you sick. It may take at least 2 weeks or more for your body to get used to eating a different way. Detox can be easy or it can be full of low energy, headaches and stomach related issues but just hang in there, it is just a process your body is going through.
I first heard of vegetarians when I was about 5. I remember being asked if I could be one and I was told that I needed to wait until I could cook. I never liked the taste of meat especially pork and beef and also loved animals. So at the age of 12, I decided I could kind of cook and went for it. I didn't know much about nutrition and at that time there were no veggie burgers or nut milks sold in stores. I eventually got a subscription to Vegetarian Times and would get to go to a health food store on occasion. I learned to cook and my diet became very carb-heavy. Around 15, my cousin convinced me to be a vegan but at the same time my family was really struggling with money. I ate a lot of pasta, bread and other processed carbs. At this point, I knew more about nutrition and was taking supplements but it wasn't the healthiest approach.
I went back and forth from vegan to vegetarian until after I had my son about five years ago. I felt really sick after having him and was told I had Hashimoto's and a lot of food sensitivities. I was also told I needed to increase my protein so I became a pescatarian--a mostly vegetarian who also eats seafood. Last year, I read books by Medical Medium Anthony William who really explains the healing power of fruits and vegetables. He suggests not eating pork, dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, corn and canola oil. I already wasn't eating pork, gluten, soy and dairy so I gave up the rest and haven't looked back. This diet as well as supplements and yoga has radically changed my body. I have more energy and feel healthier than I have felt in a long time. For years as a vegetarian I was protein-obsessed. I was always making sure I provided enough for my children and ate enough for myself but after reading William's books I am no longer concerned. I strive now for whole unprocessed foods in a variety of colors. Both of my kids are vegetarians and my husband has just recently joined me on being plant-based ( he has been a pescatarian since we have been together).
A few ideas for when you begin:
Start out by making a list (mentally or written) of meals and snacks you currently enjoy that are already plant-based.
Buy your favorite fruits and vegetables to have on hand when you begin your journey. This way you will be less tempted to eat something that is not plant-based.
Avoid substitutes for two weeks. If you go from eating cheese one day and eating vegan cheese the next, you will most likely be disappointed. It is better to let your palate adjust.
Each time you grocery shop, commit to buying one new fruit, vegetable or herb you have either never had or never cooked with before. This idea will keep your diet interesting and fun so you don't get bored.
Give yourself lots of grace if you slip up or make a mistake. It can be difficult to read all the labels or to create new patterns, don't beat yourself up for it.
Whether your reason for changing is health or environmental, let it inspire you to keep going.
Focus on gratitude. If you feel frustrated or want to give up focus on the foods you can have, for the resources available and for you being bold enough to try it.
Some Resources for you:
Unsure if an ingredient is animal free? Try this site: https://doublecheckvegan.com/
This blog is very fresh and often gluten-free too: https://minimalistbaker.com/
This blog is very fresh ingredients based an simple: https://ohsheglows.com/
This blog is full of gorgeous videos and beautiful food: https://www.alphafoodie.com/