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Transitioning to a plant-based diet can have its challenges. Here you will find 12 tips to help you begin your own plant-based journey.
Justin and I decided to go plant-based and it was a decision we don’t regret. We’re on a journey to live well from the inside out and a great place to begin is with the foods we consume each day.
We both chose different paths (I’ll talk about this in another post) but we have been respectful of each other’s individual journey and the support we get from each other makes our decision easier too.
If you are curios about eating plant-based or are in the process of transitioning, these are some tips that can help.
12 Tips for Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet
1. Know your ‘why?’
People decide to stop eating animal products including meats, dairy, and eggs for many reasons.
- It may be for personal health.
- It may be for a vested interest in animal welfare.
- It may be for the environment.
Whatever the reason, it should be personal and meaningful to you. Having a strong reason for making the switch to a plant-based diet can help keep you on your journey.
When you think you want an animal product, your why can stop you in your tracks.
If someone is forcing you to make this decision or it’s being forced on you as guilt-trip that’s not meaningful and changing your lifestyle on those terms may not be long-lasting.
2. Talk with a specialist to learn how this lifestyle can influence your health.
Making any major dietary change is a big deal. It’s a smart idea to talk with a trustworthy specialist to ensure the changes you plan to make to your diet will support your overall health.
While there is tons of information available online, having someone who can speak to your exact needs may help you make the transition easier.
FYI: There is a difference between a general medical practitioner, a nutritionist, and a dietitian.
3. Learn which products you already consume that contain animal products.
Once you decided which animal products you want to remove from your diet. Start reading the labels on the food you consume.
The list of products that are made from animals is long. It’s not just meat, cartons of milk, and eggs. It’s candy, marshmallows, sauces, and many other products that we don’t ever think about.
The first step to learning what’s in your products is paying attention to the labels and eating lots of food without labels (fresh produce).
4. Decide how you want to transition to plant-based eating.
Eating plant-based doesn’t need to be a sprint. Some people respond better to slowly transitioning to the lifestyle and others need a quick and abrupt beginning.
It’s important to do what’s best for you. Some people decide to cut one meat product at a time, followed by dairy, followed by eggs. That is perfectly OK!
Some progress is better than no progress.
5. Stock your kitchen with staples.
Not having staple products in your home readily available can lead to setbacks.
When we don’t have plant-based food on-hand to prepare, we sometimes lean on what’s conveniently available. For many of us, that is fast food and other poor food choices.
This isn’t true for all communities, so if you live where there is an abundance of healthy plant-based food restaurants, we envy you!
6. Learn how to cook/prepare a handful of plant-based dishes extremely well.
One of the biggest misconceptions about eating plant-based is that the meals are too complicated. In learning how to cook several meals well, you are doing two important things:
- Increasing your confidence.
- Giving yourself a database of reliable meals you can always count on when other meals go wrong.
7. Learn how to build on simple meals.
Once you learn how to make a few meals, learn how to build on those dishes with even more plants.
For example, you may want to learn how to make rice or quinoa well, so that you can eventually use the dish to prepare filling buddha bowls.
8. Be open to try numerous fruits, seeds, and vegetables previously ignored.
One of the biggest changes many plant-based converts notice about their diet is the increased variety of foods they begin to explore. So often, on the traditional Western diet, we ignore the available fruit, seed, and vegetable varieties that are available to us.
If there are foods you haven’t tried prior to changing your diet, you may want to consider them now.
Who knows? You may be pleasantly surprised.
9. Listen to your body while it adjusts to the changes in your diet.
It’s not uncommon to experience gas, bloating, increased regularity or other symptoms when you first make a diet change. Some of the changes may even be uncomfortable.
- If you do experience gas or bloating, it can because of specific foods you are eating. Keeping a food journal can help you pinpoint some of the culprits.
- If you are having more regular bowel movements that shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Your system may be working more efficiently than ever.
- These changes don’t necessarily indicate that the diet isn’t for you, you may just need time to adjust.
10. Find resources that resonate with you.
Some people respond to written content better than video content or vice versa.
- If you learn best with video, use YouTube videos to learn about recipes.
- If you enjoy books, a hard copy or ebook of recipes make work better.
- If you get most inspired scrolling through Instagram, that’s OK too.
Once you find the people and resources that resonate with you, commit to engaging with the content regularity to stay motivated.
11. Find a supportive community.
There are people who have transitioned to a plant-based diet before you and there are those who are currently on the journey with you. Finding a few people in both groups can make your transition easier.
- You’ll have a few people who can inspire and motivate you on your journey.
- You’ll have people who can relate to the challenges you may have at this moment.
- You’ll get to lead by example. There may be someone watching you and learning and you may not even know you are inspiring their journey.
Having people ahead of you as mentors, beside you as partners, and behind you to push you along is what keeps movement and forward progress happening.
12. Be kind to yourself and others.
Plant-based eating is not a competition.
If you make a mistake, there is no diet police who will arrive to punish you. Just brush your shoulders off and continue on your journey.
The thing is…
You don’t have to be perfect to go on a plant-based journey. Just be honest with yourself and be kind to yourself.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet doesn’t need to be tedious or punishing. It should feel good in your mind and in your body.
I hope these tips help you as you transition to a plant-based diet. The great thing is…you get to define what success looks like for you at every stage. 😉