Cheat sheet is on the bottom!
So you are interested in going plant-based. Good on you! There are many reasons to go plant-based. It doesn’t matter why you decided to go plant-based, but it does matter how you choose to do it. Whether you made the decision for your health, for the environment or you are choosing the vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons – the most important thing to consider is yourself. Health should be your number one priority, whatever the reason. And you are in luck! Going plant-based is one of the best things you can do for your health, for the environment and for the wellbeing of animals. That is – if you do it right. That is why I’m here to help you. Whether you are an omnivore or already a vegetarian or vegan, going plant-based is a big change and all big changes in life require some effort. Because this is a change worth making I am going to share my best tips on how to go plant-based. These are the tips I learned myself and by coaching others on how to go plant-based. These tips come from real life and I really hope they will come in handy for you as well!
1. Make a decision: Why do you want to go plant-based?
Like with every other big decision you make in your life, you should know why you are making it. As I already mentioned, there are many reasons to go plant-based. Your reason might be your health, your care for the environment or your compassion for the animals – whichever it is, make sure you know it. Your true reason is your deepest motivation. That is why people doing this just because it is trendy or just out of curiosity – usually fail. If you want to just give it a try, make a commitment for at least one month. If you have serious health issues, one month might not be enough – in that case, it is best that you consult with a plant-based doctor or dietitian.
Tip #1: Make a decision. Your true reason is your deepest motivation.
2. Stick to your decision.
If you have a reason to do this, make sure you remember it and respect it and by that – respect yourself. Along the way, you will find new reasons and your motivation will only grow stronger. But in the beginning, try to remember your goals are bigger than your appetite. There will be all kinds of temptations lurking on you and you will have to stay strong. You are not the one who is being weak, but the food industry is really strong. Processed foods are designed so they target your most primal instincts for calorie-dense foods. You have to remember that is fake food. Nature didn’t design us to eat that way. And all of a sudden there will be so many “food experts” questioning your ways. You don’t have to make excuses for anybody. In the beginning, you can just tell them this is something you wanted to try out.
Tip #2: Stick to your decision. Your goals are bigger than your appetite.
3. Get rid of the fake food.
The next thing you want to do is clean out your home of all the things you don’t want to eat anymore. You have to be fair to yourself. You can’t seriously expect to eat any different if there are old foods and habits there to haunt you. The world is full of them anyway, at least you can do yourself a favor of not having them at home. Take everything out of your pantry and empty out your fridge. This is a good opportunity to clean everything. Take each and every food item into your hands and evaluate it. Has it expired? Throw it away. Is it still good but does not support your new lifestyle? Give it to a friend. Is it still ok and it also supports your new lifestyle? Yay! You will realize that you already like some plant-based foods and they can be the ones you start out with.
Tip #3: Get rid of fake food. Clean up your home.
4. Make a plan.
Now when there is almost nothing in your fridge and your pantry is all clean, it is time to make a plan. Don’t just go dashing into a grocery store and buying anything that looks exciting. The last thing you want is to buy foods you don’t know and intimidate yourself even more. Stick to what you know and start out simple. The internet is your friend. Think of a dish that you like, put it into Google and add “plant-based recipe” to the search term. Look for really simple recipes with pasta, potatoes, and rice. It is almost impossible to go wrong with those. Make sure you check out my recipes and tips & tricks on plant-based cooking as well, learning how to prepare your own food is essential on a plant-based diet. Make a list of all the ingredients you need and off you go. And don’t forget about fresh fruit. If you need help with your plan, check out my What to eat on a plant-based diet article.
Tip #4: Make a plan. Start with simple recipes.
5. Educate yourself
There will always be people who will question or doubt your decision. Heck, even you might doubt your decision from time to time – and that is healthy! Questioning things is always better than just blindly following something. So read up! Look up everything you are curious about. The easiest way to do this is with NutritionFacts.org or NutritionStudies.org. The most important thing is that you get your information from reliable sources. The food industry is the biggest industry in the world and it is very likely that you will stumble upon some “sponsored” science. This is where confusion, the biggest weapon of the food industry, comes in. If you really want to understand nutrition and the science behind it in depth, you should consider investing in some sort of advanced nutrition education, like the Plant-based Nutrition Certification Program from T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies.
Tip #5: Do your homework - research and read up!
EXTRA: Take it one meal at a time and be grateful
Be happy for every plant-based meal you get and don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes. Always remember what is your motivation. Going plant-based is not about being perfect. It is about doing the best you can in a world that is made up of fake foods. Keep it simple and enjoy the foods that are as close as possible to how they have grown. Don’t try to imitate your old eating habits. Embrace all the new exciting foods and flavors. Get creative! Be grateful for the opportunity to eat healthy. Plant-based living is more than just a diet, it is a whole new life. A life that is full of energy, mindfulness, a clear conscience, health, and joy. Find friends who understand you in real life or online. You will feel like you have discovered something really important, something everyone should know about. You will need someone to talk to because the real world might not be able to accept you yet. Hang in there, the future is plant-based!
EXTRA Tip: Enjoy your new life and be grateful for it!
Enjoy these real-life tips on how to go plant-based. Feel free to save them, put them on your fridge or share them with your friends. I wish you all the best on your plant-based journey!
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