It’s no secret, eating more plant-based foods is beneficial to your health, reduces environmental damage and prevents animal cruelty. However, even with good intensions, taking on a new way of eating can be daunting.
Hopefully with these six tips, adopting a plant-based diet will be an easy, enjoyable and long-lasting experience.
1. Stock your kitchen with healthy, plant-based foods
Sounds simple, because it is. By stocking your kitchen with healthy plant-based foods, you’re giving yourself the best chance to make healthy choices. Fill your fridge and pantry with plenty of foods you enjoy so it’s on hand for when hunger strikes. Keep in mind, just because the packet says its vegan or plant-based, doesn’t mean it’s automatically a healthy option. You can find a useful interactive guide to reading food labels here. Better yet, opt for fresh, whole foods and less processed/packaged foods altogether.
2. Take it slow
Taking on too much at once will leave you feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. Focus on one or two changes at a time. Master them. Make them a part of your life and feel proud of your progress. Then, make another change. This is more sustainable, and this is how you achieve life-long changes. Perhaps you pick one meal a week to try a new plant-based recipe. Or one day a week to eat completely plant-based.
3. Enjoy plant-based versions of your favourite foods
There is a plant-based version of almost every meal you can think of. Removing animal products from your diet doesn’t mean you have to go without. Plant-based foods can be just as delicious. Try your hand making it yourself at home, or search for a plant-based café or restaurant in your area. Life is far too short to feel deprived or restricted. Focus on making educated decisions and finding healthier alternatives that you enjoy equally, if not more! Warning: along the way you are bound to make a meal that can only be described as an epic fail. This is totally ok and all part of the journey. We learn best from the mistakes we make.
4. Crowd in with the good stuff
The more plant foods you crowd your diet with, the less room there is for junk on your plate and in your stomach. Rather than focussing on the foods you are no longer eating, concentrate on all of the beautiful plant foods you can enjoy.
5. Let go of perfectionism
When making changes to your diet and lifestyle, it’s important to go about it with the right mindset. No one gets it right all of the time. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can take the pressure off yourself. Aim to make better decisions more often, and don’t be so hard on yourself. If you feel as though you could go plant-based except you can’t go without your fish or eggs, then do that. Feel like you could do it except for your mums’ famous chocolate cake, then do that. Don’t let it be an excuse to not try a plant-based diet at all.
6. Seek professional advice
When making changes to your diet, it’s always a good idea to have a health practitioner supporting you. Seek the advice of a qualified Nutritionist or Naturopath. This is especially important if you have particular health conditions, are on medications or purely want to ensure you go about it in a safe and effective way. If you are transitioning to a predominantly plant-based diet your health practitioner will most likely discuss a referral to a doctor for relevant blood tests and assess your need for nutritional supplements. For example, if you are planning to remove all animal products from your diet then you will need to include a good quality vitamin B12 supplement.0