Great Ways to Start a Plant-Based Diet

plant-based diet

A plant-based lifestyle has potential to provide many health benefits including increased energy, improved cardiovascular health and weight loss.  If you’ve lived your entire life on a meat heavy diet, it might seem difficult to go plant-based.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, though.  Here are some tips you might use to start:

Decide how you’re going to do it.

Maybe you’re going to eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from your diet abruptly, or turn to a raw food diet.  You can also start out with Meatless Mondays or become “flexitarian” for a while.

Be careful not to eat too many refined carbs.

There are many vegan and vegetarian foods that are not so healthy such as chips, candy and cupcakes. Eating these foods, especially in excess, will make you feel worse.  That’s not what you’re aiming for on a healthy, plant-based diet.  Make sure you have a decent variety of healthy snacks available for when you have cravings and be prepared with recipes and menus to start out, as you won’t be as knowledgeable about what to make quickly in the beginning.

Veganize your favorite meals.

Many traditional meat and dairy foods can be replaced.  Mock meats are okay once in a while but try to stay away from using them often, especially the ones that are highly processed.  There are plant-based foods such as chickpeas, lentils, and seitan that are excellent stand-ins for meat.  Experiment with seasonings for an extra kick.

Use cookbooks.

Most bookstores have vegetarian sections–check them out and look through a few cookbooks to find some foods you might fancy.  Many libraries carry great vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, too.

Eat out.

Going out to eat and ordering plant-based meals can be good education.  You get to see how professionals create delicious meals.  It will give you ideas of flavors and foods you might want to try at home.

Learn what fruits and vegetables can do.

You can sneak produce into foods you never thought were possible.  They add nutrition and texture to everyday foods.  For example, avocado can be used to make certain puddings and zucchini can be made into “alfredo” noodles.

Become informed about nutrients.

When you’re on a plant-based diet which includes fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes and whole grains, you’re most likely going to get the nutrition you need.  You still should be aware of what you need to be more vigilant about such as iron, B12 and calcium.

Have your speech ready.
Veganism is more popular now, but there are still many people who will question your new lifestyle, especially if you identify as an ethical vegan.  Learn about health benefits if you’re going about a plant-based diet for health reasons and more about factory farming and/or the environment for those purposes.

Don’t deprive yourself of amazing vegan snacks.

There are so many terrific recipes for vegan cakes, pies, cookies, etc.  You can trick your most carnivorous friends…or convince them you’re on to something good.  And you are!

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