Anytime is the right time to reduce consumption of animal products, adopt a plant based lifestyle, or Go Vegan! Whether you’re still doing your research or have already decided to take the plunge these tips are an excellent place to start:
- Decide why it is important. Making any change is challenging. Having a reason that is important to you will encourage you to move forward. Whether you do it for the health benefits, the environment, the ability to save animal lives, or some combination, use your reason as motivation.
- Be prepared to eat bigger portions than you’re used to. It’s Okay. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are less calorically dense than meats, eggs, cheese and butter. (Just remember the same rule applies to processed foods in any healthy diet: less is best)
- Stock up on the good stuff! Whether this is an abrupt change or a slow transition, make sure your kitchen has plenty of plants and plant-based options to keep you satisfied.
- On the go eating…it’s only difficult if you don’t plan ahead. Always have plenty of good grab and go options (seeds, nuts, fresh and dried fruits), eat before you leave the house and know a few good spots to get plant-based options while you are out.
- Don’t restrict, just replace. It can take some time, and a bit of experimenting, but as this former cheese addict can promise, there ARE delicious plant-based alternatives for all of your favorite animal based foods.
- Be prepared for questions (and possibly concern). Your friends and family will undoubtedly be curious about your choice, some may even be opposed. It’s understandable since most of us our taught that animal products are part of a proper diet. Since these conversations can be difficult, first remember why you made this important decision and refer to additional reliable sources like, The American Dietetic Association or The World Economic Forum, to help them understand your choice.
- Get Support. If your starting this journey with your partner or family, that’s great! You have automatic support, if not there are Facebook groups, blog sites and other types of online and real-life communities you can join. There you can connect with others on a similar journey, ask questions, get nutrition information and more! Challenge 22 is a great place to start, click HERE to access.
- Get comfy in the Kitchen. Cooking at home (vs. eating out) is always a more healthy and cost effective option, it’s also the best way to get the most out of your plant based diet. Plus when you cook at home you get the freedom to experiment with different ingredients, techniques and plant based meat, cheese and milk alternatives.
- Be Patient. Go at your own pace. Some people make the transition over night. Others start with meatless Mondays, using almond milk in their coffee, or always eating plant based at home… then graduate to fully plant based over a longer period of time. Whatever route you choose, remember to be kind to yourself along the way and read the ingredients (they sneak milk powder into the most unexpected foods).
- Have Fun! Whether it’s recreating a childhood favorite, finding the best vegan restaurant in town, discovering delicious fruits and vegetables you’ve never heard of, or finally finding your favorite brand of plant-based sausage, there are so many ways to make your plant based journey fun and exciting.
So while making a change to your lifestyle can seem intimidating, having a reason that is meaningful will encourage your success! Find what works for you and remember that every “small” step you take will lead to big impact in the future. As the great Dr. Suess once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”