A plant-based diet comes with so many health and environmental benefits that more and more people are considering it. In fact, more than a third of the population in the United States is actively trying to eat a completely plant-based diet.
What Does A Plant-based Diet Consist of?
To begin with, plant-based diets involve eating whole plant foods, namely vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and mushrooms, in addition to nuts, seeds, herbs, and of course, spices.
Speaking of this, many people consider plant-based and vegan diets to be the same. However, this isn’t the case.
To put things in perspective, the term vegan represents food items that do not contain animal products. To consider a vegan diet as plant-based is wrong as it does not really categorically address what the diet consists of.
Also, it cannot be entirely considered as a healthy diet as French fries or plant-based milk ice creams falls under vegan.
To put it precisely, a vegan diet can be plant-based. However, a plant-based diet does not necessarily mean that it will always be vegan.
Why is A Plant-based Diet Good For You?
A plant-based diet is probably the only diet that can help reverse medical conditions, such as Type-2 diabetes and advanced-stage cardiovascular disease.
Apart from this, studies have also endorsed that a plant-based diet helps with sustainable weight management. Moreover, it reduces the risk of developing heart diseases and lowers the risks of mortality.
Other than this, switching to a plant-based diet is quite a smart move as it is of immense help when it comes to preventing and treating hypertension. Furthermore, it reduces high levels of cholesterol, thereby keeping heart diseases at bay. You can also avoid developing certain types of cancers by thoroughly practicing a plant-based diet.
As per a study, a properly planned plant-based diet is full of nutrition and viable nearly for all the stages throughout the life cycle.
This includes pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
However, it is not at all wise to just jump on the bandwagon. Make sure you have done your research and planning before starting. Above all, a major change such as this requires loads of willpower and determination.
In this article, we have decided to come up with simple strategies and tips to help you seamlessly transition to a plant-based diet. While our primary focus here is to give you a guideline, we hope that the article proves to be a source of both motivation and inspiration for you.
Let’s get started.
Take it slow
Make peace with the fact that you are embarking on a new journey, and it does not have to be perfect. Pick and choose a few plant-based dishes and keep them on rotation for a full week. We suggest you kickstart your plant-based diet with the food you have always savored, such as lentil stew, oatmeal, or pasta primavera.
When you feel you have started to get the hang of the things, gradually start building upon and expanding your meals.
Cut down meat and processed food items
Going cold turkey since day one is probably the worst idea. Instead of doing that, we suggest that you go through this stage on a step-by-step basis. You can do so by proportioning both plant-based and animal-based food on the plate.
This will keep both your mind and body at peace, knowing that you have enough time to adjust to the changes you are making. Let’s take it practically! A simple change, like adding a salad or fruit bowl to your regular meal, is a great place to start.
Go with this for about a week and then start replacing animal-based foods with plant-based food alternatives in your favorite recipes. Let’s suppose that you love tacos; you can still continue your love affair with them even with its plant-based version, such as Mexican spiced cauliflower tacos.
A Plant-based breakfast
Once you have tested the diet and have realized your potential, you can take a big leap and commit to having at least one plant-based meal a day.
We would suggest you start by taking a wholesome, plant-based breakfast every day.
Make sure you eat like a king during breakfast and keep it light at dinner.
Next up, while you are already following this, start planning to convert your lunch meal to a plant-based one as well.
Now you know the drill! Your next move should be to even convert your snack items and dinner meals to full-fledge plant-based ones.
Remember to take it slow and step by step!
Keep it fun and exciting
Switching to a specific diet does not necessarily mean that it has to get boring. It is absolutely okay to focus on dishes that are easily accessible and also your absolute favorites. If you are someone who is not very skilled when it comes to cooking, stick to easier, wholesome recipes. For example, feel free to take canned beans and frozen vegetables in a pan and flavor it with your favorite sauces; and, you are good to go!
Furthermore, it is okay to treat yourself occasionally. Never ever deprive yourself because, in the long run, it can bring down your motivational levels. If you have a sweet tooth, look out for plant-based dessert recipes and help yourself.
In addition to this, invest some time and energy and set out to explore new recipes, food blogs, and restaurants offering plant-based menus. Switching to a new diet does not mean you can’t eat out!
To sum up, keep in mind that a transition as major as this will take a bit of time to work for you. Additionally, a lot of it has got to do with trial and error. Experiment until you find what is working for you and what isn’t.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, but rather be gentle and give your body enough time and space to fully adjust.