What is a plant-based diet? It sounds easy…. but is it?
Starting a new way of eating can be really confusing and exhausting.
And now there’s so much information out there. It can feel overwhelming! But, I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think. Here’s why.
When I switched to a mostly plant-based diet, I researched and researched and researched.
I wanted to know what to eat and why I should eat it. I scoured the internet, enrolled in a plant-based nutrition class and a plant-based cooking class! I hope I can help you weed through all of the information out there. Let’s lead you in the right direction!
This post is all about how to start a plant-based diet. What to think about and how to go about it.
The evidence is mounting that a plant-based or vegan diet is the best decision for your future health! According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in vegetables is hugely beneficial to your health!
As a result, you could also sleep better, feel more rested, crave fewer sweets, and the best part: know that you’re working towards a longer and healthier life.
Taking care of yourself just plain feels good. For me, a plant-based diet helped me with all of those things and more.
You’re busy though and I get it! I may not have kiddos, but I do have work, a husband, laundry, family obligations, in-laws, and goals that I work towards every day.
So, any change can be a huge disruption.
When I decided to start a plant-based diet, I had no idea what I could and should eat.
I imagined my meals were going to be raw veggies from here on out.
In restaurants, I’d be ordering a bowl of rice for dinner and that’s it. So, I immediately signed up for a plant-based cooking class!
Because, here’s the thing: I really wanted the results I had heard so much about.
And, I LOVE food! So, I wanted to know how to prepare delicious plant-based and healthy vegan foods in interesting ways. I wanted to succeed, and this really was the best way I knew how. I enjoyed the class and learned so much.
So, if you’ve been curious about a plant-based diet, how to begin, and what to eat – you’re in the right place.
A plant-based diet consists of fruits, vegetables, tubers, (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes) whole grains, and legumes. Basically, unrefined or minimally refined foods.
This vegan way of eating excludes meat, dairy products, fish, and eggs.
This may sound like a pretty limited selection of food but I’m here to tell you that it is not limited!
Once you have some easy quick recipe options your taste buds will be VERY HAPPY and you’ll be off to a good start.
The journey is about changing your habits. You’ll change your mindset. And then eventually your taste buds will make a shift.
Before getting into the specific plant-based and vegan food and meals, here are the first three things to think about when considering a plant-based diet.
1. IT TAKES A REAL COMMITMENT
Even if you’re starting with one day a week without meat, a commitment is involved. When I made the decision, I committed to learning new ways to cook and prepare food. Otherwise, I don’t think I would’ve been able to stick with it! So, commit to learning a little bit, and trying out some new things. They aren’t difficult, they’re just new.
Do you love food?
Do you love eating in different places when you travel? So do I!
I know I’m not alone when it comes to this! My commitment began with my health.
With a history of heart disease and stroke in my family, it’s very important to make sure I live a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve also committed to having patience along the way, while I learn.
The best part is knowing I’m doing my best to avoid or postpone the onset of the leading killers in our society. (heart disease, certain cancers, respiratory diseases, stroke, and diabetes)
This post is all about beginning a plant-based diet.
2. EMBRACE COOKING YOUR OWN FOOD
A big part of eating healthier is preparing your meals yourself.
The foods on a plant-based diet are simple ones but they still take preparation.
It’s going to take time to cut up the veggies for a plant-based dinner or lunch. There are some great ways around it, like buying frozen or pre-cut veggies from the grocery store or using a food processor for chopping.
3. YOU CAN START AT YOUR OWN PACE
There aren’t any hard and fast rules. You determine what your goals are and how best to fit them into your life.
Start by adding a large salad to your diet every day, or, start by cutting out meat and dairy two days a week. Start with attainable goals that you feel will fit well for YOU!
It certainly doesn’t need to be all-or-nothing. Do what works best for you and your family.
At the beginning of my own personal plant-based diet journey, I decided to go mostly all-in right away, with the exception of eggs. I loved eggs and thought I would wait a few weeks to see how things went without meat or milk before giving them up entirely.
I made a new rule for myself that I’d only eat eggs on the weekends.
After a few weeks, at one of my favorite breakfast spots, I realized I hadn’t been craving them as I did in the past!
I ate them one last time during that breakfast and that was that. Four years later, I still crave them occasionally. Instead, I make a delicious tofu scramble, or a tofu egg salad sandwich and am satisfied. You’ll find a lot of this journey is about self-awareness and managing your cravings.
It gets easier.
One step at a time and you’ll get there. Pretty soon, you’ll realize that you aren’t craving some of the things you did before. And, you have more energy throughout the day!
If you have an Instant Pot, these are my favorites! Especially during the cold months, I make these constantly…. so easy!
And, if you’re new to tofu, give these tofu recipes a try!