When it comes to making food choices, everyone has their own goals and their own rate of change. Some people cut out animal products entirely, while others start by including more plant foods, and going from there. The bottom line is that every time you choose “more plants” you are making a positive choice. And contrary to what most diet plans will tell you, every positive step counts. Here are a few of our tips for getting started:
For some people, this could mean choosing one meal a day to eat plant-based (like breakfast.) For others, this could mean dedicating one or two days per week to eating fully plant-based. In both cases, deciding ahead of time and planning accordingly is usually key.
You might be surprised to discover just how many of the foods you already enjoy are plant-based, including stir-fries, soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and grain-based breakfasts like granola and oatmeal, not to mention the huge variety of naturally plant-based meals from international cuisines including Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and African.
If you like cereal for breakfast, experiment with a plant-based milk. If you typically grab a fast-food burger once a week, opt for a plant-based one. Same goes with protein powders. If you like chilli for lunch, use your usual recipe but just stick with beans or swap in a ground beef substitute. If you like enchiladas, curries, stews, sliders, pasta bolognese, etc., our Recipes offer plant-based versions that have the same look, comfort and taste. Focus on options that feel familiar, before jumping into unfamiliar ingredients and dishes.
In addition to having a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, and spices on hand, also make sure you stock your fridge, freezer and cupboards with plant-based milks, burgers, burritos, pizza, nut butters, dark chocolate, and so on. The foods you get started on should taste good and fill you up, even if they aren’t perfectly healthy. It’s much more important to enjoy your new way of eating than drudge through bland meals and snacks that leave you unsatisfied.
Deprivation diets never last long, but eating patterns that taste good, feel good, and yield tangible results (improved energy, fitness, appearance, health, etc.) create a positive feedback loop that gets stronger and stronger over time. You will likely also be surprised by just how varied plant-based eating actually can be, with literally thousands of new flavors, textures and combinations to try.
It can take weeks, months or even years for many people to dial in to a new way of eating, and judging yourself for ‘giving in’ to cravings or convenience is neither fair nor effective. A much better strategy is to focus on the positive steps you’ve made, how they made you feel, and build on them one step at a time.
Need a bit more advice? Check out our Getting Started program here.