How to Eat a Plant-Based Diet in 7 Easy Steps
- Do some research first. If you are considering veganism, but need a bit more convincing, or even simply curious about what it is, try breifly researching veganism. A good suggestion is start out by learning about the cruelty associated with the meat industry, which is the reason many go vegan in the first place. Meat.org contains a video full of information of how farm animals are treated. If you are still not convinced, try researching the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Nursingdegree.net has a list of 57 Health Benefits that are worth taking a look at. From personal experience, my weight has gone down and my skin has cleared up, but this diet works different for everyone, so try it out for yourself for a few weeks and see how you feel!
- Slowly cut out different foods. An affective method is to slowly cut out different foods rather than avoiding all foods at once, which is more difficult. I hadn’t eaten pork for a few years anyways, just because I felt bad calling a pig my favorite animal while eating bacon; I eventually cut out beef and six months later cut out all other animal products. This might be too slow for many considering veganism, so feel free to work at your own speed. It will be more difficult for you to go back to eating animal products because you are more accustomed to leaving them off your plate. Plus, your appetites are likely to change and you may even be grossed out by certain foods you once ate on a daily basis.
- Research new recipes. There are several cookbooks out there made specifically for vegans, as well as blog posts and pinterest boards. There are even youtube videos about vegan recipes! This will get you more excited about trying new vegan dishes, and also prove that you don’t just have to eat grass. Many don’t love cooking very much, including me because laziness exists in many of us. An easy recipe I use almost everyday for breakfast is filling a blender with a banana, a handful of frozen strawberries, a little bit of almond milk, and a small spoon of maple syrup. It takes less than 3 minutes, and the blender does all the work for you.
- Make sure you are getting nutrients. A common concern is that vegans “aren’t getting enough protein” or “iron”, although nuts, legumes, and a variety of vegetables can easily provide you with it. Calcium can be found in products other than milk, such as soy or almond milk, kale, orange juice or tofu. Some may be very wary of a plant-based diet because of the wide misconception that an individual is only able to obtain required nutrients from animal products. A bigger concern than protein and calcium is B-12. This can be found in many non-dairy milks, or you can take a supplement.
- Don’t beat yourself up for slipping up. There’s a chance you might crave and eat chicken or accidentally eat something you don’t know has milk in it. I’ve personally done this many times, and instantly felt horrible. But that feeling is unnecessary. It’s not such a bad thing, because you are making a conscious effort to cut these foods out. It could be easy to give up on the diet entirely because you believe it’s not for you or that you won’t be able to stop the cravings, but make sure you remember the reason you changed your diet in the first place and don’t let a mistake trip you up or make you feel like a failure.
- Look at restaurant menus online. If you are planning to eat out, take a quick look at the menu beforehand to see your plant-based options. Many can be found on their respective websites. Even if there are no vegan options in particular, many places should have vegetarian dishes, which you can modify to fit your diet. There is the occasional place that will only have a salad for you, and if you aren’t okay with that, consider eating a filling snack beforehand in order to keep you full. Maybe even suggest to customer service to carry more plant-based dishes. There are some excellent blogs that list vegan dishes at a variety of popular restaurants, such as veganfoodlover.com. Some amazing popular places for vegans are Panera, Chipotle, Taco Bell (surprisingly), and Jason’s Deli.
- Make your favorite foods vegan. You don’t just have to eat fruits and vegetables all the time, unless you chose a raw food diet. I like to buy a Betty Crocker cookie mixture (make sure to check the ingredients first) and subbing margarine for butter and applesauce for eggs, and they taste the exact same as non-vegan cookies. My non-vegan friends told me they can’t tell a difference. and The brand Daiya makes a dairy-free pizza that tastes almost the same as a real one. Sometimes you could be craving something non-vegan, but there is likely to be an alternative for you. Soon enough, you won’t be craving anything besides plants!