The idea of moving toward a more plant based diet can be intimidating. We all know that adding more plants to your diet is a good thing, but actually making it happen seems so daunting. Especially with all of the stigma out there.
Isn’t it hard to go vegan?
Do I have to eat nothing but salad?
But I don’t like vegetables…
I get it. I understand the questions and the hesitation. I’ve been there. So I’m going to share my favorite tips that will help you along the way.
- Focus on adding, not taking away
If moving away from animal products scares you, then start adding. Instead of obsessing over what you’re going to miss, start making an effort to add more plants to your diet. Add salads to your meals. Keep raw veggies on hand for snacks. Bolster stir fry with extra mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots. Keep apples and bananas within reach for your kids to grab when they’re hungry. Add clover sprouts to your sandwiches. Focus less on taking away and you won’t feel deprived. The more fruits and veggies you add, the less room you’ll have for other things.
- Start with easy swaps
If you’re super intimidated, switching your entire diet overnight won’t bode well. It probably won’t go over well with your family, either. So swap simple things that easily blend in with what you already know. For example, substitute half of your ground meat for diced mushrooms. Or in fact, substitute the mushrooms for all of it. They cook well and you’d never know it’s not meat. For a downloadable list of my all time favorite vegan swaps, click here!
- Get inspired
When you’re not culinarily inclined, or you’re new to plant based eating, it can feel like you’re doomed for a life full of rabbit food and boring salads. But that’s just not the case! Get on Pinterest or Instagram. Follow some accounts for food inspiration. I absolutely LOVE to cook and consider myself to be experienced, but I still get stuck in a rut sometimes. My favorite hashtags to follow are #whatveganseat and #veganeats on instagram. I’ve found so many new recipes to try and accounts to follow.
- Give yourself grace
This journey isn’t an easy one. When you’re trying to break years of generational eating habits, you’re going to be met with adversity. If you fall off the wagon, that’s ok. Just get back up and keep moving. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of guilting yourself over and over. That does nothing but push you farther away from your goal. Give yourself standards to stick to but don’t allow yourself to be beaten down. If you’re at a party and have a piece of cake, have big, green salad when you get home. It’s a journey and a process.
- Find support
Especially if you live with other people, the transition isn’t going to be easy. Having a support group or even a support person to turn to when you feel stuck will help you tremendously. Start by searching Facebook groups. Or maybe you know someone that already follows the plant based lifestyle, or someone that wants to. Start an account on Instagram dedicated to your journey. Whichever works best for you, do it. Check in consistently. You will find that having someone to keep you accountable and hold you up when you’re feeling down will change your life.
Bonus tip! Find your why.
If you’ve been following me for any time you’ll know how important this concept is to me. Before making a big change in your life, you need to know your why. Not a “oh because it’s healthier,” but a real, solid why. Get informed. Are you doing it for the animals? Start doing research and really see what the truth is behind animal agriculture. Doing it for your health? Watch documentaries like Game Changers and Forks over Knives on Netflix. Read books like The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thrive by Brendan Brazier. When you start to get informed, your why will become more clear. The clearer your why becomes, the stronger you will be when faced with temptation.
It took me far longer than I liked to completely transition to a plant based diet. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I’ve never felt better physically or mentally. My performance in the gym increased and my recovery time lessened. I get so excited about it that I can’t help but want to share it with the world.
Which of these tips resonated the most with you? Which will you implement today? Comment below – let’s support each other!