These are my top 10 tips for transitioning to a plant-based diet.
I know what you are going to say…” it’s simple…I just cut out meat and dairy and I have the will power to do that”. I have coached and supported many people adopting a plant-based diet and it’s not really all that simple. After they cut out the foods they have become accustomed to and the excitement of their commitment to make the change wears off, they start struggling with meal prep ideas, and then before you know it, they go back to old habits. New habits are hard to form, diet change is tough for most and will-power, well, we know that most people really have very little will-power when it comes to food! (especially where chocolate and cheese is involved!). So here they are, in no particular order, a few tips of how to get the job done! 🙂 . And I back you 100%. Go for it.
1) Don’t go cold turkey.
If you don’t have the support of a nutrition coach or dietician – take your time and see this as a journey. It takes time to learn new recipes, try new foods, and adapt to a different way of cooking meals. 99% vegan or almost vegan or weekday vegan are all fantastic steps to take…you may just find that you naturally transition and one day realise you no longer use animal products at all. Not everyone has a “veganniversary”!
2) Don’t be a carbo-vore.
Pasta, bread and potato chips are not the only vegan foods around. Make sure you are eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Variety is the key!! This will ensure you are getting all your macro and micro nutrients that your body needs to function and will help you to feel energetic and sustained.
3) Plan ahead.
The key to really enjoying a plant based lifestyle is to plan your meals ahead of time. Not only will you need to factor in extra time at the supermarket for reading all the labels, but you’ll want to ensure every meal is delicious so you’re not panic buying frozen chips in the petrol station. We know however, that real-life sometimes gets in the way, which is why convenient, tasty grab-and-go plant-based products are an important addition to your shopping list. They are essential for busy lifestyles.
4) Inspire Yourself Daily.
Buy yourself a few cookbooks with easy to make plant-based recipes – these will inspire you to get into the kitchen and to experiment with new foods and cooking methods.
Recipe books I recommend:
– Hungry – Anthea Amore
– Elsas Wholesome Life – Ellie Bullen
– The South African Vegan Cookbook – Leozette Roode
– But I Could Never Go Vegan – Kristy Turner
– The No Meat Athlete Cookbook – Matt Frazier
5) Stay in touch with your WHY?
It’s likely you’ve found going plant-based much easier than you expected, however there may come a time, whether it’s a week, a month, or a year into your new lifestyle where you could hit a wall. If this happens, just remind yourself why you made the decision in the first place and the benefits you’ve felt since making the choice. Watching informative videos about veganism, connecting with plant-based influencers or finding your nearest animal sanctuary, are all ways to remind yourself why you chose this path in the first place.
The why needs to be your driver for change. Why are you doing this? Put it up on your fridge.
Doccos I recommend you watch:
What the Health
Forks Over Knives
The Healing Effect
Meet your Meat
The Game Changers
6) No need to feel deprived.
Many meat-eaters have a preconception that vegans are restricted to a life of salad and uninspiring bowls of vegetables, when that’s simply not the case. Opting for a plant-based diet does not mean you need to sacrifice the things you loved before. From burgers and sausages, ice cream and pies – there are some brilliant alternatives on the market that will make you wonder why you ever ate meat in the first place Use these transition foods to help you with your transition – meat and dairy alternatives not only taste great, but you can still make all your old favourites and the change won’t seem so difficult. Furthermore, these foods are often fortified so by eating them most often means that you won’t be getting a shortage of some critical nutrients.
7) Let someone else cook for you from time to time!
Find some good vegan restaurants – and go to them when you are in need of a good feed!! Game changer!
8) Find your tribe.
I am not saying that now you are a vegan, you need to socialise only with vegans, but find people that are also considering changing or convince your friends to join you. Having a community by your side supporting you can be incredibly comforting. Just knowing that others are on this journey with you makes it that much easier.
There is a huge vegan and vegetarian community online offering support, tips and recipe ideas, so you’re never too far away from a like-minded individual sharing their plant based experience.
9) Be healthy.
Veganism doesn’t always equal healthy, so it’s important to make sure you’re eating a varied diet to incorporate all the vitamins and nutrients you need to thrive. There is plenty of advice online about which foods provide the best sources of energy.
Know that a change to plant based is better for your body, the environment and the animals. You are doing the right thing. Back yourself. And go for it!
10) Get creative.
Veg-based meals can be exciting, delicious and full of flavour, so take this opportunity to try new foods and experiment with ingredients. There are thousands of recipes online with inspiration and ideas to help you get cooking amazing new dishes and interesting variations of your old favourites.
If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments.