1. FOCUS ON NUTRITION, NOT RESTRICTION
If you’re already wondering “what can I eat?” it is important to first look at all the delicious foods you can eat. There are hundreds of foods to choose from and millions of amazing plant-based recipes online. Focus on what the foods you eat provide nutritionally. For example, when start my day, I eat the foods that taste good to me but also provide healthy fats, carbohydrates, and protein for energy and vitamins and minerals for anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory benefits. Eat food to help your body run properly and efficiently.
2. PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION
No one is perfect and that is okay! Starting a plant-based diet or any new lifestyle change is a journey and it’s very important to focus on all the little moments of progress versus focusing only on the end result. You will mess up, but that’s a natural part of change. Accepting this reality before you begin something new is a healthy mindset to have to set you up for success. I follow a 90/10 rule – eat plant-based 90 percent of the time and the other 10 percent I eat out at restaurants or eat processed foods – with an occasional dairy ingredient. If I’m invited to a party, for example, and there isn’t anything plant-based for me to eat (which there typically is), I just do my best to eat the healthiest options there. It’s not the end of the world and won’t affect your health.
3. EAT UNTIL YOU ARE SATISFIED
A plant-based diet is naturally lower in calories, so make sure you eat enough to supply your body with the energy it needs. Eat foods that make you fuller for longer, such as nuts, seeds, and beans. The beauty of a plant-based diet is that you can eat large quantities of these foods – which I love because I really enjoy eating! Portion control isn’t really a concern when eating plant-based.
4. EASY MEALS ON REPEAT
Collect about 4 or 5 plant-based dinner recipes that you like and keep them handy for nights when you don’t know what to cook. It can feel overwhelming to try new recipes and make meals from scratch. I have found that cooking the same recipes for all mealtimes has made preparing food easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. It takes the stress out of feeling like I have to cook something new every night. The other perk is that you get really good at making these handful of meals.
For recipe inspiration, subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive plant-based recipes and healthy living tips. You can also search my blog for recipe ideas, such as my homemade granola or my black-bean, butternut squash burritos.
5. JOIN A COMMUNITY
Starting a new journey can make you feel alone, especially if you are the only one in your family and friends who is making this change. I can relate to this feeling. I found that the best thing you can do is to find support and like-mindedness from other new or experienced plant-based eaters. I follow a lot of great people on social media who provide incredible recipes and tips for plant-based eating/living, such as @plantproof, @forksoverknives and @sarahlemkus on Instragram, to name a few. Search for YouTube channels, such as Sarah Lemkus or Ellen Fisher. You can also join my Healthy Living for Women Facebook group where I share practical plant-based healthy living tips and recipes.
6. START SLOW
Easing slowly into a plant-based diet change is smart. You don’t have to stop eating animal products and processed foods immediately. The best way to spark change that you can stick to is to add more plant-based foods, such as whole grains, starchy vegetables, and legumes to your everyday routine because they will keep you full and satisfied. You’ll naturally eat more plant-based foods and less processed foods and animal products that make you sick and unhealthy. Focus on easy changes you can make such as switching from animal milk to plant-based milk (almond, cashew, oat, etc). I highly recommend making your own almond milk at home because it’s cleaner and SO much tastier than store-bought, in my opinion. It’s also really simple to make and saves major dollars.
These tips made a huge impact on my life and I hope they are helpful to you! Enjoy the journey and of course, please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Ready to make changes to your health today? Contact me to learn more about my 8-week Be Well For Life online program. I personally walk you through the foundational steps towards a healthy, happy lifestyle.