I help people transition to a more plant-based diet by revamping their kitchen pantry, fridge, with shopping trips and cooking classes that empower them to cook healthful meals at home. If you aren’t able to meet with me face to face, here are some great tips on how to make the transition to a plant-based diet as smoothly as possible.
1. Get Educated
Going plant-based requires a new way of thinking about food. There are tons of resources now both in book form and online. Check out my resources tab and check out this list of my favorite websites and books. Your family and friends may be shocked or not supportive about your decision to cut out animal foods, so you will need to be educated on why this is a wonderful way to live. Just understand that not everyone can see through the misinformation we’ve been given our entire lives. I made the decision many years ago to not join in at family functions that centered around food (i.e. Thanksgiving). Instead I visit them back in Texas at different times of the year. You may decide to participate. Just be prepared to take a few delicious dishes for everyone to try and do not give in to the junk that may be served.
2. Learn to Cook
Since you will be exploring a new way of eating, you may need to brush up your skills on cooking delicious vegetarian food. If you have cooking classes near you I encourage you to take them. Also, grab some great cookbooks and make a commitment to try at least 2 new recipes each week. Explore your farmer’s market and try new vegetables. After going plant-based my taste palette and food choices opened wide. Now I eat things I had always seen at the grocery store, but didn’t know what to do with like bok choy, burdock, daikon, sea vegetables, napa cabbage, etc.
3. Have the Proper Tools
Cooking for yourself can be a drag and take a lot of time if you don’t have the proper tools in your kitchen. Your most important tool and investment is a good knife! Even if it seems expensive, a good knife will last you a lifetime and will save you SO much time in the kitchen. My favorite is the Japanese vegetable style by NHS and MAC. I also love Global. Those brands I have found to be the best for anyone of any skill level. Also, invest in a bamboo or wood cutting board. For more info about how to stock your kitchen watch this video.
4. Be Gentle With Yourself
If you can’t go whole hog overnight, then start by having 2 plant-based meals a day (or as much as you can), while doing #5 and #6. Once you start adding in the “good” stuff, then you can start removing the “bad” stuff from your diet. Once you have eliminated the nasty stuff you’ll be on your way to feeling good. But, remember that our bodies go through a detox period once we change to a (more) plant-based diet. So you might feel like crap before you start feeling good. Just stick with it and drink lots of water.
5. Good, Better, Best Policy
Throwing out everything in your fridge and pantry and starting fresh can be a daunting task. I would say if you had to choose one thing to give up start with #6 and dump dairy asap. Instead of getting rid of everything all at once, start adding in healthy foods like whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Then you can slowly start transitioning the nasty foods out (meat, poultry, fish, dairy, processed foods, sugar, etc). Use the “Good, Better, Best Policy” when choosing foods. If the better or best option is available to you then take it. If only the good option is available then enjoy it.
6. Cut Out Sugar (Alcohol too)
It’s time that vegans and anyone transitioning to a health lifestyle dump sugar and alcohol. Sugar demineralizes the body, sends your insulin skyrocketing then leaves you wrecked, lowers immunity, and over-consuming it in any form can contribute to all kinds of health problems. It’s addictive and in almost everything so you have to be careful. There are lots of great ways to make desserts without using refined sugar. All of my recipes are healthy, delicious, and do not contain refined sugar. Check out Christina Pirello’s cookbooks, too. On the right sidebar you can see my favorite books from Amazon.
7. Seek Out Vegetarian/Vegan Communities Near You
Since eating plant-based is not exactly mainstream yet, it’s important to find other people like you to share your experiences with, have a potluck with your local community, or find events like Meetup.com in your town. Start to frequent the veg restaurants near you and if there are none, then see if you local favorites will start to offer more vegan options. Don’t be afraid to get out there and connect with more vegetarian/vegan people 🙂
Check out these sites for more information:
Bryanna Clark Grogan – Why Be Vegan
Compassionate Cooks – resources tab has tons of info, check out podcast
Vegan.org – great links for everything vegan
Check out my Blogroll on the right sidebar for delicious recipes
and many more links found on my Resources page
Let me know how I can help you find your bliss. If you have questions please ask here or feel free to send me an email.