How to Start Your First Plant-Based Diet
Any time you switch to a new way of eating, it can be a big process. However, when you make a big switch like going completely plant-based and vegan, it often feels very intimidating. We have simplified the process by showing you some of the first things to do when transitioning to more of a plant-based way of eating.
Know WHY You Are Going Vegan
You should always start a plant-based or vegan diet by understanding your own motives. There is no wrong way to choose this way of eating but think about the main benefits and your own personal motivation. Even though you know it is great for the environment, this might not be your personal reason, and that’s okay. But to stay motivated, you have to find YOUR reason for going plant-based, whether it is for physical health, better skin, longevity, or moral reasons.
Vegetables Should Be the Star
Before you transition fully to a plant-based diet, start adding more plant-based foods. Do this slowly instead of going straight to a vegan diet. Don’t take anything away just yet, but just add more vegetables to each meal. If you’re making mac and cheese for lunch, make it with loads of broccoli. If you love spaghetti, put more veggies in your sauce. Love eggs? Make a scramble with onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Make vegetables the star of every meal, gradually having more vegetables and fewer meat products every day.
Transition Slowly with Plant-Based Foods You Enjoy Now
When you begin transitioning to a plant-based diet, first make a list of vegan foods you eat now that you enjoy a lot. These will be the first foods you come to rely on, though you will also add more nuts and seeds, grains, legumes, beans, and vegetables, to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition. Maybe you love spaghetti squash soup or your favorite salad dressing is oil and vinegar. This is great news because these are plant-based foods! Start here before venturing out and trying new things.
Learn About Nutrients You Need
Finally, make sure you are aware of the nutrients you need to focus on with your vegan meals. When you eat an animal-based diet, you get a lot of your iron, calcium, and protein from meat and dairy, but this is different when you are consuming all plant-based foods. You can still get the nutrients you need, but you need to be even more careful with having a balanced diet. This includes understanding what foods contain all the vitamins and minerals you need, like adding a combination of vegetables and fruits with whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, and other ingredients.