How to Start a Plant-Based Diet
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet can be defined as a diet that consists of foods that come from plants and free of animal ingredients such as meat, milk and eggs. Additionally, a plant-based diet tends to include foods that are natural and not heavily processed.
A plant-based diet has various benefits that help you live longer and better. They include:
- Improved health
- Higher energy levels
- Weight loss
- Prevention of chronic diseases
- Bigger fitness payoffs
- Reduced inflammation
In addition to all of these health benefits, you can also gain the benefit of becoming a more innovative cook! This diet is not hard work or boring, and the benefits are worth it.
Foods in a Plant-Based Diet
The food categories that you will enjoy on this diet are:
- Fruits – apples, bananas, grapes, oranges
- Vegetables – peppers, corn, lettuce, cauliflower
- Tubers – potatoes, carrots, beets
- Whole grains – quinoa, brown rice, millet
- Legumes – beans, lentils
Let’s Get Started
There’s no need to change your diet to be 100% plant-based on your first day. There are ways to add to your current diet and eventually switch particular foods out. Then gradually sifting your diet to a more plant-based instead of making a big change all at once!
- Stock up your kitchen with the food groups listed above. Always having them on hand will encourage you to choose to eat those instead of any animal or processed foods.
- Go through your kitchen and throw away or give away foods that aren’t in this diet. This doesn’t start from day one this is a process so you can begin to understand how to read labels and realize what you can and can’t eat on this diet.
- Prepare for when you’re on the go. Plant-based diets are less calorically dense than what you might be used to, so adjust your eating accordingly. By packing plant-based snacks and meals to eat throughout your work or school day, you eliminate the need to find vending machines or purchase junk food to tide you over.
- Make food swaps. For example, instead of a hamburger, switch it out for a black bean burger. You can even swap out butter for avocado! Making small switches like this will make it easier to recognize how often you’re eating animal or processed foods. You can even start slower than this, like with Meatless Mondays. If you can start cutting out animal products on one day of the week, it will make the transition to Meatless Weeks even easier.
- Experiment with your new diet! Plant-based diets are anything but boring, the meal service Purple Carrot has a variety of easy and delicious recipes.
Taking these small steps will help you become plant-based. It won’t happen overnight, but if you remember these tips, it will become easier. A plant-based diet does require a commitment, but you will feel stronger and better as you continue on this journey to become completely plant-based.