If you are hoping to get started eating a Plant-Based Diet you have come to the right place. I’ve been on this journey since 2011 and I’ve learned so much along the way. I believe switching to a plant-based diet can cure or reverse a host of illnesses as well as help you lose weight (if needed) and feel great.
My passion is to equip others to be healthy. Like any major life transition, reclaiming your health and changing your diet can leave you with a lot of questions. I do my best to answer those questions as well as provide easy recipes and simple tips to make the transition easier. If you are looking for a handy guide check out my book The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide: How to Cook, Shop, and Eat Well is available in print or download for Kindle.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is a diet with a focus on whole, real food. Think plants! Beans, Greens, Grains, Vegetables and Fruit are the main components of a whole food, plant-based diet. Some people choose to eat small amounts of nuts and seeds as well.
What to Eat/What not to Eat
Some people become 100% plant-based on day one, whereas others prefer incremental steps toward being 100% plant-based. If you are wondering where to start my advice is to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet while eliminating processed foods and all forms of dairy. Next remove meat or any other animal products you use. Then remove oil, it is not a health food!
How to Do It
There is a lot to learn about eating healthy if you’ve been eating the Standard American Diet. Before our transition we ate lots of meat and cheese pizza, pasta, greasy tacos, steaks, casseroles, you name and I’m sure we ate it. We went through a process of getting rid of unhealthy, disease causing foods and embraced plants. I go into detail in The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide but the information below will get you started.
Read the Label
The only way to really know what is in your food is to read the labels. It is even better to avoid products with labels and stick to unprocessed whole foods. Avoiding processed food may not always be realistic. Read the ingredient list, if you don’t understand what an ingredient it you may want to rethink putting it in your body.
Processed foods are full of mystery ingredients.When you’re first starting on a Plant-Based Diet some people find it helpful to transition by using meat or cheese substitutes. I don’t recommend them for optimal health but if they make it easier for you and your family to accept a plant-based diet then it can be a good thing. You should still read the label on these products. I picked up a package of “veggie burgers” only to read the label and see that Casein was one of the ingredients. I consider Casein to be poison and will not put it in my body. (See “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell).
Your first few shopping trips may be a bit rocky. I recommend you plan a little extra time, without tag-a-longs (kids not the cookies, although you probably shouldn’t bring those either). Hopefully you have picked out some recipes or created a Meal Plan to give you some direction. If you are completely clueless don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Check out these posts that detail Basic Pantry Staples as well as Basic Refrigerator/Freezer Staples that includes Fresh Produce.
I created a Basic Meal Plan that uses these ingredients. You don’t want to miss the Printer-Friendly List! This will help you get started, even if you are clueless on how to start!
I want to note that even if you are filling your house with healthy foods it is really hard to resist the unhealthy treats taking up space in your pantry. For a little inspiration, and probably raciest (not racist) story you’ll ever read on this blog check out the post on Tossing the Junk.
One of the single most helpful things on your healthy eating journey will be to create a Meal Plan. Don’t get intimidated just yet. Jotting a few meal ideas on a piece of paper is a huge win. Stop right now and write down some ideas; pasta, tacos, wraps, see how easy that was.
If you need more help I have a fabulous eCouse that will walk you though everything you need to know to transition to a plant-based diet. The Plant-Based Basics eCourse comes with self-paced lessons, daily emails and a private Facebook group for support.
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