Thinking of switching to a plant-based diet?
You might be thinking of having a healthy lifestyle and looking for ways to achieve it. One thing you can consider is transitioning to a whole food plant-based diet. Many have been trying to switch their diet because of the proven health and environmental benefits they gain from it. But changing your diet could be tough especially when you want to try something new. Nevertheless, this kind of diet is a good idea for your overall wellness as an individual. It is known to have rich micronutrients including vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, protein, and even unprocessed carbohydrates.
Here is some information you need to know about how to transition to a plant-based diet.
What is a plant-based diet?
According to Julienna Hever, a California-based nutritionist and founder of Plant-Based Dietitian, A plant-based diet centers on whole plant foods, namely vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. This diet is known to be flexible because even if people strictly follow eating mostly plants, animal products are not off-limits. Some people often consider this as a lifestyle and not just a diet to keep themselves healthy.
The following are the basic principles of whole foods, a plant-based diet:
- Focus on whole and not processed foods,
- Setting Limits on eating animal products,
- Focus on eating mostly plants such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, herbs, and other healthy plant products,
- Avoiding refined foods such as white flour, processed oil, and food with added sugars,
- And check the quality of food that has proponents of the WFPB promoted locally sourced food.
What is the difference between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet?
A WFPB diet is not the same as a vegan diet. A vegan diet is having plant-based foods but not all vegan foods are healthy such as French fries, pizza, cookies, plant-based ice cream, and even candies. Also, Vegan diets eliminate products like dairy, meat, poultry, eggs, and other animal products due to ethical and environmental reasons while a plant-based diet does not. A plant-based diet usually focuses on eating mostly vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains but you can still decide if you want to consider consuming animal products.
Why is a Plant-Based Diet good for you?
Trying to switch to a plant-based diet helps in reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases, sustaining weight management, and helps in preventing and treating hypertension, cholesterol, and cancer. This diet will support your immune system because plants have essential nutrients that are not present in other foods. Plants have antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are needed to keep your body healthy. This also suggests that this can help you in increasing your lifespan by having a healthy lifestyle.
How to transition
Before you try to switch to your diet you need to consider several things, so you won’t mess up with the diet. This diet requires you to be disciplined in terms of choosing the kind of food you eat. A sudden change can be a bit difficult because it might challenge you emotionally and socially but over time you will eventually realize the benefits you get from it. Here are some ways on how to transition to a plant-based diet:
Plan your diet and start as quickly or slowly as you tolerate
A change in diet from one day to another is not as easy as you may think. So, the best way to switch to a new diet is to start gradually with proper planning so you can slowly achieve the goals you want for yourself and your body. You can start by eliminating animal-based foods and looking for a healthier substitute. You may also start increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables that you like for your daily meals. Try eating fruits and vegetables you haven’t tried before so you could have an idea which would suit your taste better. In that case, you could enjoy your diet. You may write down the food you need to eat for a week and strictly follow it. Knowing what to eat and understanding what you can tolerate will help you to adapt to a plant-based diet.
Stock only healthy foods
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, a study published, says that stocking up on a variety of vegetables and fruits tends to help someone from saving almost $750 a year as long as you don’t spend much on highly processed vegan substitutes. As you stock only healthy products at home, it will prevent you from consuming animal-based products that are unhealthy. Take time to explore healthy plant products that are not costly, and which fit your budget from your local market. Stock them up in your kitchen or your fridge so they would stay fresh as it was when first bought.
Keep your meals interesting
You must consider exploring and trying different foods, especially salads. There are many recipes on the internet like the ten healthy 5-minute recipes that you might love to try. This will help you feel motivated to try a new diet that may satisfy your cravings without the need of sacrificing your healthy body and lifestyle.
Educate yourself about the diet
It is a good idea to continue your research on a certain diet so you could push yourself in continuing it upon reading the benefits of it and how it can help you physically and mentally. It is recommended for you to listen to podcasts or read articles related to it to help you with your journey. Also, reading testimonies from other people who tried the same can inspire you.
Lastly, always remember that transitioning to a plant-based diet takes time. Be gentle with yourself as you switch to a new diet. Try writing down your goals and make little steps to achieve them.