More and more people are turning to a plant-based lifestyle.
The benefits of a plant-based lifestyle are seemingly endless. In addition to the obvious ethical bonuses of not eating animals, eating a diet that consists mostly of plants has been shown to help improve overall health, prevent diseases, and increase well-being and happiness.
Unfortunately, most people are raised to be omnivores. The science of plant-based living is relatively new, and most traditional diets contain some form of animal products. Some diets even focus on them.
While it’s becoming more apparent that plant-based living is not only possible, but extremely healthy, that doesn’t mean that the switch is always easy. Here are a few tips on how to gradually move into plant-based living.
Ease Yourself Into It
A lot of people straight-up fail to transition into a plant-based lifestyle. This isn’t necessarily because it’s too hard – it’s because they’re not giving their body time to ease into it.
If you’ve been eating meat daily (or almost daily) for most of your life, then your body’s going to be a bit confused when it’s suddenly not getting its regular fix of meat. It’s kind of like a form of withdrawal, so to speak. You’ll be craving meat.
The best way to avoid these cravings is to gradually eliminate meat and dairy from your diet. If you eat meat 3 meals a day, dial it down to 2 meals for a couple of weeks. Next, bring it down to 1 meal a day for a few weeks. After that, you can alternate between ‘meat days’ and ‘non-meat’ days, until you’re comfortable going long stretches without eating meat.
The same goes for dairy. Many people find it extremely hard to give up both meat and dairy at once. Take it one step at a time!
Make Sure You’re Getting Your Nutrients
The reason so many people think a plant-based diet doesn’t work is because they don’t know how to do it.
If you’re going to be plant-based, you have to be dedicated. That means figuring out how to develop meal plans that allow you to get your daily doses of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
You can’t just switch to eating green salads for 3 meals a day and expect to feel good, because you won’t.
You’ll need to start eating a varied diet. Whole grains, like beans and legumes, as well as soy foods like tempeh and tofu, can help you get your daily requirements for protein. Healthy fats can come from things like olive oil and avocados.
As a plant-based person, there are a couple nutrients you’re going to want to supplement with: vitamin B12 and an omega-3 DHA supplement. These two nutrients are notoriously difficult (though not impossible) to get from plants, and it’s easier for most people to just take vitamin supplements.
That’s really all you need to know: make sure that you’re taking it easy and giving your body time to adapt, and make sure that you’re getting it the nutrients that it needs. As long as you’re doing these two things, you’ll be able to enjoy plant-based living in no time.
Written by Nigel Ford