Diet this, diet that, everyone is always talking about some new fad way to eat their food. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet you’re on, as long as you’re eating healthy the proper way. Starving yourself won’t do, neither is removing carbs from the menu either, but one diet fad that isn’t so much a fad but a lifestyle change with results is plant-based.
You’ve probably heard of the plant-based diet (unless you’ve been living under a rock), so you won’t need much of an introduction. Simply put, a plant-based diet is something akin to veganism. The most important reason to go plant-based for many is to be healthier, to eat with less moral/ethical dilemma, and to enjoy whole foods.
The plant-based diet isn’t so much a diet or fad as it is a simplification of eating habits, but nonetheless, it’s a good way to help switch up your food choices. If you’re interested in how to go plant-based, here are some tips.
A Cooking Course Can Help You Adjust to a New Diet
If you don’t know much about cooking with vegetables and non-meat foods, you will find yourself burning or over-crisping a lot of your dishes for a while when you get the hang of cooking a plant-based diet. Luckily, if you look at this All About Greens vegan course for cooking, you can get inspiration or take a course yourself to help learn more. It’s a little different from your usual cooking and it pays to know how things like tofu are much different for prep and cooking than a flank steak.
Your Body Will Take Time to Adjust
The physiological differences will be noticeable for a while as your body takes time to adjust to eating plant-based meals and ditching the meat. You might feel a little different in terms of flatulence and going number 2, but this is normal and doesn’t last too long. Your body will take time to get over the hump, but it often just means that the plant-based diet is starting to work and your stomach and intestines are learning to digest with different enzymes.
Look At the Ingredients on Packages More
When you’re starting out a new diet, you’re often hyperaware of what’s in your foods. What’s the fat content? How much protein is in each serving? What do the carbs look like? This is actually good because when it comes to plant-based, you’re going to want to be more focused on the ingredients list on packages and products. It helps you determine if food is actually vegan or diet-permitted which helps you make smarter choices.
Ease Into a Plant-Based Diet
Many grizzled veterans of the vegan lifestyle will also recommend that newcomers to the plant-based diet take time to ease into it instead of jumping in full-steam. The problem is that your body will likely go into overdrive trying to adjust, so those problems mentioned earlier would be a lot worse if you just cut out any animal by-products like dairy or meat right away. It’s not going to cause serious harm to you (depending on health conditions; talk to your doctor first) but it’s going to be harder to give up food if you don’t give your body a chance to slowly adapt to plant-based only.
Change Up Your Meals to Keep it Interesting
This is actually a piece of advice that applies to most eating habits in general but could help with plant-based more so. It’s advised that people eat a more varied mix of foods as it allows the body to adjust its digestive processes and handle more flavors as well as more nutrients, and when it comes to plant-based, the benefit is that it allows you to not get bored of meals. The running joke is that vegans only eat salads, which is obviously not true, but eating the same meal over and over can get boring regardless so it’s good to change it up often.
Don’t Start Eating Processed Plant-Based Food
Plant-based burgers that come in frozen packages aren’t as healthy as people want you to think. Yes, they don’t contain meat, but no, they aren’t lacking in sodium. Processed food is still processed food, so don’t buy into the hype just because it says vegan on the jar, box, or packaging. Be smart about your choices and try to eat whole foods more often.
Monitor What Nutrients You Won’t Be Getting As Much
The problem with a plant-based diet is that you are inevitably going to lack some important nutrients that would have been easier to come by with a diet that included meat and dairy. Iron and protein, for instance, arent’ as abundant in vegetables. Luckily, legumes contain a good amount of protein and many vegetables have iron and amino acids that are helpful in synthesizing said protein so you won’t lose muscle mass as easily. You can also incorporate green superfood powders such as spirulina and chlorella into your diet to boost your daily protein intake. It’s good to consider what nutrients you’re already lacking, what ones you get enough of, and how a plant-based diet will change this so you can adjust accordingly.
Be Open-Minded to New Foods
You may have never eaten a dragonfruit or a zucchini in your life, which is okay, we all have plenty of foods that we’ve never tried before, but it shouldn’t stop you from realizing the possible enjoyment you’re missing out on by being stubborn with what you eat. Keeping an open mind about new foods or ingredients is part of the process of adapting to a new diet and plant-based diets can open your palette to a world of new flavors that you wouldn’t have tried so it’s helpful to broaden your culinary horizons in that way.
Going plant-based can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe you want to clean out the body a bit, maybe you don’t like how modern farming is done, or maybe you just want to switch it up and see what it’s like. Whatever your reasons are, those 8 things are good to know before going plant-based.