5 Tips: How to Start Eating Plant Based
Figuring out how to start eating plant based and reducing your meat consumption can be a lot of fun, but also challenging at first. After 4 years of eating plant based, we compiled our top 5 tips to help you in your first 30 days.
Eating plant based can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming in the beginning since there’s so much to learn. Whether you are removing all animal products from your meals, or just increasing the amount of veggies, grains, legumes and fruits you eat, it definitely takes time to get started in the beginning. To help you out, here are my top 5 tips for your first month transitioning to plant based eating.
Tip # 1: Set Yourself Up for Success
- Changing the way you eat is just like learning anything new and it takes time. Knowing this up front will help you set realistic expectations so you don’t give up if times are tough.
- Share new goals with a few people at first, so you still feel accountable, but aren’t making too many big commitments up front. Instead of telling everyone you are going to be Vegan right away, maybe start out saying you are going to start reducing your meat consumption or increasing the plants you’re going to eat. This way you won’t feel frustrated or feel bad if you get overwhelmed at first.
- Don’t judge or criticize yourself – enjoy the process
Tip #2 Set a Few Small Goals
- With realistic expectations in mind, start out with just a few small steps and goals. For example, you’ll probably start cooking more. Instead of overhauling your pantry or creating a fully plant-based menu in the first week, you could
- Find one cookbook or blog, aiming for simplicity, and start reading the cookbook and recipes. Pay attention to the different ingredients you see and read about them.
- Pick up a few new ingredients and start experimenting with a meal or two. Make that meal a few times to get comfortable with it if it. This will allow you to ease into it.
- Or incorporate a few salads or easy side vegetable dishes instead of a whole meal. Legumes are something people don’t often eat much before they start eating plant based, so maybe you start adding beans to your salad, or other vegetables you haven’t eaten before. Experiment with sauces and dressings.
- Paying attention to how your body feels eating these new foods. You may experience bloating or gas or other sensations. Your body, and especially the bacteria in your gut, need time to adjust this new change and the new food you’re eating.
Tip #3: Keep a List of Your Motivations for Eating Plant Based
- Writing down motivations and reasons behind any new goal help us stay focused and on track. Why are you excited about this new path? What will keep you going? What are you excited to learn? Is it for your health, animal welfare, the environment?
- It’s easy to forget when we get caught up in day to day life and all that we have going on.
- To keep me focused I wrote mine in a few different places – my phone, in my notebook and on my laptop. I reference these on a regular basis to stay mindful of my intentions. Reflect back on these many times to reinvigorate you.
Tip #4 Be prepared and mindful of others reactions to your new choice
- A new way of eating is not only a challenge for you and your body, it can be a big change for others in your life, which I think we should all be sensitive to.
- Food is a strong connector for people and you can expect that those close to you may feel upset, frustrated or interrupted by your new decision.
- I’m not saying they shouldn’t support you, but change can be emotional all around and it’s respectful to think about everyone’s feelings. Brainstorm ways to do this for your friends and family.
Tip #5 Connect with others and continue to become informed
- Although more and more people are gravitating toward this way of eating, it’s still a small percentage of the world. You may want a few people you can reach out to who can relate to how you’re feeling or answer questions.
- Follow a few people on social media. Instagram, Facebook and Youtube have a wealth of people to connect with.
- Finding others who are just starting out may also help you find an accountability partner. If your spouse doesn’t eat this way yet or maybe won’t at all, try to find a friend you can talk to about it.
There’s so much more I could say about this process, and everyone’s experience will be different. These are a few things I wish I knew when I started eating plant-based. I’ll be providing more tips on the next stages of plant-based eating to help you along your way. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions as you are starting out.
Take care and happy planting 🙂