If you want to live a plant-based lifestyle and have no idea where or how to start, you’ve come to the right place. With these 10 steps, you can change your habits to lead the healthy and nutritious life you want to live!
1. Ask yourself “why?”
Why do YOU want to start a plant-based diet? What motivated you to read this article?
Whatever the reason may be, remember it. Jot the reason(s) down in your journal, type it in your phone, or keep it in the back of your mind to refer back to. The adjustment from a carnivorous diet to a plant-dominant diet takes time and may seem difficult at first, so it’s important to remember your values and to know WHY you are making this change.
2. Do some research
You’ll want to thoroughly understand those reasons behind a change like this. Because plant-based diets are not considered in line with most traditional ways of eating, there is still so much important information that is not advertised enough. The more you research, the more you’ll understand the “why?” behind this lifestyle.
If your motivation for change is to improve your eating habits, start by researching the health benefits of a plant-powered diet. If you are in it for the environment, do some research to better understand how a bigger plant-based population could, literally, save the world!
ALL reasons behind plant-based living are important but diving deep into one or all of these will motivate you more and help you truly value your plant-powered perspective!
If you have no idea where to start, the resource page on my blog has some inspiring well-known resources and quick videos to spark your interest and kickstart your research.
3. Take it one step at a time
As I’ve said, switching from a carnivorous or diet to a plant-based diet is an adjustment. It can be hard! If your goal is to make a big change to your eating habits, just like changing any habit, take it one step at a time and don’t rush yourself.
When I started my plant-based lifestyle I made the mistake of eliminating several foods from my diet before incorporating more plants, which led to multiple failures and a very nutrient-deficient diet (AKA pasta every meal). If you tend to let temptation and convenience get the best of you like I did, I don’t recommend cutting out products that you want to ultimately eliminate from day one.
Instead, rather than restricting your diet, simply ADD more plants to it. Simple! Try incorporating a few more plant-based foods into your diet each week… Then each day… Then each meal.
4. Know your resources
There are SO many great plant-based resources out there that are free to use and easily accessible to anyone. I personally use Pinterest and YouTube almost daily for recipe inspiration.
Chat with a plant-powered friend for some insight, find some lifestyle or recipe blogs to follow, or download a helpful app. For detail on navigating your plant-based food resources, check out my blog post: Surprise-Eating at Restaurants as a Vegan is Easy!
Knowing what resources are the most fun and helpful to YOU will be very beneficial. If you can explore the best places to shop and people to connect with, you will be set up for success on your plant-based path.
5. Learn some recipes
There are endless recipes to follow on the internet. Whether you like to Google, Pinterest or YouTube search recipes, you can pretty much find a plant-based version of any recipe! If you’re not a recipe follower, start experimenting with the plant-based ingredients you have at home now, and explore what meals you like and don’t like. The more you experiment with recipes and practice new ways of cooking, the less time you will need to take to prepare meals in the future.
When I first switched to a plant-based diet, I had no idea what I was doing. I was all about finding fast-food options and frozen dinners from the grocery store. I barely even knew how to cook like the average person until I started exploring my kitchen, trying new foods and creating my own recipes from plants.
Now I LOVE to cook, and I can easily whip up a healthy lunch even when I’m short on time! Trust me when I say plant-based cooking will get easier with time, and the extravagant plant-based meals you see on Instagram really aren’t all that tricky to make yourself.
6. Go shopping
Now, for the fun part… Grocery shopping! Woohoo! Once you’ve done your research and found some fun recipes to try, make a list and head on over to your local grocery store. There are lots of helpful shopping guides online such as these:
If you are a meat and cheese lover, I highly suggest incorporating plant-based replacements, of which there are PLENTY of options to choose from.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, GOOD PLANeT Foods cheese is my current favorite plant-based cheese, which you’ll find in some of my other blogs. You won’t find it at the grocery store just yet, but you can order from them online and they have really good prices!
I love this brand because they use REAL natural ingredients, and their products are all gluten and soy free, unlike most other brands I’ve tried (plus the cheese melts perfectly, which can be hard to find among non-dairy cheeses)!
Different stores offer certain brands depending on where you live, so it’s fun to try a few different options that your local stores carry and to discover YOUR staples for future grocery shopping!
7. Meal prep
If you want to live a healthy plant-based lifestyle and aren’t always home to cook every meal throughout the day, meal-prepping is a MUST. For those who are on-the-go most days, meal prep will REALLY help you maintain a healthy diet and avoid processed and animal-based foods.
I’m all for flexible dieting and living in moderation but let me tell you: meal prepping is a game changer if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle.
8. Try new foods
EMBRACE the uncertainty of adjusting to a plant-based diet. It may feel new and confusing but remember that it’s completely normal for a new way of eating to feel difficult. If you’re new to plant-based eating it WILL feel easier with time. You will get the most out of this process by trying NEW ingredients, restaurants, and recipes!
9. Don’t be hard on yourself in the process
Making a lifestyle shift like this IS a huge adjustment and CAN seem very hard at times. Give it time, take the adjustment slow, and don’t beat yourself up if your meal doesn’t align with your values on how you want to live. After all, the point of a plant-based diet is to incorporate MORE plants. If you start by simply adding a cup of veggies or fruit to your normal daily food intake, you’re already on the right track.
10. Have fun with it!
You are improving your lifestyle, while supporting lives of animals and the planet all in one. PLUS, plant-based food options are better than they’ve ever been. What’s not to like about all that?!
Explore the exciting world of plant-based cooking, learn the chemistry of baking with healthy alternatives, try new restaurants, and eat what you love. Have FUN!!
Check out my upcoming blogs for more science-based tips and inspiration for plant-based living!