1. Start with where you are: another way of stating this is that transitioning to a whole-food, plant-based dietary lifestyle does not have to be an all of nothing approach. Know yourself and set yourself up for success to where you are today. Everyone approaches this differently. If you are the ‘all or nothing’ personality then this approach does have advantages. Your palate will adjust to new tastes quickly, and cravings for salt, sugar, and fat diminish quicker than only going part way. If you have a chronic condition, you are also served well by transitioning fully since you have more skin in the game and will see your chronic conditions improve quickly and in most cases significantly, or resolve all together. How awesome is that?!
2. Have fun with it! Cook with friends, share the fruits of your labors (pun intended!), go to a cooking class, get down with music or listen to your favorite podcast as you prep food and cook (hands down our favorite is the Rich Roll Podcast), or pick a theme for the week like Mexican or Indian.
3. Prep and plan for success: cook in batches. Double recipes and freeze half. Cook grains, bake potatoes and let them do their thing while you do other things around the house. Shred carrots, beets, and spiralizer your zucchini and store them in containers in the fridge. Pick a morning or afternoon where you can amass a number of items, dishes, and meals. Place them in meal-size containers if you are taking them to work. Mix and match and make a couple dressings or sauces to have on hand to just drizzle on top. One bowls are AH-mazing for this!
4. Eat food you like and that is appealing to you: don’t ‘should’ on yourself. “I should eat this or eat that.” If you like pizza, eat pizza. If you are craving a burger and fries, eat that. Plant-based recipes are abundant today and it can almost be overwhelming the volume of options to choose from, but what a great problem to have. There is no shortage of cookbooks, online sites, and apps for you to choose from. We routinely choose recipes from the Forks Over Knives recipe app. It’s pretty great.
5. Create the ‘add and replace’ approach: add a side of greens to a plant-based pizza, add fruit like apples or grapes to your salad, add beans or lentils to a soup or, add a side of steam veggies to your pasta. Replace white pasta with whole-grain; replace cow’s milk for a plant-based one, replace hamburger with TVP in a chili. We highly recommend Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen checklist to maximize the foods that give us the best bang for our um, health!
Bonus Key: it feels good! Any step(s) you take to introduce more whole plant foods to your diet that replace animal products is a win for the planet and fellow animals we share it with. We can reduce our carbon footprint and amount of packaged foods we buy when the package comes naturally. So skip putting your apples in a plastic bag or buying the avocado wrapped in plastic and just grab them off the produce pile!
This link to Forks Overs Knives provides more in-depth information and resources. Click and dig in!