Starting your plant based journey can be hard! In my latest series of posts on instagram I talked about the process of getting started on a plant based diet. So if you’re new to it, struggling to stick with it, or looking into starting it for the new year, here are some tips to help you out.
Identify your “why”
something that makes it a lot easier and keeps you focused is remembering your WHY…why you started this frickin’ awesome journey!
For me, my why is…my health. My plant based journey started for health reasons and I’ve found so many other benefits in this lifestyle along the way, from environmental impacts to animal welfare to even more health benefits that I wasn’t expecting! Knowing your why acts as initial motivation to try it out as well as the continued reassurance you need to keep at it when you feel like caving.
You don’t have to go vegan overnight. In fact, many people who are vegan didn’t do it that way. Behavior change/lifestyle change is HARD and we have to take it one small step at a time. Here are some things you can start with:
- Making a note of what you’re eating that’s ALREADY plant-based
- Incorporating ONE plant-based meal into your nightly rotation
- Allowing extra time at the grocery shop to spend looking for FUN swaps
Gradually do more and more, but try and avoid overwhelming yourself at the start, because it can make it a much less enjoyable journey!
Have a Plan
Meal planning was an absolute GAME CHANGER for myself and now my clients…
- It saves you loads of time when shopping and in the kitchen
- The choice is already made for you so it’s one less thing to think about during your busy week
- You save money bc you have a plan for the food you’re buying
- You’re not asking your significant other “What’s for dinner?” every night
- You’re less likely to “default” back to what’s familiar
I have two online meal planning tools you can try to help with your planning as well as several helpful posts on how to meal plan:
Avoid “All or Nothing” Thinking
Have you ever started a diet and gone ALL IN? This is a very common way to start a diet and is how some people start their plant-based journey! BUT this can feel very overwhelming, quite restrictive, and not fun!
TIP: Start adding one or two plant-based days or meals to your week and slowly build those days or meals up! And remember that even if you’re trying to be 100% plant-based, slip ups are ALLOWED. Just because you ate a non-vegan Christmas cookie doesn’t mean you have failed or you have to give up. Be as plant-based as you can – the more you do it, the more results you will see and these will keep you motivated to continue.
Add, Don’t Take Away
Focus on ADDING MORE to your diet, instead of taking away foods.
Adding, rather than eliminating, foods to your meals is a really great strategy for positive eating and behavior change. We don’t like to feel deprived this way. The more (whole food) plants you add to your diet, the less room there is for meat, dairy, and overly processed foods.
We’ve been conditioned to think that the key to “healthy” eating is to follow specific diets or rules. Focusing on meeting our needs, understanding our cravings, and taking care of our bodies, is actually a much more powerful approach
Take it Day By Day
When you start your plant-based journey, don’t start planning for 6 months time!! Why?
Sometimes if you think too far into the future, it can feel mega overwhelming and daunting! Just focus on each day or week to plan out your meals…
And eventually those days will start adding up and you won’t even notice! It’s a journey, there’s no deadline or end point, enjoy and learn from each day!
Eating more plants can come with its challenges. There’s a lot of nutrition noise out there, everyone has an opinion, and it can be confusing to figure out what works best for YOU. Working through these challenges and learning how to easily incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet and lifestyle can be helpful. Working with a plant-based dietitian to guide you through your unique journey and surrounding yourself with other like-minded people who are on a similar journey can be monumental. When you join my nutrition coaching program, you’ll get a highly customized, one-on-one experience to help you confidently and sustainably eat foods that taste good and make you feel good. Click the button below to learn more about my approach and see what other clients have to say.