More and more people have been switching to vegetarian and vegan diets, but it can be a bit overwhelming for those just beginning to switch over. With countless testimonials to sift through and ample amounts of new research coming out, there is a lot to take in at first glance.
The best way to approach any new change in diet is to gradually ease your body into it, so as to not shock your system or overwhelm yourself with too much change at once. Talk with your doctor about the best way to approach the transition into a plant-based diet. Research the different sources of nutrients you can achieve from plants so you can plan out balanced meals that cover all the basics your body needs.
To make this journey a bit less stressful for you, here’s a list of small changes you can make to ease towards a plant-based diet!
Start With Eating An Extra Fruit or Vegetable Each Day
It begins with the basics: if you want to eventually have an animal-free diet, you have to start with eating more fruits and vegetables. The easiest way is to just aim for adding one more piece of produce into your meals each day. Start with ingredients you already like so you don’t feel overwhelmed with trying new ingredients, and you still are interested in the meals you eat.
There’s a lot of misconception that plant-based diets are bland and flavorless, but that may just be because you’re choosing to only look at boring recipes and dishes. With vegetarian and vegan diets on the rise, there are so many more delicious combinations and ideas out there for you to discover.
Another simple way to ease into a plant-based diet is to reduce the amount of dairy you consume. Try out dairy-free milk in your coffee the next time you buy one, or maybe add coconut milk to your cereal instead of cow milk.
Dairy alternatives have also erupted in popularity over the recent years while the demand for plant-based diets has risen. Stores now carry almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, cashew milk, and many more. Get yourself a small container to try at first before committing to a larger amount and try out different brands to taste a variety of flavor profiles.
An important factor to keep in mind when reducing, and eventually eliminating, meat from your diet is to maintain an adequate level of protein consumption. Luckily, there are a wide variety of plant proteins sources to choose from.
All types of beans, nuts, and different mixes of quinoa are a great place to start for discovering plant proteins you like. If you’re a tofu fan, that’s always another great ingredient to include in any your meals for an extra boost of protein.
Protein gives you steady, consistent energy throughout the day, and won’t leave you with that crash-and-burn feeling that loading up on carbs will do to you.
Incorporating more healthy fats into your dishes are another way to help reduce the urge and craving for more food and will keep you full for longer stretches of time. Avocado, nuts, and chia seeds are all great sources of healthy fats to include in your plant-based dishes. Start your day off right and make yourself some homemade avocado toast in the morning with a hummus spread. Top it off with a sprinkle of chia seeds to have yourself a hearty, protein-rich breakfast!