It is just the beginning.
Sooner than expected, you will begin to feel the difference.
Whether or not you are opting for a 100% plant-based diet, or just incorporating more greens in your diet, you will start feeling plenty of fabulous things happening in your body. The more you put in to it, the more you get out of it.
People who eat a plant-based diet often explain they feel more energized, lighter, have better digestion and more rarely catch colds and flues. Some also experience better sleep, less stress, glowing skin, and others feel they recover quicker from exercise.
As if all this wasn’t enough, other things will happen in your body which you may not even notice, such as your cholesterol will drop, your blood pressure will drop and you will have, without a doubt, lowered your risk of many chronic and preventable diseases. Once you see, and feel, all those amazing results, you will never want to go back.
Scroll down for my beginner's tips!
12 Tips for Beginner's
1. Focus on including instead of excluding.
Focus on including more plants and whole foods in your overall diet; try to fill your plate with mostly vegetables and plant foods. Automatically you will have less room for animal products and processed foods.
2. Start with baby steps.
Begin with changing some meals per week, or perhaps one meal a day. Breakfast is usually easiest to start with. Alternatively, take the opportunity to choose plant-based when you are ordering take-away lunch, or when you are dining out. That way you don’t even need to worry about how to put the meal together!
3. Begin with familar dishes.
When cooking, try to switch some of your classical recipes for a plant-based recipe. For instance, if you like cooking spaghetti bolognese try making a plant-based bolognese with lentils instead. If you like making curries, next time try making a chickpea curry instead of a chicken curry. Start with dishes you are already familiar with and have an idea how to make, rather than going for something completely new or too complicated. It's often enough that the ingredients are new.
4. Skip all uneccesary, unhealthy eating.
See if there are any animal based meals, or processed meals, that you may not enjoy very much anyway, but still eat because of habit or tradition, as they will be easier to switch out. Start there! Always start where it is easiest. Skip what I call “unnecessary unhealthy eating”. For instance, if you usually order a cheese and ham sandwich for lunch but don’t actually think it is that important for you, go for the falafel or hummus sandwich next time, or whatever other plant-based alternative they offer. Hopefully it will be a positive surprise and an easy switch!
5. Focus on the big picture.
If there is a specific food which you can’t see yourself living without - keep that then! Eat it on special occasions, or as a treat, or whenever you miss it, even if that may mean every day. In that way you won’t feel like you are restricting your self and you have higher chance to succeed with the changes you want to make and are motivated to do. And always look at the big picture. What you eat the most, what you eat every day, is what matters the most!
6. Have an open mind.
Be curious; try new foods, new spices and new recipes. If the first bean burger you made wasn’t a success, try another recipe! Whether or not you are cooking plant-based, every single meal won’t be a success (at least not for me), although you will be surprised how many will be! Once you have found five to ten recipes you really like, keep them! Most of my days I rotate between my favorite recipes, as it is not every day I feel like experimenting in the kitchen.
7. Aim for Whole foods.
Don’t start with reading every nutritional label on foods you buy. It might just put you off and the whole transformation may feel too difficult. Try to focus on eating whole-foods instead. Look for fresh vegetables, root-vegetables, fruits, different grains, lentils and beans (canned ones are super easy and a big time saver!), nuts and seeds. Those foods rarely have an ingredient list anyway, or at most a very short one, since they are what they are – whole foods!
8. Never count calories.
Don’t count individual nutrients either, such as protein, carbs, vitamins or minerals. That will most likely only make you focus unnecessarily on the details, when in fact, it is the overall eating pattern that matters the most. Always focus on the big picture! Look at where your main nutrients intake come from during a day or even a week instead.
9. Use my everyday guide for some direction.
My plant-based everyday guide can be helpful to give you a nutritionally balanced ground, and can work as a check-list to to make sure you are on the right path. If you end up eating a complete vegan diet, or at least mainly plant-based, there are some nutrients you need to pay a little extra attention to. In my everyday guide, you will also find information about which plant-foods are extra rich in those specific nutrients, so that you can make a habit of including these foods every day. In that way you don't need to calculate any micrograms, just get into a routine of eating the right foods. This guide is included when you book your first consultation.
10. Give yourself time.
It takes time to change food habits, it takes time to change your palate, and it takes time to change your way of thinking. Your motivation will go up and down, and don’t blame yourself if you lose track sometimes, or fall for cravings. There is a next day. Studies have shown it takes at least three weeks to adapt you taste buds to new foods, but once you have consistently eaten something for a while you will start liking it and maybe even craving it.
11. Find your plant based community.
There are many plant-based and vegan communities out there and you are certainly not alone on this journey. Those communities can be useful to join to find likeminded people, get cooking tips from, learn new things from and most importantly; find support and motivation from. Most cities have some kind of group that go for vegan dinners together, or host different plant-based events, and there are plenty of communities online which offer a lot of information, recipes and even documentaries.
12. Set realistic goals.
Set goals that you feel are reasonable, goals which you think are sustainable and which hopefully won't even be goals later on, but a choice of lifestyle. Most people who have adapted to the plant-based lifestyle, didn't do that over a night. And again, look at the bigger picture! How much healthier are you eating now, compared to when you started on your plant-based journey?! That is what matters. And remember, every step counts!
Everyone starts at different times, from somewhere different.
I see my own plant-based journey as a lifestyle change. A life style change that has given me so much more than just the physical benefits that comes with the foods. It has introduced me to many new incredible people, new delicious foods and flavors, it has deepened my knowledge about nutrition and health, and most importantly - this way of living aligns most with my personal philosophies and values - and it is very fulfilling and satisfying to feel that you are living in compassion and in line with your beliefs.