Adopting A Plant-based Diet
Benefits of a Plant-based Diet
Adopting a plant-based diet is one of the most impactful lifestyle changes you can make that can significantly improve your health and overall wellness. We’ve witnessed this first hand – read our story.
Studies consistently show that diets focused on whole minimally processed plant-foods provide significant healing benefits. Plant foods are naturally nutrient-dense, packed with the fiber, healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals your body and immune system needs to be healthy and strong.
People who have adopted a plant-based diet have experienced:
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Reduced inflammation
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes
- Cancer prevention and cure
- A healthy digestive system and gut microbiome
- Increased energy
- Weight loss
- Disease prevention and overall wellness
How to Overcome the Obstacles of Adopting Healthier Food Choices
Making the lifestyle change to going plant-based can feel overwhelming. We are creatures of habit. Our busy lifestyles center around routines; we buy the same foods every week, prepare the same meals over and over and eat out at the same restaurants. This can make changing your eating habits difficult.
In addition, food choices can be very emotional. When stressed, sad, depressed, or lonely, we reach for those “comfort foods” that we attach positive or nurturing associations with. Those foods provide temporary pleasure to help make us feel better. As you begin to develop healthy plant-based eating habits you will quickly discover how much better you feel. But remember, developing new coping strategies will take time and persistence. Be patient with yourself.
The habits created through routines, convenience and for emotional support are difficult to break. Some days will be easier than others. It’s important to be realistic with your daily/weekly goals as you make this significant lifestyle change. By focusing on your accomplishments, no matter how small, you’ll be able to motivate yourself until you begin witnessing the benefits yourself.
You will notice:
- Feeling better about yourself
- Increased energy
- Fewer food cravings
- Higher levels of mental focus and clarity
- Ease of maintaining a healthy weight
- Healthier looking skin
- Your body beginning to heal more efficiently and effectively
How to Successful Adopt a Plant-based Diet
Developing new eating habits requires that you change the way you think about food, the kinds of foods you purchase, and types of meals you prepare. Going plant-based is a huge lifestyle “rethink”. Changing habits and behaviors takes perseverance and consistency. Take it one step at a time and set realistic goals that you can successfully meet.
Listed below are some suggestions to help you get started:
Clean out your pantry and fridge
- Say good-by to your old food habits by throwing away the foods in your home that you already know are not healthy for you. That will help limit temptations for choosing those old comfort foods.
- Read the ingredient lists on the packaging of the processed foods in your snack cupboards and throw away anything with ingredients you don’t understand and/or contain animal products. Read our article on Understanding the ingredients list on your food labels for more information.
- Watch out for packaging labeled “whole grain”, “gluten free” or “sugar free”. You might be surprised what you thought was healthy is actually not. Food manufacturers use those terms to mislead customers into thinking there product is a “health food”. By reading the entire ingredient list you can make that determination for yourself.
Rethink your snacks
Snacks are a great way to start transitioning to a healthy plant-based diet. It’s those quick food grabs to curb the hunger between meals that we tend to make the most unhealthy choices. Instead of your typical choices, grab one of these:
- Fruit (grapes, apples, oranges, etc.)
- Veggies (carrots, bell pepper, jicama, carrots, cucumber, celery, broccoli, etc.) and hummus or guacamole
- Nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, etc.)
- For the sweet craving, try one of these recipes from Gregor’s NutritionFacts.org:
- For the salty craving, try one of these recipes :
- Try one of our recipes
Pre-plan your meals for the week
One of the biggest challenges when changing your eating habits is figuring out what to make for dinner or lunch. By planning your meals ahead, you take the guesswork out of what to eat and are less likely to reach for “old habit” foods. One great idea is make sure you always make leftovers – last night’s dinner can make a great lunch or snack for the next day.
Check out these great recipe resources:
- Plant-based4Health recipes
- Cookbooks we love
- Forks Over Knives website
- The Simple Veganista website
- Nutrition Facts website
Hint: You don’t have to completely give up your favorite recipes. Sometimes it only takes some simple substitutions to transform an unhealthy meal into a plant-based nutrition powerhouse meal.
- If pasta is one of your favorites, try a healthy gluten-free plant-based brand of pasta and pasta sauce.
- Be careful of plant-based meat substitutes that are made to look and taste like meat. Those are most always filled with unhealthy additives.
- In baking, substitute plant-based milks for dairy and flax for eggs. See our suggested vegan substitutions for basic cooking ingredients.
Don’t give up!
It can take up to 3 months to create a new lifestyle habit. Be patient and celebrate your accomplishments along the way, no matter how small..
If you’re having a rough day and end up reaching for one of your “old comfort foods”, give yourself a break and set your intentions to make a different choice next time. Own your decisions and remind yourself that your food choices directly affect your body’s ability to heal and YOU ARE WORTH IT!
As you begin to experience the healing benefits of a plant-based diet, take notice of how you are feeling and the positive changes you are witnessing. Celebrate! You deserve to be healthy and strong!
Want more information?
- Facing the challenge of braking old habits towards a healthier lifestyle (blog post)
- Transitioning to vegan one step at a time (blog post)
- Plant-based diets are better for you, new study finds. Here are the health benefits. (article from Fortune.com 5/2023)
- Not all plant-based diets are the same: Junk veggie food and its impact on health (article from Medical News Today 8/2022)
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (website)
- What is a plant-based diet and why should you try it? (article from Harvard Healthy Publishing 11/2021)