Transitioning into a plant-based diet isn’t an easy thing to do for everyone. While some people jump in with one massive leap, others will need a little bit of time to ease into the process, which is completely fine (sometimes even advisable for many). A smart choice none the less, a plant-based diet is full of benefits no matter how slow one may creep into the lifestyle. So if you’ve been considering it for awhile but are feeling a bit overwhelmed, it’s important to keep things super simple and focus on the main key pointers. You don’t have to eat perfectly and it’s not about eating like everyone else you know who is vegan: it’s about eating a healthy, vegan diet in a balanced way that works for you.
To help you out, here are five tips that you can remember to ensure good health on a vegan diet, no matter what tweaks here and there you might make along the way. Enjoy the process—it’s a journey!
1. Stick to Real Foods When You Can
It’s easy to get incredibly excited with the amazing, wide variety of vegan foods on the market today. Many, such as non-dairy milks and veggie burgers, can really help one transition into the lifestyle, especially with a busy schedule. These will pose no harm of course, and many are actually processed much healthier than they used to be. But to focus on long-term health and really get the benefits, don’t fill your grocery carts up with mainly processed options. Try to keep 75 percent of your purchases to real foods however you can (greens, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, etc.). Look at vegan products as ways to fill in the gaps, not to make up the majority of your meals. (Here’s how to afford a healthy vegan diet on a budget if you need some tips.) Real foods will make all the difference in the long-term benefits, your budget, and optimizing a plant-based diet at its full potential.
2. Get Yourself a Good B12 Supplement
B12 is a vitamin most everyone knows they should take to maintain good health, especially if eating a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 can not be manufactured by the body and is derived from the soil. It’s responsible for nervous, heart, digestive, brain, and red blood cell functions in the body, but all supplements are not made equal. See How to Choose the Best Vitamin B12 Supplement here so you can obtain the best options.
3. Keep Your Meals Simple
One of the most fun parts about transitioning into the lifestyle is seeing all the amazing dishes you can eat when you leave animals off the menu. Who knew there was so much to do with plant-based foods?! But in the midst of the excitement, you might find yourself looking at a large variety of time-consuming recipes. Many of these are found in cookbooks and some are found online, and while they’re great to try perhaps on a weekend or when you get more accustomed to eating plant-based meals, they may feel overwhelming at first if you attempt them for all your meal choices. So stick with the basics. Simple recipes are just as healthy, fulfilling, and can be some of the most satisfying both mentally and physically because they allow you to thrive without hardly any fuss. See our 5 Go-To Recipes Every Vegan Should Learn How to Make and see these Healthy, Filling Foods Everyone Can Afford to prepare your meals with.
4. Don’t Get Caught Up in Fads
There are so many fad diets within the vegan and plant-based space. While many do have benefits in some lights, a balanced approach is the overall best option. Remember that a whole foods diet doesn’t need much (if any) alteration. It’s simple, effective, and totally doable when you stick to the basics and avoid trends. Some trends may deprive you of calories, make you obsess about your routine, might be expensive, and others could even be unhealthy. So listen to your body and eat simple, plant-based foods. It doesn’t get any healthier or easier on all fronts than that!
5. Learn How to Swap Out Unhealthy Favorites for New Healthy Favorites
Lastly, we know that switching over to whole, plant-based foods just isn’t as easy mentally as it might sound. It’s hard to let go of our old favorite foods, so the best option isn’t to look at this as a deprivation diet. Look at what you can choose in replacement to unhealthy favorites as opposed to what you’re giving up. Not sure how to do that? We’ve got 9 Healthy Food Swaps That Are Easier Than You Think that will get you started in a jiffy!
If you have a health hack that helped you eat easier on a plant-based diet, we’d love to hear from you! What’s your best tip for living whole food, plant-based with ease and enjoyment?
Lead Image Source: Harira Soup With Hummus Pitas
Remember – processed vegan foods aren\’t any better than processed omnivore foods. Good recommendation on b-12. You probably should cover other nutrients that people lose out when they go vegan. We don\’t want people suffering from long term nutrient deficiencies on the most natural and easiest diet in the world.