A Beginner’s Guide to a Plant-Based Diet

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So you want to start a plant-based diet—awesome! 

On top of reducing animal cruelty, by eating plant-based, you’ll also be easing the environmental impact on our planet and improving your health. Here’s our guide to doing it successfully.

Step 1: Get educated, and eliminate the low-hanging fruit.

If you haven’t educated yourself on the reasons for eating a plant-based diet, take some time to equip yourself with some resources. Those that start eating plant-based but go back to eating animal products rarely understand the values behind the diet, so this is important. Some books to start with include The China Study, Eating Animals, and Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not to Die, and the documentaries Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and What the Health. Take a trip to your local bookstore or library and get yourself some plant-based cookbooks.

Go for the “low-hanging fruit” and commit to removing the animal products you don’t like or eat often. If animal products are the largest thing on your plate, start integrating more grains, vegetables, and fruits into your meals. They’re also high in fiber, so your gut will thank you!

Get to know your local plant-based restaurants and use the plant-based menus at your favorite places to get ideas about what to make at home. Dining out and ordering delivery or takeout are convenient, but it’s unrealistic to be eating out every day. You also want to control your own sugar and salt intake, and the best way to do that is to cook at home.

Step 2: Use animal substitutes.

To reduce intake of the remaining animal products you’re still consuming, start replacing them with plant-based burger patties or grounds, chicken-less strips and nuggets, plant-based substitutes for pork, bacon, seafood and eggs, and milks like soy, oat, and almond.

It’s an exciting time to transition to a plant-based diet because there are so many substitutes for animal products than there were just a few years ago, and more are being released as time passes. 

Even if you can’t get some of these products at your local grocery store, remember that Vejii ships across North America. Over 3000 products are accessible with just a few clicks!

Step 3: Integrate plant protein.

While plant-based substitutes are great for reducing cravings for meat and getting your body used to this new diet, you’ll want to integrate more whole food plant protein. Processed foods taste great, but aren’t the healthiest for us and can be packed with carbohydrates, which you’ll already be consuming a lot of. Take out the plant-based cookbooks that piqued your interest or search for recipes online that inspire you so you can get accustomed to cooking with tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, peas, and seitan (wheat gluten). Ancient and sprouted grains, oats, nuts, seeds, wild rice, vegetables and spirulina are all great protein sources too, so go wild in the kitchen!

Maintain your usual exercise, sleep, and other wellness habits because it’s important to have good physical, mental, and emotional health as your body makes these changes.  

Step 4: Get support if you need it.

There are plenty of online resources available to help you transition if you need a more structured process. Veganuary and 80/20 Plants are just a few examples. If you need professional support, look for plant-based nutritionists, dieticians, doctors, and meal planners in your area or online who can help you.

The elimination of animal products may result in some deficiency of nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iron, so check your blood work three or six months after eating completely plant-based (or whenever you are feeling low energy) to see if you’re deficient in any important vitamins or minerals, so you know which supplements to take.

Step 5: Celebrate!

Whether you’ve passed the one, three, six, or 12-month mark on a fully plant-based diet, remember to celebrate! Transitioning isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely possible.

Vejii is here to support you in your transition to a plant-based diet. If we helped you in any way be sure to let us know!

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