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How to Start a Plant Based Diet – an easy step by step plan for beginners
Did you just watch a health documentary, like What the Health?, Food Choices, or Food Inc.?
If so, then you’re probably wondering how to start a plant based diet, or at least improve your eating habits.
Maybe you’re unsure how to do that; it can be overwhelming at first.
And, the first thing you may be tempted to do is to simply throw out all of the things bashed in the documentaries.
If you have a very strong will-power and self-discipline and won’t simply go out and buy it again, go right ahead.
But, most of us aren’t that strong…
Most of us need baby steps.
We need a plan to get us to where we want to be without being too uncomfortable, and without feeling we’re missing out on the unhealthy food surrounding us.
Some of us need to be told exactly what to do (or to eat), step by step…
Some of us will rebel and not eat what we’re supposed to, simply to rebel…
We need to strengthen our self discipline and self control.
Doing so will help us feel better, look better, and have enough energy to chase after our little ones.
Moms, you know what I’m talking about, especially with toddlers and driving around very busy older kids.
No coffee needed, promise!
I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be super easy and I’m not going to tell you that once you start this journey to health that you won’t slip up once in awhile, it happens.
What I am going to do is provide you with a step by step plan that will get you where you want to be, in terms of your eating, if you follow it.
If you don’t follow the steps I provide, I can’t help you, and you may have more difficulty than necessary.
p.s. Before we begin, I’m going to let you know some of the steps are baby steps, but you still need to do them.
Step One for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Decide How Badly You Want it
If you just finished watching a health documentary and are highly motivated; how long do you think that motivation will last?
It likely won’t last for more than a couple of weeks. You could keep watching the documentaries over and over again for motivation. But, at some point, you’ll end up having them memorized and will start spitting out facts you learned, at people who don’t want to hear about it!
Or, if you’re determined to go plant based, you need to show it. You need to feel the need to improve your life.
Basically, you need to determine how badly you want this lifestyle change.
If you kind of want it, but are unsure, you may not last very long; at least not without support.
If you know you want this, the next step is to think about why you want it so badly!
Need some inspiration? Check out 34 Best Healthy Eating Quotes For You and Your Kids!
Step Two for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Decide WHY You Want to Change to a Plant Based Diet
There are tons of reasons why to change to a plant based lifestyle or plant based diet.
Some examples of why people change are below.
Your reason why may be below, or it may not, but, take a look anyways.
Maybe it’ll give you more than one reason why you should switch to a plant based diet!
Help reverse existing health issues
If you watched health documentaries, you know a plant based diet can do this. Do you have any health issues you want to reverse? (Psst….if you do, talk with a doctor or nutritionist who knows you and your condition before you change your diet. I am in no way a doctor, and it’s been years since I’ve even taken an advil.)
Prevent Health issues
If you don’t have any health issues or concerns, are there any health concerns that run in your family that you’d like to try to prevent? (I sure do. I feel like every other month I get notified of another health issue that a family member has.)
Improve your overall health and well being
This pretty much speaks for itself.
Have enough energy to be a better mom (and chase after your toddler)
I feel ya on this one, every time we go outside, my toddler darts towards the road, she’s just at that stage. I have to throw off my flip flops and dart right after her before she gets half way up the driveway. Luckily, I eat the same healthy food I feed her, so I can run after her when I need to!
Feel better and have a more clear mind
Have you ever felt ‘uhhhhg….’ or ‘blah’? I used to all the time, you can check out my journey to health if you want to know why.
Eating plants will help you feel good from the inside out!
Ridding your diet of processed foods will help you lose excess weight effortlessly, other than the change in what you eat.
Be a good example for your children and raise a healthier generation for the future.
Children copy what they see; if they see you eat healthy, they’ll start eating healthy. Simple as that.
Leave a lighter footprint on the earth
It takes more resources (land, water, etc.) for someone to eat meat or dairy, than for someone to eat a plant based diet.
Help reduce the number of animals being abused and slaughtered
This is obvious.
Help reduce health concerns of others who live near industrial sized farms and animal waste
If there’s less of a demand for animal products then they’ll be less industrial sized farms and less animal waste that is causing health issues for those living near them.
Help reduce the destruction of rain forest
This goes along leaving a lighter footprint.
Help reduce the amount of sea life that is being affected by target fish consumption
What do you think happens to all of the sea life that is pulled up in nets with the target fish that people eat?
Help save the Earth
I could go on, and on, and on. But, those are the major reasons people choose to switch to a vegan or plant based diet. If the reason you choose isn’t in the list, it doesn’t mean it’s not a great reason; it simply means it wasn’t one of the first things to come to my mind.
So, choose your why and hold on tight; it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
No, seriously, hold onto it; write it down and don’t forget it.
There are going to be times when you’re tempted to quit, when others tell you you’re stupid for changing your diet like this and that you’re not going to get enough protein. They’re going to use all vegan myths against you, and you’ll have to remember and gain strength from your why, to stay on track.
Step Three for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Go Through Your Kitchen and Remove Some Items
You want to do this anyways, so start, just don’t go overboard!
Start with the easiest things to get out of your diet. Maybe the items that you don’t really like but bought because at the time you thought they were good for you.
Then start weaning yourself from all other animal products and processed foods.
This is a lifestyle change, not a diet!
Unless you’re great at changing your life over night, which most of us aren’t; it’s better to go slow than not at all.
Step Four for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Get Prepared
Do some research
Check out some of my other posts on eating healthy. Or, google your questions about going plant based, find a nutritionist if you think you’ll need one.
Do the research you need to do to feel comfortable going plant based.
More specifically, do your research on vitamins and minerals for plant based diet, such as vitamin B12 that you’ll need a supplement for, or ensure you eat foods fortified with it.
You’ll also want to check out this article: The Top 10 Foods to Eat Daily for Better Health
And, if pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor about being plant based; find out if you need extra iron to help prevent you from becoming anemic during pregnancy, like I was with my third child.
Also, prepare your answers for all the silly questions you’ll get.
- Where do you get your protein?
- What do you eat?
- Aren’t you missing important vitamins and minerals that you can only get from meat?
- When are you going to stop depriving yourself of nutrients?
- How can you afford to eat healthy food?
- Well, I guess you can’t eat out with us now, right?
- Don’t you miss eating ‘cheese’? (Insert any non-plant based food into the sentence.)
Yes, some of these questions may sound very silly with what you know now. Just be polite and answer honestly, and try not to sound annoyed, as hard as it may be.
But, seriously, go find a notebook or open up a notepad on your phone and write out the answers to these, that way you won’t be caught off guard when asked; you’ll already know what to say, and be able to say it with confidence!
I want you to go download the Pinterest app on your phone RIGHT NOW, if you don’t already have it. If you haven’t signed up for Pinterest & Instagram; SIGN UP!
Create a few boards for recipes on Pinterest. Label one ‘recipes to try’, label another ‘recipes I like’, or anything that makes sense to you. This way you can keep track of the food you want to try, what you like, and you could even create a meal plan using the recipes you find on Pinterest.
If you already have Pinterest, or once you’re signed up, spend 10 or 15 minutes searching or plant based recipes that look good, and save them to try later!
If you have kids you want to help eat healthier, too, be sure to check out all of the kid friendly recipes on this site! Just scroll to the top of this page and click on recipes, or CLICK HERE!
And go download some easy MAKE AHEAD SNACK RECIPES for your kids so they have something easy & healthy to eat without you having to constantly be making them snacks!!
For some easy plant based meal ideas for kids, check out 55 Easy Vegan Kid Meals (For When You’re Too Tired to Cook!)
Read some books, or get some cookbooks if you’re a book person.
Check out my influencer page on Amazon to see a few of the cookbooks I started with!
Don’t forget to grab your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Raising Vegan Kids, if you have kids you’re trying to help eat more plant based, too!
Follow some healthy bloggers- like me! Sign up for my email list here.
Following healthy bloggers will help provide you with the information you’re already looking for give you inspiration to keep moving forward, and give you more people to help support you in your journey towards better health!
If you have kids, check out The Best Food Bloggers to Follow for Healthy Kid Friendly Recipes!
Also, be sure to look for more people to follow on Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, or join a Facebook group!
Step Five for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Start Swapping out Foods
Instead of going straight from whatever you currently eat, to eating an all plant based diet with foods that are foreign to you; try swapping foods.
This is supposed to make the transition easier.
If you love hot dogs, try carrot dogs.
Swap out chicken nuggets for soy nuggets; they may still be processed, but it isn’t meat and you won’t notice the difference.
Do this for any animal products you eat or drink. Swap in soymilk for cows milk, make banana ice cream in place of store bought, and so on.
And, make sure you add in plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Add in so many of these that there is literally no more room fr the animal products.
Honestly, that’s the easiest way to do it. How can you continue to eat animal products when your diet is so full of all the healthy plant based food you eat? There’s no room left!
Step Six for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Meal Plan and Meal Prep
This last step is the most important step in this how to guide.
It goes hand in hand with the last few steps. And, these are the steps that you’ll need to constantly repeat.
You’ll constantly be searching for more recipes to try, and inspiration for continuing on this healthy eating journey.
But, the one thing that will help you the most is creating a solid meal plan, and meal prepping each week.
These two actions will ensure you stick with your plant based eating goals.
They will also help you lose excess weight, save money, and save time!
Who doesn’t want that?
If you’re new to meal prepping, new to plant based eating, or just need more help than what this simple guide was able to give you; I highly recommend you grab this workbook and Ebook with 20 bite sized lessons to walk you through the workbook and to help you simplify mealtime!
This Bundle is a no-brainer and a must have for any mom planning on eating healthy and feeding her family healthy meals. Check out what all is included here! Plus, it won’t break the bank at only $17, and comes cheat sheets to help you eat healthier, you can download it on your phone and fill it in without even having to print it!
Finally, know what it would feel like to:
- know what everyone in your family actually likes to eat
- know how to create a healthy and balanced meal or snack (based on what healthy means to you)
- know how to easily swap out the unhealthy ingredients in a recipe for healthier ones
- always have a meal plan and have a system in place to stick to it
- know how to keep your family eating healthy when obstacles arise (picky eaters, holidays, etc.)
How would it make you feel to know that you have mealtime under control: no more stressing about what to eat for dinner.
This is your health we’re talking about; you’re worth it.
You’re health is worth this tiny investment. Learn more here!