5 Tips on Transitioning to a Plant-Based DietNov 09, 2018
So you’ve made the decision that you want to adopt a plant based lifestyle but you’re wondering where to start.
It can be so confusing with the volume of information available which sometimes can tell you opposing things.
“Eat soy for a healthy protein.”… “Wait, no don’t eat soy. It’s bad for you.” It’s enough to drive a newbie over the edge.
No worries friend, I gotchu. I’m going to walk you through 5 helpful tips to have you out here looking like a plant based vet.
To avoid a lot of confusion surrounding what to eat (and what not to eat) you’ve got to reset your mindset. Think about the reasons you originally decided to go plant based. What you choose to commit to include in your diet will vary based on the reason behind your decision.For example if you’re trying to reduce high-blood pressure you may want to choose to eliminate all animal products. If you’re trying to shed pounds you may decide to continue to eat eggs and low-fat cheese.The point is that this should be your decision. A decision that is reflective of the goals you are hoping to achieve from a plant based lifestyle.Part of the decision making process is to reset your mindset. Along with confusion around what to eat, what prevents a lot of people from making the transition is too much focus on what the can’t eat.I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t live without bacon”. You’ll be better off focusing on all of the delicious, healthy food that you CAN eat. Food that is fueling your body better than the junk you’re choosing to give up. Focus on the bird in your hand. Not the two in the bush. MESSAGE!
“Somebody’s got a case of the meat sweats”. It’s a real thing. And if you’ve been maxxing on burgers, fried chicken and ALL the lamb chops because you know it’s your last dance before your plant based lifestyle, I hate to break it to you but the detox will be real.Even if you’ve been limiting your meat consumption, you may still experience some level of discomfort in the first 3-5 days of plant based eating. That discomfort could range from headaches to flu-like symptoms.You can lessen your symptoms by preparing your body ahead of time. I wholeheartedly recommend doing a 21-day Daniel Fast as a detox in the beginning of your transition. It’s a great way to completely reset your system.Bonus is that once you complete the Daniel Fast you’ll be so geeked that you can incorporate additional foods back into your diet that you won’t be focused on what you can’t eat. You’ll be grateful for what you can + you’ll be feeling amazing.You may also realize that you don’t miss some of the things you thought you can’t live without and decide to keep them out of you diet. For instance, once you learn to cook with only olive oil instead of butter and that the food tastes just as great, you may decide to continue to do things that way.
If you want to fight me right now because you can’t fathom completing a 21-day Daniel Fast, no worries – we’ve got options. 7 days before you transition to your plant based lifestyle, do the following to reduce detox symptoms:
- Drink 8 oz of water every 2-3 hours daily
- Reduce the amount of processed and fatty foods
- Cut back on the caffeine, sugar and alcohol
This won’t complete eliminate detox symptoms but it will take you from bathroom floor hangover to a slight headache hangover (don’t act like you don’t know what I mean).
I can’t emphasize this importance of being prepared for your transition. We’ve covered the mental and physical prep necessary but there is one more area that can make or break your transition. You’ve got to have a plan man!Listen, I have been on the Daniel Fast and the hanger crept up so fast that I almost consumed an entire box of oreos (which are vegan by the way but I digress). This is not the time to wing it. You absolutely need to have groceries (especially snacks) on deck.I recommend that you have breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks planned and in your fridge for 7 days. This way you’ll be ready to roll. Here’s an example of what a day might look like:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal made with almond milk topped with cinnamon, bananas, dried fruit and nuts
- Snack: Larabar + yogi tea
- Lunch: Garden vegetable soup + big green salad
- Snack: All natural trail mix (not the kind with candy!)
- Dinner: Coconut curried veggies + Rice
Right around that 3rd day of detox you’ll be wondering if it’s worth it. You’ll start thinking that you can’t do this. That it’s too hard. You’ll be dreaming about BLTs and tremble as you’re cutting up your kid’s chicken (true story).But in the eloquent words of my guy, LeBron James, trust the process. Push through. I promise you that on the other side of that detox is more energy and better sleep than you’ve had in years. There is a whole other side once you get through the matrix. Push thru!Your body will never feel so good. The discomfort of the detox is worth the results. Commit to the goal. Don’t give up. It takes 30 days to make a habit and 90 to make it a lifestyle. Commit to at least 30 days, then 90. You’ll feel so good you won’t want to go back.
Ya’ll heard of backsliding right? Old church folks used to say that when they stopped coming to church and were out here in these streets up to no good. When they came back to rededicate their life to the church they would always say, “I’ve been backsliding.” Inevitably you will unintentionally (or intentionally) backslide and eat something that isn’t necessarily PB (plant based). This is a reminder to extend yourself some grace.The world is not going to end because you slipped and ate one buffalo wing. Don’t beat yourself up. It happens. Reset, remember why you started and continue on your plant based journey. Do not let it take you on a bender though. The likelihood is high that you’ll get sick if after that buffalo wing you throw caution to the wind and go to the nearest swine dive.And one last thing, please chill with all the self-righteous, “I’m a vegan now so I’m better than you” talk. Nobody wants to hear it. Instead of being judgemental and pulling up the Forks over Knives documentary on your phone when your homie orders a rack of ribs at Friday’s, choose to be kind to those who haven’t yet decided to make the switch to a plant based lifestyle. They’ll come to you once they see how good you look and feel.
Stick with these tips and you’ll have a pretty smooth transition to a much healthier lifestyle.
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