These are some tips that I think will help you get started when making the switch toward a plant based whole food diet. Of course everyone is different, and some of these things may be good for you, and other tips may not. I still suggest you read it all when first starting out, and then think about it and put together a plan that’s right for you.
Get your head straight
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is get clear about why you want to switch to a plant based whole food diet. Everyone who sets out to make a change has their own reasons, and I’m suggesting that you be clear and honest with yourself about what you are specifically looking to achieve. Ask and answer questions like what do you want to different in the future. What do you not like about your current situation? What are you looking forward to in your future situation? Know what you are moving away from, and know what you are moving forward towards. Keep all of this fresh in your mind, and use it to motivate you when things get tough, or you need some encouragement.
Make it easy on yourself
It sounds silly, right, but it may not be as obvious as you think. One of the most important things I would like you to know is that by definition, a plant based diet is all about what you “do” eat, and not about what you “don’t” eat. While you will want to avoid foods that are not plant based and whole, thinking about what you need to “give up” is a tough way to start. I encourage you to do it differently, think about what whole plant foods you can start eating MORE of. I’m sure you can more easily focus on eating more of a fruit or vegetable that you already enjoy. And focusing on that will eventually lead you toward eating less of the “bad” (non plant based and processed foods) stuff.
Train your brain
What is a plant based whole food diet? Why would you want to eat this way? What can you expect from making this diet and lifestyle change? These resources will answer all of that and more for you. They will also raise plenty of questions as well. So just work your way through, and when you finish with this getting started work your way over to the reading and watch lists under resources and continue learning over there.
Watch Rip Esselstyn’s Plant Strong and Healthy Living Video.
Watch Forks Over Knives on Netflix, Amazon, or DVD from the library.
Read Eat to Live, Super Immunity, The End of Dieting, or any other book written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Eat simple delicious food
These are some of the easier recipes and dishes that will help you in the beginning. In general, eat simply to make it easy on yourself. Some of these are easy meals, and others are more complicated, but might satisfy your taste and hunger while transitioning. Beyond these, just use the search feature or browse the recipe section to find anything you might like.
- Banana Apple Oatmeal
- Sunshine Burger and Black Beans
- Salad with Peanut Dressing
- A Hearty Salad
- Sloppy Lentil Joes
- Eggplant Rollatini
- Lentil Dahl Soup
- Apple Guacamole
Eat a big salad and a side of greens with EVERYTHING!
Build your community
Find a friend, family member, or engage with others in an on-line community to keep the conversation fresh in your mind. Share tips, experiences, and challenges so you can get the advice and tips you need to keep moving toward your goals. I don’t suggest you try to “convert” or “convince” anyone that they should do this as well. Make it your journey, and do it for you. Let others do the same for themselves. What I am saying is to find others who are already on their own path, so you can support each other and get the tips and advice you need to stay focused and on track. Some great places to start are:
- Veggies for Dinner on Facebook
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman on Facebook
- Forks Over Knives on Facebook
- Eat to Live: Nutritarian Plant based Eating for optimal health on Facebook
- Dr. Fuhrman’s member center (paid subscription, worth every cent)
- Central Jersey Nutritarian’s meetup group
If Facebook isn’t your thing you can also find local meetups, people to follow on twitter, instagram, pintrest, blogs, and whatever other social media platform you might prefer.
Please, whatever you do, and no matter why you are doing it, have fun with it. Don’t make it a punishment for yourself, and don’t think of it as something that you don’t want to do. Figure out how to enjoy your journey, and be happy about the fact that you are taking care of YOU! I think that’s the key to lasting sustainable change, you have to enjoy yourself, otherwise you are setting yourself up for a tough time.
Have fun, eat right, live life, and be happy!