5 Tips to Adopting a Plant-Based Diet
- Do Your Research
- Know Your “Why?”
- Take It Slow
- Join a Community (social media)
- DO NOT Fall for Deceptive Advertising
The plant-based diet is gaining popularity in the health and fitness industry, which has percolated into new food options at the grocery store, articles on health benefits, commercials advertising vegan burger patties, and more. As a consumer and food lover, these messages peaked my interest about the plant-based diet. I can only assume if you are reading this, you have found a similar curiosity in the meatless craze. To help you navigate the plant-based diet, I pulled five tips and tricks from plant-based eaters who have adopted the new diet and have shared their secrets to success.
1. Thoroughly Research the Plant-based Diet
Transitioning to any new diet can be a challenge, especially one that eliminates all animal products in favor of plant-based options. However, there are some good tips and tricks on how to adopt a plant-based diet in a sustainable and enjoyable way.
The plethora of diets that exist (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, Whole 30, vegan) can create an understandable confusion. So what does veganism entail? Eating vegan, also referred to as eating plant-based, is abstaining from the consumption of animal products. This includes animal by-products such as milk, eggs, cheese, and other foods. These foods are staples in the American diet, so thoughtful research should be conducted before deciding if the plant-based diet is right for you. Online sources can be easy to access and read, but keep in mind they may be biased or funded by an uncredible source. Look to articles and posts from registered dieticians or federally-regulated websites to ensure the information is credible and trustworthy. Here are a few sites to check out:
2. Know Your “Why?”
The plant-based diet can appeal to consumers for a variety of reasons: personal health, animal cruelty, environmental sustainability, and more. These reasons can create a stronger tie between the consumer and his or her plant-based diet so that, in the event it becomes difficult to chow down the plant-based plate, he or she can remember why they originally began eating plant-based. Write down a couple sentences on a piece of paper or in your phone that outline why you are adopting this new diet and your long-term goals. This tool can be a powerful motivator in remaining dedicated to something new: food-related or not.
3. Take It Slow
During the transition, each person’s body tends to react differently. Some may not react positively if the transition is too different from the previous diet. Instead of going “cold turkey” on animal products, gradually eat less meat and dairy and incorporate plant-based foods in its place. Take a steady pace and try not to dwell on the label of being a vegan. Many individuals start their transition with meatless Monday’s then adjust to eating less and less over the span of each week. Over time, the body will adapt to the loss of meat and/or dairy that comes with the new diet.
4. Join a Community (social media)
Another useful tip when entering the plant-based diet is to find others within the same community. Many individuals can be judgmental when they identify a person as being vegan. Most simply don’t understand the diet and why people decide to do it. Gaining the support and company of like-minded people is a great way to keep consistency within the diet. This also allows for great tips from their past experiences and recipes they may enjoy. Plant-based communities are strong and prevalent across most social media platforms. Search the hashtag #vegan or #plant-based on apps like Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. Facebook also has vegan groups were members can share recipes and start conversations about their love of plant-based foods. If you would like help finding these platforms, email us at email@example.com. We’d be happy to help you navigate your plant-based journey.
5. DO NOT Fall for Deceptive Advertising
Food labels showcase the elements of a product the brand feels would entice a customer to buy the product immediately. This strategy can illuminate positive aspects of a product that inspire us to try a new, healthy food. By the same token, labels can also mislead customers by claiming to have one health benefit, while the product contains a handful of other ingredients that offset that benefit. For example, brands advertise “20% less fat” or “fat-free” but use twice the amount of sugar to compensate for the lower amount of fat. Fat is not inherently bad, and nor is sugar, but in higher qualities they can have adverse health effects.
The same trend applies to plant-based or vegan foods. Before the vegan craze, many foods were vegan without their labels advertising as such. Sweet potatoes are vegan, but also Oreos. Do not be deceived by advertisements that tout plant-based benefits when, in reality, they still contain not-so-good-for-you ingredients (I’m not saying to never buy Oreos. If you want the Oreo, have the Oreo). The fix is simple: read the back of the label. Added sugars, preservatives, and other ingredients may be hidden behind the cute and colorful “100% plant-based” graphic on the front. The informed consumer is a knowledgeable eater.
I wish you the best of luck on your plant-based journey. At aha Pure Foods we accept all eaters, vegan or otherwise. If you are looking for a plant-based food to get started (that’s free of added sugar, preservatives, and ingredients you can’t pronounce) then please give our soups a try! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a special discount.
One spoonful at a time,