“I could never live without cheese!” “I know I should eat more plant-based foods but it is too expensive.” “I don't have time to cook every night.”
Do you ever find yourself saying any of the above statements? Well, let us give you some great news. Eating a more whole-foods, plant-based diet is easy. Really easy. And no, it is not expensive or time-consuming (unless you want it to be).
The evidence for moving towards a more plant-based diet is compelling. Research has shown that following a whole-foods, plant-based diet is associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease, it reduces your susceptibility to certain types of cancers, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
A recent article entitled Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/ states:
“The major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, lower body weight, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from ischemic heart disease”.
Other benefits include:
- More energy
- Clearer skin
- Improved mental clarity
- Better quality of sleep
So how can you make the change easy? Just by following these few simple steps.
Are you ready?
Do your research.
It may not be mainstream yet but there is a mountain of blogs, articles, YouTube videos and books out there which can help solidify your reasons for moving to a plant-based diet. The China Study (2005) and the documentary Forks Over Knives are a great place to start.
Don’t Try to Make the Change All at Once.
Start with baby steps, especially if you currently include meat, fish and dairy in your diet. Just cut out one thing at a time and see how you feel. Or have a Meat Free Monday every week. Alternatively, you could try adding a new vegetable or grain to your menu every week. You may find that after doing some experimenting you want to keep fish and eggs in your diet. Or have the occasional bit of cheese. Or eat plant-based at home but when you go out you have whatever you fancy. There are no rules. Even small changes can make a big difference.
Use the Internet for Recipes.
You will never be short of ideas for plant-based meals. There are literally thousands of recipes on the internet. They include tacos, burgers, chillies, casseroles, pizzas, biscuits; in fact every type of food you can think of. There are sites catering to budget meals, quick meals, entertaining, you name it. One of your biggest challenges will be trying to narrow down all the choices!
Remember you are adding in more than you are taking away.
Don’t focus on the foods you have to give up. Think about what you get to add in. This is the really fun bit. There are so many different plant-based foods out there that you may never have heard of. Quinoa, kale, bulger wheat, garbanzo beans, almond milk, chai seeds, nutritional yeast to name a few. Get experimenting and treat it as an adventure.
Going against conventional thinking can be scary and people are bound to question your choices and sometimes not in a positive way. There are many forums, groups, cafes and societies you can connect with so you feel supported in your new lifestyle.
So why not give it a go. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain including a healthier future and a lifetime full of amazing, yummy food.