It seems as though right now, following a plant based diet is the latest trend. It’s the “cool” thing to do and it’s not only saving animals lives, but it’s saving your life as well!
I went vegan in 2008, when vegan was a word that only hipsters used. I have to admit, I had never heard of a vegan before the day I decided to make the change (!!!!!). It was difficult to find plant based products unless you were in a specialty grocery store or vegan restaurant and if I was coming home from work late at night and needed some almond or soy milk for my cereal the next morning, it wasn’t happening, because those speciality grocery stores weren’t open anymore.
Now I find milk alternatives at my local Shopper’s Drug Mart or gas station. I find an entire organic section filled with vegan options at the IGA or Provigo or Metro grocery store. Even restaurants like the Keg Steakhouse has vegetarian and vegan options now! Making the switch to a plant based diet in 2018 is extremely easy and more accessible than ever!
Some people decide to make the change for health reasons, they have read the research about plant based diets and they see that it can reduce your risk of cancer, reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce your risk of diabetes and plant based foods have no cholesterol, meaning that one who eats a vegan diet will never suffer from high cholesterol.
There are some of you that want to make the change for a purely environmental reason. You want to do your part to lower your carbon footprint, save water and ensure environmental sustainability.
Than there are the compassionate souls that want to save animals. You don’t want to cause pain or suffering to any living being.
And, as far as I know, there is one more reason for making the change to a plant based diet, and that’s purely for nutritional purposes. It’s simply healthier. Vegans eat more fibre, fruits and vegetables, therefore getting more vitamins and minerals into their body. Vegans also don’t eat saturated fat and their protein comes from clean sources, free of antibiotics and chemicals.
Whatever your reason for deciding to follow a plant based diet, here are some tips to help you get started!!
- Start by adding more plant based foods to the foods you already eat. Maybe you can add more vegetables to your dinner plate, or replace ground beef with veggie ground beef in your lasagna, or use almond milk in your smoothie instead of cow’s milk. For one meal a day, add more plant based foods, and slowly let that grow each day.
- Know your plants. Educate yourself on different vegetables and fruits at the market. There are so many fresh and colourful options available to us. Do your research on them and learn how to prepare them.
- Eliminate one animal based food at a time. If you don’t eat eggs very often, eliminate that completely. Don’t like fish? Don’t bother buying it anymore.
- Find alternatives for your favourite foods. Do you love cheese and can’t imagine your life without it? Try some nut cheese. Zengerry and Miyoko’s vegan cheeses are my favourite. I have literally changed peoples lives when they try Zengerry’s double cream cheese wheel. There are so many other companies making vegan cheese as well. Check them out and find your favourite! It will make ditching “cheese cheese” a lot easier.
- Explore vegan cookbooks and blogs. My favourites are OhSheGlows.com and her cookbooks. Ohsheglows was my introduction into plant based eating. I found her website the day after going vegan and it made my transition so much easier. Other cookbooks that I used at the beginning of my vegan adventure were The Kind Diet, Forks over Knifes, Eat Drink Be Vegan, Skinny Bitch Cookbook and La Dolce Vegan.
- Find like-minded people. It’s always easier to start a transition like this with a group of friends or family. These people can help hold you accountable for your choices and they can inspire you and motivate you to stay on the path that you’ve set out for yourself. If you can’t find people in your social circle, look online to vegan forums and blogs.
- Meal plan!! It’s easier to stay organized when you have a plan. Spend your Sunday organizing your food for the week. Cut up fruits and vegetables and keep them in your fridge, on hand for when you need them. Cook a big bowl of quinoa and keep it on your fridge for lunches and dinners. Prepare smoothies and overnight oats for breakfast and keep them in the fridge so you can grab them as your running out the door in the morning! Make a batch of your favourite cookies for your mid day snack! Just be organized and prepared. It makes the process so much easier and enjoyable.
- When you go to the grocery store, go to the produce section, and the organic wholefoods section. Almost every grocery store now has a small organic section. You can find everything you need in these areas. No need to go through the other aisles and feel temptation. You don’t need that stuff.
Good luck on your journey! Stay patient with yourself and stay positive. It’s fun to change your life, and be part of a change and a movement that will help save the environment and save our furry animal friends!