I have written about this before on the blog. My youngest son due to allergies has had to move to a plant based diet and we decided as a family to all do the same. We are by no means totally strict nor do we fit into categories of vegan or vegetarian but we aim as much as possible to live by these principals for our own health benefits. I thought I would share some insights into how we managed the move to a more plant based diet.
Without doubt the science around this indicates changing the nutritional value of your diet can have benefits from improving your overall health, to living longer as well as being over all better for the environment.
One of the first tips I would say is to understand what exactly is meant by “plant – based diet“, Wikipedia defines it as is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products. I describe it for us as a move towards it rather than a strict interpretation of it. Like most things in life knowledge is power so take the time to do your research and get to grips with what is meat by a plant based diet.
I take a two pronged approach to how I view the foods:
- Whole foods – in other words foods that have little or no processing done to them. Foods that are as close as possible to their original form.
- Plant foods – As it says – food that is derived from plants.
The core tenant of the plant based diet is little or no processing of your foods to maintain the nutritional content. If in doubt there are resources available to take for example a vegan test for possible nutrient deficiencies that vegans may encounter if their plant-based diet is off-balance. Using good quality supplements can play a huge part here.
I cant stress enough how important it is to do your research and nutritional testing can play an important role too helping you determine where you may be lacking in a key nutrient.
Another tip from my experience is to see its a a movement rather than a flick of switch. We are 3 years into this journey and im still “moving” towards plant based, learning as im going.
One thing that helped me a lot was finding my online tribe, there are lots of social media groups and resources where you can ask questions, seek advice and learn from the information shared. A lot of the advice I read at the outset suggested starting with one meal a day and gradually swaping meals that way, which from experience I think this is great advice.
If I could give one overriding piece of advice I think it would be not to loose heart or sweat the small stuff, if you slip up, you crave something not associated with plant based eating – start over. Its a gradual movement and each small change can have a huge impact on our own health and the wider environment.