Today we're talking about one of my absolute favorite topics: plant-based living!
I began my plant-based journey in my early 20's after reading the book Skinny Bitch - I basically became a vegetarian overnight. From there, I eventually transitioned into a vegan lifestyle after realizing that cheese / dairy was not making my skin or digestive system happy (if you're interested in learning more about my plant-based journey, leave a comment below!).
Whether you're thinking of incorporating a plant-based lifestyle into your life or you're just curious about where to begin, I want to talk to you today about five things that, based on my own experience, are necessary when starting to live a plant-based lifestyle.
KNOW YOUR WHY
As with any change that you want to make to your lifestyle, it's really important to understand why you're doing it or wanting to make that change. Maybe it's an ethical issue for you and you don't like how animals are treated for the sake of our food supply. Maybe you're just looking to switch things up with how you're currently eating or maybe you're just looking to get more fruits and veggies into your life. Whatever it is, understand why you're doing it to begin with. If you don't have an intention or reason for doing something, chances are, the change isn't going to last.
Change can be really overwhelming, especially if it's in an area that you might not be super familiar with. When it comes to living a plant-based lifestyle, start small. Meatless Mondays have become really popular lately and with good reason: they're a simple and easy way to get in the habit of incorporating more plant-based meals into your weekly routine. Start by picking one day + one meal during the week where you eat totally meat-free. From there, you can work your way up to having one day of your week be entirely plant-based and eventually even a few days / week. BONUS: start with meals that you / your family are already familiar with. For example, if Sundays are always pasta with meat sauce, try having your spaghetti with a meatless marinara sauce or a personal favorite in the summertime: a pesto sauce. 99.99% of meals out there today can be made as a plant-based version and still taste really good! And if you need recipe ideas / help, let me know in the comments below!
Do your research and find recipes that are interesting, appealing and most of all easy for you to make. Then, take some time on Sunday (or whenever you plan for your week) to grocery shop and plan out your plant-based meal(s). Make sure that you're stocked up on everything that you need so that you're prepped, ready to go and have zero excuses! Set yourself up for success! If you're going out to dinner, look up the menu ahead of time to see what plant-based options are available to you so that you're not overwhelmed when it comes time to order your meal.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP
This is my favorite tip because it was something that I struggled with when I was first starting out transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. Whenever I went out to eat at a restaurant or go over to someone's house for dinner, I hated telling people that I was (at that time) vegetarian because I always felt like I was inconveniencing people. I felt guilty that a different meal would have to be prepared for me at a dinner party or that I had specific requests for my meal when dining out. But eventually I got over it by realizing that it's my body that has to process this meal. I'm the one that has to eat it, digest it, etc. and if it wasn't making me feel good or working well for me, I was the one that had to suffer the consequences. So, don't be afraid to let people know that you're plant-based or that you have a dietary restriction.
HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY / SYSTEM
Tell your friends and your family that you're doing this! You're much more likely to stick to change or new behaviors when you have someone else helping to keep you accountable. Loop your friends into this new endeavor and offer to share recipes that you've enjoyed cooking! Have your roommate, partner, family, etc participate in Meatless Mondays with you. Host a dinner party or potluck and encourage your guests to bring a plant-based dish to pass around. The more people you have around you to support you, the easier you'll find this change to be. I also think it's really important to note that not everyone will agree with / understand your decision to incorporate more of a plant-based lifestyle and guess what: that's okay. When you're faced with people who don't agree with your lifestyle choices, it's always great to come back to your why and keep an open mind throughout your journey. Offer to answer any questions they might have, but don't feel the need to defend what you're doing just because they might not agree. All that matters is that you're happy with your decision and making changes in your life that are best for YOU!
Do you have any questions about becoming plant-based? Leave a comment below!