Last year, I went to a conference on Nutrition in Medicine and heard a doctor say that what you eat is five times more important than your genes. That is powerful motivation to help us realize the importance of paying more attention to what we are eating. The evidence that a whole food plant-based diet (centered around fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans) can help prevent and reverse many chronic diseases is compelling, and simply adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can make a positive change in your health. Whether you decide to go all in or just move more toward eating more plants, you have many options for getting started.
One way to get started is by experimenting with swapping in plant-based foods. One of the easiest changes to make is exchanging dairy for plant-based milk and yogurt. There are a lot of different varieties available, so you should be able to find something you like. You can also experiment with some of the plant-based meat products. Almost any kind of meat has a plant alternative available, although be careful here because these products are highly processed. Choose whole grain varieties of bread, rice and pasta, and add in an extra serving of fruits and vegetables every day.
The next strategy is to think about meals, days or categories of food. When you think about meals, you can start by revamping your breakfast to be plant-based. Once you master breakfast, then work on centering lunch around plants, and so on until you have all your meals replaced with plant-based options. Another technique is to rework your meals on certain days. Join the “Meatless Monday” movement, and then try to add more days that are meatless, such as “Try to eat veggies Tuesday” and “We eat plants Wednesday”. One way that I transitioned to a plant-based diet was to eliminate what I think of as categories of food. I decided to stop eating mammals, then I cut out birds, and finally fish. I learned to center a meal around plant-based options instead of what kind of meat we were having.
Another option is to go “all in”. There are several books and programs available that will help you get started. The Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (pcrm.org), has a 21 day jumpstart available, and they provide meal ideas and motivation. A simple Google search can help you find a program that might be right for you. Stay tuned to my website for an upcoming online class that will help you design your own personalized meal plan for making the transition.
It took me years to fully transition to a whole food plant-based diet, and I am so glad that I did. I have seen such an improvement in my health that I wish I had moved faster. I would love to help you on your journey. Visit my website for recipe ideas and inspiration: www.eat4healthllc.com.