How To Successfully Transition to a Plant-Based Diet

New Year. New You.

Isn’t that how the story goes?

Whether you vow to drink more water, learn a new skill, or start saving money, January is an excellent time to set some goals and make new commitments.

You’ve read Why Studies Are Showing That 2018 Is Going To Be The Biggest Year YET For Plant-Based Diets and you’re ready to commit. You’ve decided you want to LOOK better, FEEL better and DO better!

So where do you start?

Well, we’ve been there and we know change isn’t always easy. That’s why in this post we fully break down the steps you’ll need to take to make your transition to a fully plant-based diet a successful one. Let’s get started:

Start With A Positive Mindset

Attitude is everything! Set yourself up for success by approaching this journey with an optimistic outlook. Don’t look at it as what you are losing, but what you are gaining and how you are approving.

Educate Yourself On The POWER Of Eating Plants

What’s your reason for moving toward a plant-based diet?

Is it the health benefits? Social impact? Environmental impact?

If you haven’t thought about it, now is the time. You’re much more likely to stick with your plan if there’s a purpose behind it. Read 20 Reasons Why Becoming Vegan Will Make Your Life More Awesome for some initial inspiration.

Set Small Goals And Stick With Them

As with anything new, one step at a time is all it takes.

Set small goals to stay focused.

You don’t need to shock your system or set yourself up to fail by thinking change NEEDS to happen overnight. Instead, set yourself up with the best possible chance at success by aiming for attainable intervals and celebrating when you reach them (see Reward Yourself For Small Accomplishments below).

One small technique that we’ve seen work really well for people transitioning to a plant based diet is embracing meatless mornings. What is a meatless morning?

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Quitting anything cold turkey is often a recipe for disaster. Instead, ease into your new lifestyle by committing to have one meat-free meal a day— like breakfast. This is what we mean when we say set small goals. Click here to order your first 30 meatless morning ideas to get you started.

Using this guide, you can cut that down to only eating meat 2-3 times a week and then 1-2 times a month until you’re comfortable. Eventually, you will see that you really don’t need meat to survive and can be 100% fueled by plants.

Everyone’s timeline is different so don’t focus so much on how long it takes; instead, focus on the small accomplishments as they all lead to your end objective.

Eat More Of The Plant-Based Dishes You Already Enjoy

Do you love avocado toast? Make that in the morning when you might otherwise reach for an egg. Love hummus? Eat more. Love sweet potato? Eat more.

Double down on your favorites. Trust me… You might be surprised how many of your favorite dishes are already plant based, or at least vegetarian.

Start By Incorporating More Veggies Into Your Diet

Have you tried a stir fry without meat?

Have you tried a lentil burger?

Choose the plant based option when one is available.

In your pad thai, choose tofu instead of chicken or beef. At your favorite pita joint, choose falafel instead of grilled meat. Though you may have overlooked these options in the past, there are plenty of great options out there for you to stay full and satisfied.

Stop Eating The Meat Dishes You Don’t Really Love

As you fill yourself up on veggies, you’ll naturally desire less of other foods, but why don’t you also help your progress by eliminating the animal-based food you don’t particularly enjoy.

Tired of having that same old bologna sandwich at lunch, day after day? Maybe decide that you’ll no longer purchase processed meat. Yes it’s convenient, but is it worth it when you know that many of these meats have been linked to cancer?

Instead, plan ahead and stock your fridge with leftovers (see Meal Plan/Food Prep, below).

Read The Labels To Keep Track Of Everything

A big part of this journey is about being conscious. It’s important to always be aware of what you’re putting into your body.

Take some time and explore the different sections of your grocery store— there are plenty different foods out there you probably had no idea even existed!

And in the early days, when you do choose to consume meat, go for ethically-raised, non-modified options.

Learn How To Craft Alternatives To Your Favourite Dishes

Do you live for jerk chicken? How about lasagna? When you begin to follow a plant-based diet you learn how to get creative real quick! How can you alter your favourite dish to be plant-based? Use beans instead of meat, aquafaba instead of egg, avocado instead of butter…

Don’t worry, plants give you all the protein you need!

Explore Different Recipes That You’ve Never Tried

Don’t get caught in a lull. Once you have the basics down and have a few tried and true dishes under your belt, go out and explore! Try a new cookbook. Browse Pinterest and YouTube. There’s endless inspiration out there from people who’ve long been in the game!

Veganism is no longer a trend, this is a choice for SO many.

More and more chains are catching on and new niche restaurants are popping up nationwide. There are more options out there than you may think.

Embrace Meal Plans and Food Prep

Usually cook for two?

Cook for four instead and have enough left over for lunch. Do this consistently and you’ll never be scrambling for what to eat, which usually leads to a bad decision and a trip to the nearest fast food joint. Find yourself getting lazy midweek? Make meals on Sunday that you can freeze for later use.

Keep healthy snacks on hand, like these Health Warrior Chia Bars, for when you’re out running errands or need a mid-morning pick-me-up. Keep your pantry stocked with nuts and your fridge with fresh fruit and you’ll never go hungry!

Have A Friend Hold You Accountable

It’s usually easier to work toward something when you’re working at it with a partner. While your friend may not be in the same place as you in wanting to move to a fully plant-based diet, having his/her support can make all the difference!

Open up to your friend and ask him/her to check in and make sure you’re completing those small goals you’ve set for yourself. Knowing you have someone other than yourself to answer to when you slip up can help keep you on track.

Note: If you don’t have any friends who embrace the plant based lifestyle. There are THOUSANDS of Facebook Groups you should consider joining.  

Reward Yourself For Small Accomplishments

When you do reach those checkpoints, grab that same friend and celebrate! Reward yourself with something that brings you joy and keep it going! An achievement is no time to slow down, but the perfect time to amp things up!

Connect With Other Like-Minded People

Join a support group— Facebook has tons! Check for local meetups, find an online forum, and chat with those who have been on or are currently on the same journey as you. Talking to someone who understands what you’re going through is so refreshing!

Introduce Supporting Habits

Don’t forget— it’s not all about the food. If you make it all about the food, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Instead, you need to think of the food as one part of a lifestyle shift to being a healthier and happier you.

Think about your fitness. Be mindful of how many steps you take and incorporate some exercise into your day.  Think about your state of mind. Take some time to meditate or practice yoga!

Follow these steps and you’ll be living your best life in no time!

For additional help, check out our 2018 Plant-Based Lifestyle Starter Kit for more tools and tricks to get you started.