by Ri Turner
There is no doubt that eating plant-based is beneficial for your health. For those who are unfamiliar with what eating plant-based looks like, here it is. Plain and simple. A plant-based lifestyle consists of mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes with few or no animal products. I tend to use the word lifestyle versus diet because the word diet insinuates that it is something temporary. The word lifestyle suggests that it is a way of life. And it is (for me at least). The problem is that so many people have no idea where to begin. It’s not hard at all. In fact, it’s super easy. We’ve made it even easier by listing four tips to get you started along with a few of my favorite plant-based alternatives.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Do. Your. Research. Sis. Diving into anything head first, especially a lifestyle change such as a plant-based diet requires research. Now, I’m not saying go read thousands of books but it wouldn’t hurt to read a few credible articles and watch a documentary or two. Some of my favorite resources are The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons and What the Health documentary on Netflix. When you have an understanding of how a simple lifestyle change can improve your entire existence, it easier to sustain said lifestyle.
All photos via @plntbasedprincess
LEARN THE BASICS
A lot of people (and I mean a lot) don’t know what a plant-based diet actually consists of. And that’s okay! Because I’m about to tell you! Understanding the different plant-based food groups can make eating more plants so much easier. A plant-based diet consists of the following food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. If you do a quick google search of the various plant-based food groups, you get endless results! And yes, spices and seasonings are plant-based. Do not forget the flavor when preparing your meals because that’s what good food is all about, right? Flava. Plant-based foods are so versatile. It’s up to you to get creative with it!
MAKE PINTEREST YOUR BESTIE
If I’m not veganizing my meals (transforming traditional meat-based meals into plant-based magic), then I’m on Pinterest. Pinterest is that girl! A simple “plant-based meal ideas” search will get you started, sis. Please keep in mind that everyone’s taste buds are different. I usually find myself adding more spices than what the recipe requires. And if the recipe has an ingredient that you aren’t too fond of, switch it out for something you like or just leave it out completely. Always feel free to tweak recipes as needed to meet your taste requirements! It’s so necessary.
DON'T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
We’re all guilty of being too hard on ourselves. When our minds are focused on the bigger picture, it makes it harder to start small and take one step at a time! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to a plant-based lifestyle. Eating more plants and cutting back on junk food that makes us feel iky is already a great start! Once you get used to doing this, switching to a plant-based lifestyle completely will be a piece of cake. Just take baby steps. Refer to the first three tips. And the rest will follow.
I definitely recommend eating a whole foods plant-based diet but it is all about balance. I am very appreciative of plant-based alternatives because it makes it easier for those who are wanting to transition. Or if you’re like me, and just get flat out lazy sometimes. All in all, these alternatives make being plant-based so much more convenient.
Almond breeze almond milk
Almond breeze dark chocolate almond milk (*warm up on stove top or microwave for hot chocolate alternative)
Oatly Oat milk
So delicious salted caramel cashew ice cream
So delicious coconut yogurt
Earth balance butter
Chao dairy-free cheese
Simple Truth (dairy-free) chocolate chip cookies
Field Roast sausages
Field Roast Frankfurters
Field Roast celebration roast (great for holidays)
Gardein seven grain crispy tenders
Gardein chipotle lime crispy fingers
Gardein beefless ground
Gardein beefless tips
Gardein fishless filets
There are so many more plant-based alternatives. These are just my favorites and brands that I 10 out of 10 recommend. This process will be all about trial and error. So try new things! Stick with the things you like and stay away from the things that you don’t! I hope this makes your plant-based journey a piece of (dairy free) cake! Hehe. (: If you ever have any questions, I’m always happy to help!