OK, so first off – I’m not a medical professional, nor a nutritionist, nor an expert by any means. This is just what’s worked for me (so far) and I’m hoping maybe others will find it helpful too.
So, some books will tell you to jump into being vegan. Throw every animal product out and start your new life!
But, change is hard, so here are my tips to best transition into a “plant-strong” way of eating.
1) Do your research. As you embark on this journey, it’s important to educate yourself. I’ve read some great books and seen some great movies over the past few months that are inspirational and educational.
- Eat to Live (Dr. Joel Fuhrman)
- 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart (Dr. Neal Barnard)
- Skinny Bitch (Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin)
- The Kind Diet (Alicia Silverstone)
- Forks Over Knives – movie
- Food Inc. – movie
2) Dip your toe in the vegan pool. First get a few go-to recipes under your belt. When I first read “Eat to Live” I was so excited to get started in this new way of eating. . .but I had no clue what I was doing. I was very much in the mindset of “well, what do I replace chicken with? What do I replace beef with? And I was overwhelmed by all the types of fruits, veggies and grains and didn’t know where to start in throwing a recipe together. But, I did some research, read blogs (check out my blogroll for suggestions) and got a few easy go-to recipes under my belt.
3) Arm yourself with cookbooks. I have to follow a recipe. I can’t just go in the kitchen and make magic happen. I LOVE cookbooks, always have, and there are a plethora (I love that word) of Vegan cookbooks out there. Some recommendations are below. BUT, don’t throw out your non-vegan cookbooks. Some recipes can be adapted.
- Happy Herbivore (Lindsay Nixon)
- Appetite for Reduction (Isa Chandra Moscowitz)
- The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook (John A. McDougall M.D. and Mary McDougall)
- 30 Minute Vegan (Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray)
4) Dive in. Once you are comfortable with cooking plant-strong meals, THEN you clean out the fridge. Say goodbye to cow’s milk, cry over the block of brie that you are giving away, invite some meateaters over to eat your last hamburger patties and chicken breasts. Then, take a trip to the farmer’s market, or whole foods and buy some staple products.
5) PLAN AHEAD. I plan out what we are going to be eating each week, and shop accordingly. If I know we are going to be eating out, I look at the menu online to figure out what’s friendly for me to eat. You’ll be suprised that options aren’t that limited. Mexican, Italian, Indian, Ethiopian, and Thai restaurants usually have vegan options. I’ve been able to find a veggie burger at most pubs we frequent (I hear The Local has an amazing veggie burger). This great restaurant down the street from our house does a wonderful bean bowl, and I just ask them to hold the sour cream and cheese. Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. Again, use the internet for research and google vegan-friendly restaurants in your city.
In my next post, I’ll tackle some of the “myths” about plant-strong/vegan eating.