Saturday, October 8, 2016

So you want to change your diet?

On October 25th of this year will be my families one year anniversary into a vegan/plant based diet. This is the longest we've ever ate a certain way and we don't see ourselves turning back. I want to share with you my top tips for becoming a vegan/plant eater but first, lets learn the difference between being plant based vs being vegan.

Plant based is "diet of any animal (including humans)based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.

Vegan is "a person who does not eat or use animal products." 

Technically my family and I are not vegans. I ended up using the term simply because the majority of people know that vegan means you don't consume animals. I use the term vegan and plant based interchangeably but I'm trying to make an effort not to. We still own leather shoes and use local honey during allergy season. We don't consume or use any other animal products but those were things I wasn't willing to throw away for the sake of calling myself a vegan.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, here are my top 5 tips!

1. Listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone, you live in it daily! If something makes you sick, don't eat it. If something makes you feel great, keep it up. There is no one size fits all diet. Don't fall into the hype that to eat plant based or vegan that you must eat what everyone else eats.

2. Learn easy swaps for meat and dairy for your favorite recipes. This is pretty self explanatory and a lot easier than you'd think. I added our personal favorites to this chart. There are a ton more, these just happen to be the ones we use and like. Although listed, I attempt to not buy a lot of the faux meats and cheeses because it can get expensive fast. I forgot to add it to the list but one word, OREOS!

3. Find yourself a good support system. I'd like to think that most people we come across in life have good intentions and mean well but sometimes they can say things that make you second guess your decision. Not everyone will understand why you're choosing to eat this way and that's okay. Find like minded friends to share recipes with and just for overall support. There are some great groups on Facebook as well a plethora of recipes to find on Pinterest.

4. Number 4 piggy backs a little on number 3. Develop tough skin and stay strong in your decision. Remember those well meaning people we were discussing? Sometimes they'll tell you flat out that you're going to get sick and die because we need protein to live. Then you may be asked a million times where do you plan on getting your protein. If your kids happen to eat the same, then sometimes people may think that you're a horrible parent because you're depriving your kids from meat. People read those scary stories about how a vegan parent only fed their kid nuts and seeds so they assume that that's how all vegans/plant eaters must eat. It's obviously not true. You have a decision to make. You can choose to educate them or you can just ignore it and move on. Don't make it bigger than what it needs to be. 

5. Keep an open mind and redefine your palate. Even if it seems weird, try the pizza without cheese. Be adventurous! You'd be surprised at what you like when you just try it. Believe it or not, you eventually forget about what it tasted like before and you'll likely have no desire at all to go back to it. 

6. Bonus! I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist but it doesn't take a trained professional to know that if you eat a vegan/plant based diet that consist of only junk food you're likely to feel like crap. A balanced diet is a balanced diet whether you're eating meat or not. 

So there you have it! These are the things that has helped my family be successful this past year. Even if you decide that going vegan or plant based is not for you, I encourage you to check back often for the recipes I plan to share. They're great for if you need to make a meal stretch or maybe just want to go meatless a few days a week. Until then, happy eating!

**As a disclaimer I want to say again that I am not a doctor or nutritionist.  None of what I'm sharing should be used in place of a doctor to diagnose or treat any condition. I'm simply sharing how my family changed our eating. Please use your best judgement when making this decision for yourself!**

1 comment:

  1. I love this post!!!!!! Great info for those looking into other options for food.