7 tips for starting a plant based diet
Making a change from meat is a move many find hard to stick to. Here’s what you need to know to help make the change successful.
Plant-based diets have a whole host of benefits, not just for hungry humans but for the planet we live on, too.
There are plenty of reasons to increase your consumption of foods derived from plants. These sorts of diets are common to regions that boast the world’s longest living people. Furthermore, intensive farming practices associated with raising animals for food contributes to greenhouse gas emission and is unsustainable in its current form. Who wouldn’t consider opting out of that a good idea?
Aside from these compelling arguments, a plant-based diet can also save you money. (It’s also much, much kinder to animals, let’s be frank.)
If you’re ready to go vego, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Starting a whole new approach to food can be quite the education, with your usual go-to meals cast-aside for health promoting, but unfamiliar, new recipes.
There is absolutely no need to let this turning over of a (literal) new leaf have you feeling confused, however. We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to making it work – AND making a delicious meal of it in the process.
1. Get a check up and chat to your doctor
It’s always a brilliant idea to begin any big health- promoting shift with a visit to your trust GP or favoured health professional. Not only can they give you the once over and declare you form fit, they often have helpful advice that’ll steer you in the right direction.
2. Invest in some great cookbooks
While the internet offers a wealth of nutrition and health focused information, sometimes it’s just too much and it’s impossible to see the forest for the (leafy, green) trees. Head to your favourite bookshop and flip through some plant-promoting cookbooks from trusty sources. Aaron Brunet’s recipes on bite.co.nz are also a good place to start.
3. Plan those meals
Once you’ve got your inspiration sorted, it’s time to meal plan. Not only will that avoid the dreaded dirty dial-in an empty fridge often prompts, it’ll give you a clearer picture of what you’re putting into your body and how healthy and balanced it is.
4. Shop weekly and shop well
Now that you’re meal planning like a boss, you can save time and money by buying all your staples in one go, ensuring that you have all your required ingredients on hand.
It’s a good idea to shop more than once a week for fruit and vegetables, so that they are as fresh and nutrient-rich as possible. Make time to pick the cream of the crop at least a couple of times a week, daily if you can manage it.
This also really helps to avoid the increasingly worrying issue of food wastage.
5. Stay hydrated
Dietary changes almost always result in accompanying changes to the way your body functions. Be sure to stay well hydrated with plenty of water or herbal tea, but steer clear of drinks high in sugar.
6. Be nutrient smart
Switching to a plant-based diet is an even greater idea when you optimize your nutrition with helpful plant properties in mind. Take the time to research the goodness within your favourite fruit and vegetables and aim to super-charge your diet with a nutrient-packed balance.
Don’t stick to the usual suspects when it comes to dinnertime. Have a thorough rustle about at your local Farmer’s Market or produce supplier, check out what’s in season and take home some unfamiliar fruit and vege friends. You never know, celeriac or daikon might be your very favourite new thing!
Happy new leafy life!