Guide to Get Started with a Plant-Based Diet

There is a lot to be said about the vegan approach to healthy eating. If you’re curious, these tips will get you started.

If you are trying to decide how to start a vegan diet, look no further. As someone who has been feeding on plants for over a decade, I have a few clues. When I started my vegan journey, there wasn’t as much information as there is today. The websites and social media accounts I found were usually from people who only ate fruit-and mountains. (There’s nothing wrong with fruit, but it’s only part of a vegan diet.) It took several trials and errors to achieve a balanced plant-based diet. I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it will help other people who are trying to switch to plant food to do it a little easier.

PREPARATION IS THE KEY


It may seem obvious, but preparation is the basis of any transition to lifestyle. You need to take the time to prepare if you want to start and maintain a vegan diet. If the thought of preparing meals is daunting for you, you should at least consider cooking preparation. Cooking preparation is about taking stock of what you have and what you need. There are several categories of foods that are highlighted in most vegan cookbooks as essential for preparing plant-based meals, including the following ingredients.

* Legumes: Saturate and ground legumes. They provide your diet with protein and fiber. Some common vegan favorites include chickpeas, black beans, lentils, Adzuka beans, peas, Fava beans, pinto beans, Far North beans, kidney beans, and soybeans.

* Mylks: These are traditional dairy alternatives and include options such as oats, rice, hemp, almond, cashew, Soy, Macadamia, hazelnut and coconut.

* Oils: If you’re not going the raw vegan route, you’ll probably need a few nourishing oil options in your kitchen cabinet. Some of the typical oils are coconut, avocado, olive, sesame, sunflower and vegan butter.”

* Products: One of the pleasures of a vegan diet is learning to eat in Season. If possible, buy local products from the farmers’ market. If you don’t have access to one, you can always buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the supermarket.

* Protein: In addition to the proteins of legumes and legumes, you can include Tempeh, Seitan and Tofu in your Rotation. In addition, many plants contain (to a greater and to a lesser extent) proteins.

* Seeds and Nuts: Whether you put seeds on your salads to get crispy protein or plan to eat nuts as a snack, this category is essential. I change regularly with chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews and Brazil nuts. Tahini (a buttery spread made with sesame seeds) is also a must.

* Starches: Starches can help you survive your day if you make them a balanced part of your diet. It is useful to stock up on rice (brown, Jasmine, Basmati or game), Quinoa, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and Seitan (wheat gluten).

Sweeteners: Not all vegans eat honey, but some choose to eat it with other options like agave syrup, coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses and stevia.

* Spices: Some of my personal favorites are nutritional yeast, black salt, truffle salt, and vegetable broth. Of course, it is also useful to have traditional spices like turmeric, cumin and fresh herbs in your kitchen.

Options to consider
Although these are not technically necessary to eat vegan, many people supplement whole foods with the following.

* Adaptogens: you can often hear this buzzword recently and for good reason. Adaptogens are ancient remedies that come back to life for the current generation as a dietary supplement to relieve stress and strengthen immunity. Some adaptogens that may be worth adding to your diet are Ashwagandha, Maca, Reishi, Schisandra and Tulsi.

* Vitamins: This is a category that is best discussed with your doctor. Often, those who follow a plant-based diet benefit from taking B-12, but consult your doctor first.

CREATE YOUR OVERLAP
Finding balance — with your diet and lifestyle- is a constant search. It’s really about what you want: your goals and intentions. If you want to start a vegan diet, there are countless tools available to help you make the change in a balanced way, starting by stocking your kitchen with the items above.

Plant-based food has personally brought me inner peace. It helped me slow down and appreciate the abundance of food in Season and helped me manage my sweet tooth for life, something I never thought I could do. And it helped me learn how to feed myself and the people I love.

Of course, there is always more to learn. The preparation list is simply a tool to get you started. Don’t you feel like you have to do a complete overhaul in a weekend, unless that’s your style. (In this matter, put on a couple of comfortable sweats and do it.) But if you want to ease your way to a vegan diet — or a new food trend – you can just buy a few items from the List with each purchase.

I have vegan friends who have changed their lifestyle after watching an eye-opening documentary, including replacing their leather shoes with vegans. I also have friends who are vegan and participate in weekly meat-free montages. And I have friends who don’t care about changing the way they eat, but occasionally buy vegan snacks to throw in their workout bags. No matter where you are today, there is room to explore and tools to help you find your balance.