If you’re an omnivore who’s ever considered eating a plant-based diet, you may be familiar with that sudden flicker of anxiety. “No meat? No cheese? No bacon and eggs?” Not so fast! There’s a lot more to eating a plant-based diet than meets the eye (no pun intended!). Today, we’ve got three tips for how to enjoy a more plant-based diet.

Get Familiar with Protein Alternatives for the Plant Based Diet 

The first step to switching up your lifestyle is getting familiar with what exactly “plant-based diet” means. A plant-based diet differs from the more rigid vegan or vegetarian labels in that it doesn’t necessarily outright exclude meats or other animal products; rather than eliminating meat, it puts the focus on adding more plant-based foods into your everyday diet.

The good news about this is that “plants” doesn’t just mean lettuce and other vegetables. Nuts, pulses, beans, and their derivatives such as nut butter, nut milk and tofu and tempeh are all 100% plants or plant-based! Squash, root vegetables (yes–that means potatoes!) and vegetable oils are all examples of versatile plants that most people already incorporate in their diets.

The bad news is that, as plant-based lifestyles become increasingly wide-spread, the number of available meat substitutes is skyrocketing. While this isn’t a problem in and of itself, it’s important to make a quick distinction: plant-based doesn’t always mean that a food is healthy or good for your digestion. Many available meat and cheese substitutes, such as veggie burgers, tend to be just as processed as their carnivorous counterparts, and contain just as many preservatives and other dubious ingredients. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional fake chicken nuggets–just make sure to get informed about the pros and cons of fake meat, and make sure to keep eating whole foods as much as possible!

You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be Plant-Based!

Remember, it’s plant-based, not just plants! When you adopt a new diet, it’s natural to feel like you want it to go perfectly right off the bat. This can feel particularly true if you’re considering going plant-based out of ethical or ecological concern. Even so, remember the old expression “don’t let perfect get in the way of good”? If the pressure of going completely plant-based all at once is stopping you from starting at all, consider just trying one day a week.

If you like your one or two plant-based days per week, then you can consider ramping up–all at once, if you really enjoy your new way of eating, or incrementally, as you get used to the lifestyle. An added bonus of this method is getting to adjust your body to a new way of eating. Depending on your doctor’s advice, you may also consider looking into supplements typically consumed by people who eat a totally plant-based diet, such as vitamin B12.

Get Some Good Recipes Under Your Belt 

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes the well-intentioned foodies on the road to a plant-based diet make is not having enough recipes under their belt! You don’t want to find yourself surviving on the same two meals over and over again, or worse, picking your way through flavorless rice and beans on repeat! 

Whether you gradually make the switch or you jump right into eating plant-based foods, do your research and find a good rotation of recipes that you can perfect, put your own spin on, and enjoy. Whether it’s plant-based spins on old classics like a vegan bolognese, or a plant-based dish on its own starring squash, or even beans, a solid knowledge of the tastiest plant-based recipes will allow you to enjoy every meal as much as possible.

Even if you’re not much of a cook, it’s also a good idea to have plant-based staples and sauces on-hand to dress up everyday meals – one of the best ways to stick to a new way of eating, after all, is to truly enjoy it. Pasta sauces, oils, and seasonings are all great items to have on hand to make even the simplest dishes more exciting!

For more inspiration on incorporating gut-friendly, flavorful staples into your plant-based diet, check out Fody’s products today!

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