If you’ve been living under a rock, perhaps you’ve missed the new documentary on Netflix entitled “What The Health”. This food/healthy living documentary sheds light on the link between food, disease, and industrial farming.

“What The Health” does a great job of shocking the system. Many people had no idea the foods we consume were capable of causing such harm. While I appreciate these types of documentaries (Food Inc, Forks over Knives, etc) for sharing this jarring info, I feel they don’t do a great job informing viewers HOW to make healthy changes.

After watching “What The Health”, you may feel inspired to decrease meat and dairy consumption or transition to a  plant-based diet + lifestyle. These documentaries offer veganism as the solution to diet related illness, but jumping into a plant-based or vegan diet cold turkey is hard! I transitioned to a 30-day high raw vegan diet, so trust me I’ve felt this pain too. Below find tips on transitioning to a more plant-based or vegan diet.

Decide Your Why

Why do you want to make a change in your diet? Do you want to feel better? Decrease your risk of illness? Not support the harsh treatment of animals? Reduce your environmental impact? Getting clear on your why is the motivator that helps you make a lifestyle change. The decision to become plant-based or incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet is personal. Understanding your personal reason creates the foundation for commitment.

Get A Plan

Planning ahead is paramount to success with a new plant-based diet. It’s difficult to change the way you grocery shop so it’s best to be prepared. Make a plan and give yourself enough time to explore while shopping! Plan recipes before heading to the store or even use a pre-prepped meal plan. Many health food stores carry specialty vegetarian and vegan items but traditional grocery stores have responded to the explosion of consumer health consciousness by increasing their healthy, non-GMO, and organic selections as well.

Start With What You Like

Eat the plant foods you like. Ease into the transition by increasing snacking on fruits, nuts, and veggies you already eat. Create salads and meals around the foods you enjoy. The easiest way to eliminate something from your diet is to add more of what you like to it! Consider making healthy swaps for things you love by trying meatless or vegan versions of your favorite meals. Additionally, include more smoothies, green juices, kombuchas, and teas!

Fill Up on Grains + Potatoes

Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t mean salads only! My personal favorite quick meal consists of bowl + grains + veggies + dressing. Grains like brown rice, quinoa, or farrow make a great base for colorful veggies like kale, beets, carrots, you name it! There’s endless variety possible so get creative. Potatoes, a filling and hearty staple, can also make a great meal base! Many restaurants offer Buddha or Grain Bowls with potatoes and different grains so give one a try or make one at home!

Quick Vegan Breakfast Bowl

Quick Vegan Breakfast Bowl

Whole Foods > Processed Foods

Beware of marketing tactics! Just because something is labeled “Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan” does not make it good for you.  An easy rule of thumb is to avoid packaged foods as they’re typically processed. To eat a more plant-based diet, strive to consume whole foods including fresh, local produce. The closer food is to its natural state, the less likely artificial ingredients + preservatives are present.

Quality Over Quantity

If you’re going to consume animal products, become conscious of what you’re consuming. Choosing animals that were raised humanely is best. Local meats and wild-caught fish are better than industrial farm raised. Eat less of these foods, but better if you choose to. The old adage “you are what you eat” rings true. Whenever you eat, you are consuming more than just calories because you are also consuming the energetic profile of the food. Whether you eat living plant based food or meat, the energy of the food becomes a part of you. Ingesting the sadness, sickness, and suffering of commercially farmed animals is not the best route to feeling good. Whereas, eating plant-based living foods can help you feel more vibrant, healthy, and alive.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

You don’t have to be 100% vegan to eat a more plant-based diet. Life is all about balance. What the Health makes the claim that “everything in moderation” isn’t true and animal products should be avoided always. While sounding good in theory, in practice this isn’t possible for most people. Don’t feel the pressure to be all or nothing. ANY changes you make towards living a healthier life are to be celebrated. It’s okay leave space to indulge in desserts, or tacos, or whatever your guilty pleasure! Life is too short to not eat the cupcake. Find friends or colleagues who share similar food views and create a support system for yourself.

When you eat better, you feel better. If you don’t believe it, try it for yourself! Eating more plant-based foods has no downside but before undertaking a major diet change, consult with your doctor or nutritionist. I hope this info helps you on your journey!