My name is John Cawley and I am the founder of www.plantbasedlie,com.au, in this article I am going to give my advice on the best way to transition to a Plant Based Lifestyle. When I started this journey 6 years ago I wish there were the amount of resources and food options that our now available.
I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but have learned a lot, and here are my recommendations when getting started on this journey;
1. The first important step on this journey is to cut down on processed food. When you decide to eat better food for your health the key is to focus on whole foods as close to nature intended as possible.
2. You need to get your greens in, dark leafy greens have an abundance of nutrients to enhance our health. Whether you steam, sauté or blend them into a green Smoothie, don't hold back, get as many leafy greens in as you can!. Not only are leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and rocket bursting with vitamins and minerals, but they also help detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, and fight disease.
3. I find that the best way to get greens in when starting out on this lifestyle is to start getting in a daily green smoothie. A good example would be a smoothie made up of the following ingredients; a cup of spinach leaves, a banana, tablespoon ground flaxseed and Coconut water.
4. While you are transitioning and getting more plants on your plate. you can eat the mock meat products and other meat and dairy substitutes if that helps you replace the foods you may find hard to give up. But you don’t want to become reliant on these types of foods long term, the aim is to replace these with whole food plant based choices to thrive on this lifestyle.
5. You will make mistakes and you will eat foods you’ll probably feel bad about. If you make an unhealthy food choice, don’t scourge yourself. It doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t make you a failure. Remember the big picture, observe how you feel, and get back on track when you’re ready.
6. This is not a diet. Diets are about calorie counting, scales, deprivation, and two to three weeks of suffering before you can go back to your cookie jar. This is a lifestyle. It's a gradual, permanent shift toward a new way of nourishing yourself and improving your overall health and wellbeing.
In my own experience it was extremely beneficial to do occasional juice cleanses and this has multiple benefits. A juice cleanse over a period of time helps detoxify internal organs, gives digestion a break, promotes healing and provides an abundance of nutrients. I will stress that if you have any underlying health conditions then get advice from a healthcare professional before undertaking one.
It is also extremely important to get a full count blood test done regularly, either every 6 months or once annually. But I would stress getting a full blood test done when you start on your Plant Based journey and then get it done 6 months later and check all the levels. There are many benefits of eating plant based but if you have Diabetes type 2 or heart disease, you will certainly get big benefits as your cholesterol levels will lower and placque around your arteries will lower.. There are numerous scientific studies showing how Plant Based foods improve heart disease and diabetes type 2.
Overall health is heavily influenced by what you choose to eat, but for optimism health you also need to implement regular exercise and mindfulness techniques like meditation and Breathwork.
Enjoy the journey, and well done on making the best choice for your health, the planet and the welfare of animals :)