I have been on a plant-based vegan diet for about 5 months now and I am obsessed with my new balanced lifestyle. To be honest, I started this lifestyle change because after my first semester of college I gained a bunch of weight and I was determined to lose it. I have lost all of the weight I gained and then some! I would recommend a plant-based diet to everyone, not just those that are trying to drop a couple of pounds because it promotes a healthy mindset around eating. I never count calories anymore instead I listen to my body. I used to drive myself crazy counting my calorie intake and worrying about gaining weight, but now I eat whole foods full of nutrients and I listen to whatever my body is trying to tell me I need. Here are some tips for people who are thinking about making the transition:
- Stop Eating Out. Honestly, cutting meat and dairy out of your diet is so easy if you just eat at home. Part of the reason the transition was so easy for me is that I had already given up eating out for Lent, so all I had to do was stop buying meat and dairy and start buying whole foods.
- Don’t focus on the things you’re missing out on. When people go vegan a lot of times they focus on what they are giving up and not the positive effects that being vegan has on their body. Then they look for replacements and that can get frustrating and expensive. The best thing to do (in my opinion) is to try and cook from scratch and avoid all of the vegan junk food that is replacing the junk food you used to eat. Not only is this food not healthy, but it also is going to make you compare it to the junk food you used to eat.
- Avoid adding tofu to everything. When I first went vegan I added tofu to everything. I love tofu so much I could eat it raw, but I was getting a bit excessive. This was mainly because I kept hearing everyone tell me I wasn’t going to get enough protein and that I needed to eat more. I was listening to other people and not my body!
- Listen to your body. I can’t preach this enough. I used to be obsessed with making sure I was getting enough nutrients since I wasn’t eating meat and dairy so I would drink a lot of smoothies and have tons of nutrient-packed whole foods but I never paid attention to portion control. Instead, I was just focused on the benefits of everything I was eating and I overate. Not only did I feel extremely bloated every night, but it didn’t help me to lose weight.
- Buy produce that is in season. If you are thinking about going vegan, you probably already know that it can be a bit pricey. I would recommend only buying the produce that is in season because it is way cheaper. For things that aren’t in season I would check for a frozen cheaper option.
- Don’t forget about your spices! So many people think that plant-based eating must be disgusting because it’s basically all vegetable, but being plant-based really just means that you need to be creative and this starts with your spice cabinet.
- Eat foods that have a lot of volume. When I first went vegan, I could not get full and I would binge eat every single time I started eating. I would recommend eating foods like broccoli and cauliflower if you are still hungry after a meal because they are low in fat and calories and high in volume.
- Look into B12 supplements. B12 is one of the only nutrients that you can’t find in a plant-based diet because it is stripped from produce during the sanitizing process.