Adapting to a plant-based lifestyle just got easier. How? When I invited Laura Dietrich of Pure Plant Nation to be my guest on the Balanced Living for Busy Professional Show she dished on sound strategies to tempt even the most finicky palette and debunked food myths that were holding people back. (Listen to the full podcast here.)
Both Laura and I shared our personal stories of how we each embraced this lifestyle and what it means to live it daily. This is not a diet. It’s a choice towards improved health. It’s you making a choice for you. Interested in exploring this more fully? Read on…and accept my personal invitation to reach out to me as your transition partner in getting plant-based nutrition into your life via a 1:1 consulting session. The transition steps are manageable and achievable. You can feel victorious as you transition one meal at a time and realistically know a slip up (or two along the way) will happen but a slip won’t become a sinkhole nor your defeat.
Why Care or Pay Attention
There are real experiences and real numbers behind choosing to eat plant healthy. Many strive to eat healthy but fall short. If you’ve tried and struggled you’re not alone but having a plan is what makes a difference. Eating plant healthy elevates your body, strengthens your mind, and renews energy you thought you would never get back. There are numerous documented studies and websites that can give you the hard facts. A reliable resource is NutritionFacts.org. The documentary movies Plant Pure Nation (shown on Netflix) or Forks Over Knives provides much information.
If your number one reason for resisting the plant-based lifestyle is fear of eating salads day-in and day-out, it’s time to debunk that myth. It’s not true or representative of the lifestyle. It’s not necessary. It’s not how most fill their weekly grocery lists when adapting to or sustaining this healthy living choice. On the podcast Laura shares several food substitute examples that are super simple to choose and oh so tasty.
A Gradual Change is Your First Step
If the idea of change makes you hesitate you’ll like this approach: start with one meal at a time and the simplest meal to begin with is breakfast. Think about what you’re eating already for this meal and tweak it a little bit. Hmm, sounds doable and sounds like a plan anyone can master. I promise, it is.
For instance, if you often enjoy an egg and cheese sandwich biscuit give this alternative a try: a hearty rye bread with avocado, tomato, cucumber, and green pepper. Make it ahead or make it first thing in the morning. The flavors will delight your taste buds.
Remember: tackle one meal at a time. There are many online resources and recipes to help add variety into your menu planning.
Going Solo or Bringing the Whole Family Along
Okay, so, you want to give this a try. You want improved energy, clearer focus, to regain body strength, to give up sugar, and to sleep better but your family may be reluctant. You do not need to be an island all to yourself in your plant-based lifestyle. So, what do you do?
This is a question that comes up frequently and the answer lies in strategy one or strategy two depending on if you are the cook in your family. Let’s explore both:
Strategy One: Let’s say you are the family’s cook and meal planner. Begin preparing more vegetable and plant-based dishes in your meal planning. Introduce more of what may have been the side dishes as your feature main dishes. These can be enhanced with chicken or ground beef or fish but make the vegetables the stars of your table and dining experience. Search the internet for delicious recipe inspiration and discover new dishes you all enjoy.
Strategy Two: Be a role model for plant-based eating. When your family and friends see you eating better and how your body changes (aka weight loss) and how you’re feeling better overall they will want that for themselves. Lean in to answer their questions and help them discover new recipes, new fruits, and new vegetables they had been avoiding. In time, they will begin eating more fruits and vegetables and that’s the first step in moving in a direction of improved health.
Satisfying Your Hunger as a Busy Professional
You make be thinking that maintaining this lifestyle while at home is manageable but impossible when it comes to being at work or traveling if your job requires travel. Not true. Over the last five years the options for lunching while at work have dramatically improved over the rote choices of pizza, subs, or other fast food options. Many subs now offer vegetarian options thanks to Subway and Jim John’s healthy menu alternatives. Pizzas come as veggie pizzas. The Mexican food chains such as Taco Bell and Chipotle are preparing rice and beans and all the caffeine and tortillas you crave in healthier ways. With a bit of forethought (and knowing if a grocery store is around the corner) you have many more choices for maintaining the plant-based meals you do at home right from the office – even when working against a tight deadline that commands everyone to take a working lunch.
Whether you’re the family cook and meal planner or in a quandary of eating at work or on the road, trust that with a bit of planning there are healthy flavorful options. You can transition from a standard American diet to a plant-based lifestyle because this is no diet. This is discovering foods in a new way, foods your body has been craving.