The word Vegan is just a label and can be used interchangeably with the word plant-based. You can use whichever you feel most comfortable with.
Getting started with a plant-based diet is actually quiet easy. Staying with a plant-based diet is often a journey for many people which can sometimes feel like one step forward and two steps back. The key to sticking with it is finding your WHY, which is strong enough to keep you there.
10 Steps to Healthy Vegan
- Discover your WHY
- Educate yourself
- Find foods you love
- Eat an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables every day
- Allow the body time to adjust and heal
- Understand cravings
- Get a health coach if needed
- Healthier living
- Get a blood test
- Understand social pressure & side stepping
1.Discover your WHY
Your WHY could be any number of reasons. Some examples might be:
- I’m sick and want to… (example: have more energy, heal from a disease, heal my depression, get rid of my acne etc. be specific)
- I love animals and will not contribute directly or indirectly to hurting and killing them
- I understand the environmental impacts of eating animals which pollute the planet we live on
Once you’ve discovered any combinations of WHY which are powerful for you write it down in a positive tone.
My WHY: I’m a healthy Vegan because I want to thrive in my body, mind and spirit. I choose whole plant based foods, with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. I love animals and will do what it takes to protect and respect them each day by what I choose to eat. I’m voting with my fork and knife to take care of this planet, my health and the animals.
Keep you WHY somewhere you can see it everyday. The inside of a bathroom mirror is a good place to keep it and look at it while brushing your teeth in the morning 🙂
Watch documentaries on Netflix and Youtube. Read books, blogs and magazine articles. We’ve been brainwashed in our society and by our family’s since we were born (not always in a bad way). It’s now time to consciously brain wash yourself in another direction. To do this you must saturate your mind with new information.
Find Vegan documentaries, books and blogs HERE
3. Find Foods You Love
Make a list of all of the conventional foods you normally love and next to those foods research and write a vegan alternative to it that includes as many whole foods as possible. To feel your best, use as many whole foods, or foods that are not (or minimally) packaged and processed, as you possibly can. Additionally, read the label of the foods you choose. There should be minimal ingredients without chemicals, numbers and preservatives you don’t understand. The best alternative is to make the ingredients when you can such as sauces etc. Keep processed pre-packaged Vegan junk food to a minimum. This includes Vegan pizzas, burgers, soy products etc.
Italian Lasagna ****** Vegan Lasagna using gluten free quinoa pasta, fresh tomato sauce, cashew nut cheese.
Cheesecake****** Raw Vegan Cheesecake using cashews, dates etc
Bread****** Manna Bread. Ingredients include: Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dried banana, organic walnuts, organic flax seeds, organic hemp seeds.
As you progress in your journey you will refine your list and the goal is to always eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can.
4.Eat an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables every day
Nothing will make you feel better than eating an abundance of raw fruits and veggies. They are packed with everything you need to feel great and nothing you don’t. Your plate should look like a rainbow in each meal. How colorful can you get?
To easily increase your amount of fruits and veggies you eat each day do the following:
Eat whole ripe fruit or a green fruit smoothie each morning
Eat ripe fruit as a snack between meals
Have a salad and vegetables with lunch and dinner
5. Allow the body time to adjust and heal
Healing is not always as straight forward as we’d like and we don’t always feel our best as it’s taking place. When we remove stimulants (the adrenaline and hormones) from meat, dairy and processed foods our bodies will start to cleanse deeper and we might need more rest, more water and definitely patience.
It’s important to remember that we are not feeling bad (lack of energy, sick etc) because were deficient in meat and dairy and plants don’t have everything we need to be healthy. Were feeling bad because of an underlying issue that plant based living often uncovers. The more fruits and vegetables you eat the faster your body starts to cleanse and it can be uncomfortable for some people. The good news is that it’s often not long before you start to feel better again.
If you need to slow down with the changes you’re making, then honor that as well and then keep going when you’re ready. Additionally, refer to step 9 and get a blood test to check out any specifics going on in your body.
6. Understand Cravings
Processed salt, sugar and fat are powerful addictions. I know it might sound extreme but try going without them for a few days and notice your cravings. Yet, we need all three of them in whole foods to make up a healthy diet.
Replace processed sugar with fruit and starches
Replace table salt with more naturally salty foods (tomatoes, celery, watermelon) and small amounts of sea salt
Replace processed vegetable oils such as Canola, Palm etc with avocados, coconut, olives, nuts and seeds.
7. Get a Health Coach if needed
A Health Coach is someone who has done specific training on how to help you reach your health goals. They are not nutritionist or dietitians, however, they often have a passion for health and have studied various diets and lifestyle options.
8. Eating a whole food plant based diet is the first step in healthier living
Having a healthy body, mind and spirit has many levels to it. To experience true health one must focus equally on the quality of the food, water, sleep, exercise, fresh air, sunshine and healthy relationships they allow into their lives.
9. Get a blood test
Know what’s going on inside you right now so you can watch all of the positive changes when you test yourself again in 6 months to a year!
Also, check your D3 and B12 levels. Being deficient in D3 is rampant even for people in sunny climates and has dire consequences. Meat eaters are just as prone to B12 deficiencies as anyone else because it’s determined by the level of specific gut bacteria you produce, not by how much meat you eat or don’t eat.
If we ate more soil on our produce, like animals do when grazing we’d have a better chance of producing the b12 bacteria we need instead of getting it second hand from animals or supplements.
10. Social pressure & side stepping
Eating out with friends and traveling is not always easy. My best suggestion is to do your absolute best with what you have. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes.
When yourWHY is strong enough and embedded in you over time, side stepping (making mistakes) come less frequently. Eventually, you just don’t compromise because your healthy body and mind feels TOO GOOD!