The relationship between nutrition and fitness is etched in stone. The foods that we consume nowadays are focused on the taste aspect. If it tastes good, we eat it again and again and again! Once the morsel passes our taste buds, there is no way for the body to know if the food is tasty, and for the most part, it couldn’t care less.
The fast foods like pizza, pasta, burgers are riddled with processed cheese, animal meat from animals that have fed on pesticide produce and given hormone boosters to bulk it up for ‘more meat’, to the refined sugars and fats- All of this ends up somewhere, and that somewhere is you.
There are several of us who have made the attempt to change to a plant-based diet, but in vain. But like everything in life, there is always a resistance when there is change and no change is simple. If you are able to consume delicious foods that are in harmony with nature and our environment, what you lead is a compassionate, informed way of living.
If you are planning to make a switch to plant-based diet then there are a few things that you can keep in mind to better sail through the journey:
Understand The Difference Between Whole Food, Plant-Based (WFPB) And Vegan
These are not the same things. Vegan food is completely plant-based, but doesn’t have to be whole foods. The difference between the two is how the food is prepared and the way in which it reaches your plate.
To help in better understanding, consider an organic sweet potato that can be baked with a dash of organic maple syrup. Or you can partially cook it, peel it, grate it, add in the oils, salt, preservatives and sugars, then cut into long, thin strips and deep fried to give you French fries. Now in both instances, the meal is essentially sweet potato and it is plant-based, but the fresh sweet potato which is consumed directly, as nature designed for it to be is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibres and nutrients. On the other hand, the French fries have lost most of the nutrients, as a result of the heat and the processing. Further, there is an addition of highly refined ingredients.
Plant-based eating allows more leeway compared to vegan foods that are devoid of all preservatives, refined sugars, salt and chemicals. You have to choose to what extent you want to practice healthy meal prep. If you are looking for robust changes that will have a significantly large positive impact on your life, then going vegan is the choice that needs to be made.
Start With What It Is That You Like
We all have our favorite foods. You may like onions, tomatoes, avocados, apples, oranges…all of these are plant-based foods that you have been consuming. You can use them as separate toppings or you may turn them into a dip for your oven-baked tortilla chips. If you like peanut butter, then you can attempt to make them in your home, with natural pumpkin seeds and wheat pitas.
You will under no circumstances be left high and dry if you were to walk around a supermarket. There are plenty of vegan choices that are available for you to decide from. Humus is one of the staples of plant-based eating that you can add on to your plant-based burgers as a substitute for processed cheese- you can either make it at home or you can buy it at your local supermarket.
Fruits and vegetables can be grown in your own garden. You can even make a dish of frozen bananas, which you can turn into a smoothie or a healthy fruit drink. You can replace the dairy with almond, coconut, soy or just about any plant-based milk.
Be Ready To Get Social
One positive that we have now compared to 10 years ago, is how much more popular vegan diets have become. There are restaurants that serve exclusively plant-based foods; friends and family is far more accommodating than ever.
There are however be situations where you may not find anything plant-based within a mile, say an office party, holiday parties, highway rest areas- all of these do a great job in weakening you, and you may end up bending to its will.
Be prepared at all times. Bring in your own smoothie or nut butter that you can spread in bagels and pita bread. Have home-made peanut butter and humus on the standby for it to be added in with vegetables or used as a dip. Have plenty of cut fruits that you can store in a container, for moments of ‘weaknesses’.
Remember, eating plant-based is not a thing but a way of life. It is followed consistently day after day, and not something that is sporadically done. If you are serious about getting your health under check, then dive right in.