Switching to a More Plant Based Diet

Over the last several months, it seems as though the topic of health and healthy lifestyles has become an increasing consideration for many people. Being in the nutrition world, I pretty much always have my mind on topics of health (regardless of whether or not I follow my own advice sometimes). So when most of my family recently decided to transition into more of a plant-based diet this summer, I was really excited for their new commitment to their health. Selfishly, I was also excited that everyone started listening to me, the youngest sibling, and I got to flex my “I told you so” muscle just a few times. But that’s neither here nor there and I’m very glad that they’re on this journey (and very glad I was right - but moving on!). There are many reasons to adopt more of a plant-based diet. These could include personal health choices, environmental concerns, animal rights issues, and even home budget considerations. If you’re thinking about adopting more plant-based foods into your everyday diet there may be a few things you want to keep in mind. I texted the family group text thread and asked for their input on what they wish they knew before making the dietary transition. I’ll share a few of those ideas here and hope they help you and your family if you’re thinking about making a few changes.


SUPPORT YOUR GUT:

Adopting a new diet may feel like a literal gut punch to your system at first. Think about it, the cells that are currently acting as the building blocks of your body were created straight from what you’ve been ingesting. If your cells are used to meat-rich diets, filled with processed foods, and heavy on sugars (no judgment here - this is basically the definition of the Standard American Diet, or the S.A.D. as we learned it in nutrition school), these cells are going to be shocked and think that they’re starving if you switch gears on them completely. That’s not saying that a cold-turkey approach might not be the right decision for you and your body, I’m more just validating that you may have a difficult time with it. But that’s okay, we can do hard things. I would definitely recommend adding a good quality probiotic to your daily routine as well as maybe adding in digestive enzymes. Both of these things are beneficial to any diet but will prove to be extremely helpful during a time of change. Cut your body some slack - it does so many wonderful things, so make sure you’re taking some time to support it and yourself through this.




OPT-OUT OF RELYING ON MEAT SUBSTITUTES:

Meat substitutes may prove helpful during the initial transition period as well as during social functions (I still bring my veggie hot dogs to cook-outs with me). But I find it helpful to think about why you’re relying on the meat substitute in the first place. Is it because you’re missing that meaty texture along with the taste of a delicious marinade/BBQ/etc? If this is the case, try the alternative of grilling a large portobello mushroom in your favorite marinade, or enjoy jackfruit BBQ or even this amazing