There are different ways to start your own personal journey towards a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet. You can choose one of the following examples or design your own plan. You may do the transition very quickly or it may take you a while to adapt. A drastic change will show swift results and also enables a faster adaptation of the taste buds to the new flavours. If you fear the ghosts of lack of protein, calcium etc…, like I did, a slow adaptation may suit you better. First, reducing the amount of animal food intake and then eliminating it from the daily diet. Actually, I still eat animal foods on special occasions like family celebrations and holidays.
This is your journey, so make sure you enjoy it thoroughly, because if you don’t, most probably, you will go back to your old bad habits.
You could make a list of plant based dishes you already like eating and add them to your regular diet, like veg salads or fruit salads, vegetable dishes like ratatouille or pumpkin pure, legumes dishes like chickpeas with spinach or lentil soup, pasta dishes like spaghetti arrabiata or mushroom macaroni, rice dishes like vegetable paella or mushroom risotto etc… Try delicious healthy snacks like smoothies, homemade peppered humus or other veggie spreads, homemade fruit popsicles etc… Think of how to transform dishes you already like, plant based by swapping ingredients, like chilli con carne, by changing the meat for bottom mushrooms for example etc… Experiment once a week with new recipes and see if they can make the cut and become part of the weekly menu.
If at the beginning you have to use some oil, salt etc… to make the meal tastier because your taste buds are not yet accustomed to these new flavours, do it, but try to keep them to a minimum. It will take some time to adapt your taste buds from being oversaturated with tastes of added salt, oils, sugars and flavour enhancing chemicals. However, there are also several healthy flavouring alternatives you can use in your kitchen to boost the taste of your dishes, like black pepper, chillies, tomatoes, lime and many different spices. Use them freely.
So, regardless of which your current eating habits are, and taking into account you are aiming to centre your diet around Whole Plant Foods, here you are a couple of option that may be helpful as guidance on your journey. A professional and detailed 21 day kickstart meal plan from The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website by Dr. Neal Barnard.
Or find below the way I’m doing it. A simple 5 step action plan. Advance stages at your own pace and up to the point you are happy with the results.
- Choose a day of the week in which you will only eat plant based foods.
- Keep the plant based day and the rest of the days eat animal products only in one of the meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
- Eat plant based foods during the week and during the weekend, in one of the meals only, eat some animal based foods.
- Eat plant based foods on daily basis and leave animal based foods for special occasions, like holidays or family celebrations.
- Adopt a 100% Whole Foods Plant Based Diet
Beware that options 3,4 and 5 will require Vit B12 supplementation in the long term, by adding fortified foods to your diet 2-3 times a day on daily basis or taking dietary supplements.
Environmentally though, option 5 might be the only one that could have a significant effect on slowing down global warming and halting global depletion of resources.
Allow me to finish with a more positive note, what you eat on your birthday hardly counts.