Understanding a Plant-based Diet.
According to Steve Pilot, a plant-based diet is one that consists of only whole plant foods in its entirety. It is important to note that a plant-based diet and a vegan diet differ even though often used to refer to each other. Vegan diets are entirely void of animal products whereas plant-based diets do not with their core focus being on the consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Why switch to a plant-based diet?
Plant-based diets have been proven to aid in weight and cholesterol management, lowering heart disease as well as reversing type 2 diabetes and advanced cardiovascular disease.
Whereas it may sound easy, Steve Pilot elucidates that the transition from a regular diet to vegan requires planning, discipline and is best done gradually.
Here are Steve Pilot’s Steps to help you Transition from a Regular to a Vegan Diet
1. Do it Gradually & Reduce Your Consumption of Animal and Processed Foods
A sudden total switch to a vegan diet will most likely be counterproductive to your attempts to go vegan so your best bet is to first test the waters by dipping in one toe, then two, and then the whole foot. Just like a baby crawls and then learns to walk and run, it is important to start with baby steps when going vegan.
Start with the vegan foods you already know and like. Eat them alongside your regular foods. Gradually reduce the amounts of the regular food you are trying to cut out. You can even seek vegan alternatives such as substituting milk for soy milk or almond milk.
Cut down on your intake of animal and processed foods gradually. It will help to research alternatives to substitute what you are trying to stop consuming.
Some processed foods are vegan but consuming them will be counterproductive as it may result in sudden weight gain which could be discouraging. Taking time to think about what happens to animals before they get to your table may help to alter your perception of consuming animal products.
He says that it may help to enlist the services of a nutritionist to guide you making you aware of the wide range of vegan foods available as well as their nutritional food value.
2. Start with One Plant-Based Meal a Day
One plant-based meal a day will come a long way in helping you to transition. Each day, try a different recipe for a plant-based food that interests you. If you are not sure, with a simple click you can find an unlimited number of recipes for breakfast or dinner.
If you try a different recipe each day for two weeks, you will have your collection and could even be a little creative and add a twist to the recipes creating your custom recipes.
3. Protein with Caution
A lot of the time, people consume a lot more protein than the body requires which can be harmful. There is a wide range of plant-based foods with protein. The key thing is to have enough of the essential amino acids.
Too much protein consumption could put you at risk of kidney disease and osteoporosis. Much as the body needs protein, ensure that you consume a balanced diet to adequately nourish your body.
4. Know Thy Food
Steve Pilot makes it clear that when transitioning to vegan, it is important to learn as many vegan foods as possible covering all you need to have a balanced diet and nourish your body.
Vegan foods include but are not limited to fruits and vegetables, vegetable oils, legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils, nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and dairy alternatives such as soymilk, coconut milk, and almond milk.
5. Healthy Foods Rule & Who Says Plant-based Foods can’t be Exciting
Nowadays, a wide range of healthy foods is easily available on the market with substitutes available for several animal-based products. Be sure to stock a wide range of plant-based foods to treat yourself to a balanced diet. It will help to learn which foods will provide a given nutritional value.
Several recipes for delicious plant-based foods are available on the internet and in cookbooks so whether you are planning on cooking a full-course vegan meal or a simple snack, there are unlimited choices. There is the tendency to feel restricted initially but with a little homework, you will realize that you are spoilt for choices.
Making friends with vegans and connecting with vegan communities will make the learning process a lot easier and exciting as you will uncover a wealth of knowledge that was right under your nose with a lot of ease changing your entire perception of plant-based foods and or veganism.