More and more of us are making the switch to a plant-based diet, either as full-time vegans or just trying to include more plant-based meals and cut down on the amount of meat that we eat. There are many advantages to making the switch. It’s great for the planet, it can help you to maintain a healthy weight, consume more vitamins and minerals, and reduce the risk of heart disease and other problems as we age.
The good news is, making the switch to a plant-based diet is easier than it’s ever been before. There’s been around a 300% rise in the number of vegans in the US since 2014, and this number is growing all of the time. This means that restaurants, stores, and even recipe writers have had to make much more effort when it comes to catering for vegans. No longer is it hard to find somewhere to eat if you don’t do meat and dairy. But making the switch can still be tricky. Here are some tips to help you.
Do Your Research
Yes, eating out is easier for vegans than it’s ever been before. But it’s still a good idea to research restaurants and look at menus online while you are getting used to things. Plant-based restaurants like Native Foods, Wicker Park, are the ideal choice. It’s worth having a few you like for when you are out and about.
Embrace Different Fruit and Veg
Most of us have favorite foods and drinks and it’s normal for weekly meal plans to be built around our old favorites. As a meat-eater, you might have had a few fruits and vegetables that you loved and had no reason to branch out and try new things.
As a plant-based eater, you’ll need more variety both for nutrition and taste. Explore vegetables that you’ve never tried before and don’t be scared to try more exotic options.
You’ll probably know some people who don’t like the idea of veganism. You’ve probably heard some of your meat-loving friends laugh at vegans or make cruel jokes. You might be nervous about telling them, but you should. Explain your reasons and the benefits but at the end of the day, remember it’s your choice and it doesn’t affect them.
Don’t Stress About Protein
Many new vegans worry that they won’t get enough protein in their diets but it’s usually easier than you might think. Sprinkle pine nuts on your morning porridge, add beans to salads and casseroles, and snack on other seeds and nuts.
Add Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 is found in meat and meat products. If you are going to struggle with getting enough of something, this is it.
The good news is most vegan-friendly dairy alternatives contain vitamin B-12. You can also take a supplement to increase levels.
Offer to Take Food
Many people who follow a plant-based diet worry that they’ll stop getting invited to friends’ houses for dinner. There are two things that you can do to ensure this never happens. First, start inviting them to yours and cooking delicious plant-based meals to show them how easy it is to cater to a vegan. Second, offer to take a dish, then you’ll always know you’ve got something to eat without putting your friends out.
Switching to a plant-based diet can be overwhelming, but it’s probably not as hard as you might expect. The best thing that you can do is dive right in and start enjoying some plant-based meals.