switching to a plant-based diet
a simple guide
This guide covers all the stuff you need to know to switch to a plant-based diet including ,
- What is a plant-based diet?
- Tips to get you started
- Where to start
- How to find food inspiration
- Useful Resources
How have you started your plant-based transition? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you want to save the info in this post for later you can add it to Pinterest by clicking the pin image below.
what is a plant-based diet?
Put simple, a plant-based diet consists of no meat and dairy. That’s basically all there is to it!
In diet form it is exactly the same as a vegan diet (although there is much more to vegan than just the diet), however you can take it one step further and go whole foods.
Whole Foods Plant Based or WFPB is a diet that consists of only natural and unprocessed foods.
Now I know some of you will be itching to jump to the comments section and tell me that even Vegetables are processed in some way but I know that.
I mean highly processed foods. Think fake meat, vegan cheese, and oil of any kind.
The whole foods route is definitely harder and may be something you want to slowly progress into after feeling comfortable cutting meat and dairy products.
Although I will say that if your aim is weight loss or to improve a health condition then whole foods is really where it’s at. Oreos and Beyond Burgers are technically Plant-based but they’re not good for you!
tips to get you started
take it slow
If you transition in a month then well done.
If you transition in 6 months then well done.
Every step you take away from consuming meat and dairy in every meal of every day is something to celebrate.
Very rarely are people able to just stop eating meat and dairy immediately and never be tempted or eat out again.
Stop holding yourself to a higher standard and remember that you’re going on your own journey and you’re doing this for yourself - no one else.
Something any newbie to a plant-based diet needs to be mindful of is nutrients and calories. Realistically if you’re eating a well balanced and varied diet you should get everything you need.
Yes, with a well planned plant-based diet you can even get plenty of vitamin b-12 from fortified cereals, plant mills or nutritional yeast.
Calories can be a bit trickier because most plant-based food tends to be lower in calories but this just means you can eat tons more food!
Chronometer is a great resource for tracking calories and it gives you a really in depth nutrient breakdown too.
If you want to understand more about what nutrients and vitamins you need to watch on a plant-based diet then head to our Simple Guide to Supplementing on a Plant-Based Diet.
download happy cow
Happy Cow is a great resource when you’re transitioning to a plant based diet.
You just put in your location and it will tell you every café, restaurant and shop with vegan options near you.
Many new Vegan struggle with eating out and it’s a huge cause of stress and point of failure for a lot of people but it doesn’t need to be.
convert meals you already like
Don’t try and reinvent the wheel when you’ve just started.
Being plant-based kind of forces you to experiment with food you may have never tried before but that’s what I love about it.
However, to get yourself started stick to what you know and like by converting your regular family meals to plant-based alternatives. For instance, if you love spaghetti Bolognese then switch the ground beef out for lentils.
Even if this involves eating more heavily processed plant-based meats to start with don’t worry. You can work on switching to healthier meat alternatives once you’ve got to grips with the whole no meat and dairy thing.
meal plan and meal prep
If you know what you’re eating not only will it make grocery shopping easier and cheaper but it will make your journey to plant-based eating go much smoother.
By planning and prepping your food in advance you’ll be able to avoid any situations where you're caught without something plant-based to eat.
This will make it so much easier for you to stick to a plant-based diet during your transition.
For some meal planning tips head to our post on how to meal plan to save time and money.
know your pain points
Know when you most crave meat or dairy, what time of day or which particular day. Then you can come up with a plan to overcome it.
Mine is after dinner when I’ve been working all day, I’ve had a tasty dinner and then I get hit with the sweet cravings.
All I want is some kind of chocolate, biscuit or cake.
How do I overcome this?
Well I know that no matter how bad the cravings are I’m too lazy to go to the shop to get some so I just don’t buy any with my shopping.
I’m annoyed with myself for a little bit but it doesn’t take those cravings long to disappear.
how to start
Where to start is one of the biggest issues that people face when they try and transition to a plant-based diet.
While trying to quit meat and dairy on the first day might work for some people, most succeed on a more gradual transition.
Below are four routes you can take towards kicking animal products for good.
This is probably the most well known route with #meatfreemonday trending on Instagram.
In case you haven't heard of it the idea is that you start by cutting meat and dairy out of all of your meals for one day a week. Start slowly adding in the other six days until you’re completely plant-based.
meat free meals
This is the same principle as Meatless Monday but instead of going a whole day without eating any animal products you concentrate on switching just one meal every day.
Slowly add in your other meals and snacks until you’re completely plant-based.
Breakfast is the easiest meal to start with, especially if your normal breakfast is cereal. Most breakfast cereals are plant-based so switch the milk out for some plant milk and you’ve done it!
If you know that dairy is going to be a pain point for you then try starting with the easy stuff and switching out your meat first. Once you’re comfortable cooking without meat you can start cutting dairy from your diet too.
If you know that cutting meat is going to be a pain point for you then try starting with the easy stuff and switching out your dairy first. Once you’re comfortable cooking without dairy you can start cutting the meat from your diet too.
We love almond, cashew or oat milk for cereal, baked oats and sauces in our house. For hot drinks Oatly, Alpro and Mylk all have barista versions of their plant-milk that make a great replacement for cream or milk in hot drinks.
Where can I find delicious plant-based recipe inspiration?
The best place to head if you want to find some awesome plant-based recipes is Pinterest. Beautiful pictures of food that link straight to recipes. Your can choose whichever ones you like and save to your own virtual board so you can view them whenever you need to.
Another great hint is YouTube. There are so many options for some delicious inspiration that you’ll be sucked into the YouTube rabbit hole before you know it. I’d, of course suggest starting with the Beet and Two Veg YouTube channel but there are some other really awesome ones like Gaz Oakley at Avant Garde vegan, Alyssa at Simply Quinoa and Nisha at Rainbow Plant Life.
If you’re on Facebook (who isn’t) then get searching for some plant-based or vegan recipe groups. There are tons of them out there with all kinds of people posting recipes, tips and questions.
Then there is the World Wide Web! There are an estimated … food blogs the internet right now and all of them have at least one recipe that you could cook, eat and enjoy. Again, I’m going to suggest you check out some of the recipes here at Beet and Two Veg first because I think my food is pretty tasty!
If you need more inspiration then check out some of the bigger blogs like Forks Over Knives, Oh She Glows and Oh My Veggies.
You will also find easy plant-based recipes on Instagram, FoodGawker, Tasty and Reddit.