Thanks to the advances in modern science we can take pills and supplements for practically any ailment. This in of itself brings both some positives and negatives. On one hand it is good that medications can treat and manage certain symptoms. But image this, what if we were more proactive and less reactive and focused more on prevention and less on treatment. Often times, we know when we have a shitty diet that will likely lead to long term chronic health issues. But its almost as if we’re not mentally prepared to change our lifestyle.
So much of our culture, traditions, and family history is centered around food. Practically every family gatherings, celebrations, and fellowship conventional food. Unfortunately, most of these foods are “unhealthy.” Often times, any attempts to break with tradition is often met with resistance. Most families are understanding and supportive with dieting, partly because it is temporary and has an end date. After which you will resume your traditional lifestyle. But herein lies the problem.
Temporary diets only yield short term results. I for one, got tired of the yo-yo diet effect where you drastically restrict your diet to achieve a specific weight loss goal. Only to find that you quickly gain back the weight as soon as you resume your old habits. Truth is, diets will continue to be ineffective as long as we maintain an unhealthy lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, changing your lifestyle is far from easy.
The mental and physical act of changing your perspective on food is easier said than done. First off, its literally impossible to drastically change the way you eat overnight. Going cold turkey and eliminating meat, diary, and processed foods all at once may work for some, but most will be unable to sustain it long term.
When it comes to transitioning your lifestyle there are no rules. Meaning you can take as long as you need. No two people are the same. Each person’s journey is unique and you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else. Here are the:
7 Tips to Transitioning to A Plant-Based Lifestyle;
1).Patience is a Virtue
Take your time. Patience is a virtue. Start off with small goals. Try meatless Mondays to gradually remove meat from your menu. We are conditioned through the food pyramid, TV commercials, and the food industry that we need protein to survive. Translation if you do not eat meat as a protein source your body and health will suffer.
2). Education is Key
Educate yourself on the health benefits of changing your relationship with food. One of the most eye opening lessons I learned was that we should eat to live and not the other way around. Each and everything we eat is digested and broken down into substances that either improve or destroy our health. We need to be highly selective of what we eat. The old saying is true, we need to treat our bodies as a temple.
3). Reading is Fundamental
Read label ingredients. Know what’s in your food. Don’t buy if you can’t understand what’s in it. Rule of thumb if you can’t pronounce an ingredient and have no clue what it means, you should leave it on the shelf.
4). Disspell Common Food Myths
Educate yourself about common food myths so you can be well equipped to defend your position when friends and family challenge your decision to transition. Often times they project their fears onto you most commonly regarding protein. Society meaning the food industry, and health standards have instilled that protein can only come from animals. In the effect that if you remove it, your health will greatly suffer. What they fail to realize is that free range animals eat plants which supply them with all of the protein they need. Just look at the gorilla. It’s one of the strongest mammals, that is practically solid muscle with little to no body fat. The gorilla doesn’t need to eat animals for protein. They’re simply vegan, as their diet consists of plants and fruits.
Now let’s take a look at cows. They also eat plants for protein. Female cows are subsequently injected with hormones to consistently produce milk. Whereas, male cows aka bulls are fed GMO laden “feed” to fatten them up so that they can be slaughtered and used for food. We humans eat meat for protein. Let’s examine this a little closer, the cow, pigs, and all other animals function as the middle man. Why not eliminate the middle man and get the protein directly from the source which is plants. This may sound harsh, but it the ugly truth that most chose to ignorance. Turning a blind eye to reality doesn’t not make it more humane.
5). Stand in your Truth
Confidently stand in your truth. As unfortunate as it may sound. Those who are the closest to you, more than likely will ridicule your decision to transition your lifestyle. Often times they may say hurtful things to make you change your position. They may say, you think your are too good to eat the way we eat. Stay strong in your position and don’t let it sway you. In life we can not change people. We can only change ourselves.
6). Avoid Food Shaming
This is a real thing. Whenever you break with tradition and transition, others may interpret it as an attack on them. It may prove to be a constant struggle for others to understand that you are changing for you and your health. Your decision to change is not a negative reflection on how anyone else chooses to live their life.
7) Explore Plant-Based Recipes
Finding diary free, planted based food options in restaurants is a challenge. Far too many restaurants restrict their plant based menu options to salads. You’ll find that you can really jazz up plants. There are some amazing recipes that will change your life and have you wondering why you didn’t transition sooner. Explore plant based food blogs, and You tube channels for recipes. Transtioning to a plant based lifestyle starts in your kitchen.
Let’s face it, nobody’s perfect. There are always things that we can do better. When it comes to our health it is one of our most precious assets. Changing our relationship with food can seem an insurmountable task. But it is truly mind over matter. Meaning if you put your mind to it you can achieve it in time. The benefits are well worth the sacrifice. The narrative is rapidly changing as more and more young people are stricken with obesity, and high blood pressure. Consequently, this places many at risk for chronic diseases. Truth is, developing chronic disease does not have to be a right of passage. We have the power to control our narrative. This starts with making gradual lifestyle changes. There is no one size fits all to transition your lifestyle. Educate yourself, try new recipes and embrace a new lifestyle. Your friends and family will thank you for it.