Dabbling with a Plant-Based Diet: It’s Not That Scary!

Take a moment to reflect on the food you eat. Would you choose a to eat a beef burger, a chicken burger, or a veggie burger? It’s just a burger, right? Well, it’s a little bit more than that.

As consumers, the decisions we make regarding the food we eat has a fairly significant impact: physically, financially, environmentally and ethically. Many are conditioned to make food related purchases either based on habit or impulse, leaving little room for change. However, as a conscious consumer, we intuitively make more well informed decisions that are better for our health, our wallets and our planet.

It is not about turning vegetarian or vegan, nor is it against consuming meat and animal products. It’s about living a more sustainable lifestyle. A lifestyle that is balanced, with low impact, yet still plentiful. A lifestyle that incorporates plant-based ideals.

Look Introspectively

agriculture farming plant based diet

The biggest motivator to move towards a plant-based diet is by simply listening to yourself. Ask yourself the following questions and see what your thoughts and beliefs are:

What does my diet consist of right now?

  • How often do I consume meat or animal-based products?
  • Do I have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes?
  • Does my body need these many calories or can I reduce and/or find alternatives?

Would I benefit financially if I moved towards a plant-based diet?

  • How much money do I spend on meat and dairy products each week?
  • If I reduce my meat and dairy consumption, how much would I save?

Have I ever considered the environmental and global impacts of my diet?

  • Do I want to reduce my carbon footprint or “foodprint”?
  • Am I willing to make changes to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Do I feel ethically compelled to move towards a plant-based diet?

  • What do I know about current farming practices in the meat and dairy industry?
  • Do I want to incorporate “ethical eating” into my diet?

Yes, some of these questions are definitely harder to answer than others. However, this self assessment can provide you with the initial insight and motivation you need to start making a change.

Are you surprised by your answers?

Get Informed

strawberries plant based diet

I hope you agree that, in general, it’s better to live life with an open mind. Surely there are more opportunities to learn and grow when you actively listen to new and different information. In my personal journey, I’ve kept an open mind (and stomach) to different opinions and information regarding alternative diets: ketogenic, carnivore, Mediterranean, vegan, whole 30, the list goes on.

Discussing diets can be highly polarizing, but I think the key is to understand that everyone has been raised with certain values. Some people have a harder time accepting the values of others, especially when it comes to health and well-being.

Regardless, if you are curious, skeptical, or just indifferent, it helps to seek out the right information to get more informed. There’s definitely a lot of information out there to process which can be a pretty daunting task and a huge reason many people are left in the dark.

Several YouTube and Netflix specials as well as articles over the years have challenged my values and perceptions of a plant-based diet. Take some time to see if and how your mindset is impacted:

Try it for Yourself!

meal plant based diet

Like any sport or skill, practice and patience go a long way. The same can be said for incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet. Start slowly, maybe one meal per week can be entirely animal-free. Followed by, one meal per day, and so forth. The gradual process will allow your body and, more importantly, your mind to adjust. Radical changes are less likely to stick with you. Track your energy, mood and wallet to see how it’s impacting you.

How about the next time you go grocery shopping, perhaps incorporate some plant-based alternatives into your shopping cart! Instead of buying regular mayonnaise, try vegan mayo. Instead of butter, try vegan butter. And instead of milk, try almond, oat or coconut milk. You can easily modify home cooking to incorporate these alternatives while still enjoying a delicious meal that is both good for you and good for the planet.

But going out and eating at restaurants is definitely challenging for those wanting to adopt a plant-based diet. The encouraging news is more and more restaurants are catering to vegetarians and vegans. So, if you want, try the Beyond Burger at A&W, or head over to Cinnaholic for a decadent cinnamon bun with all the fixings! Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone because who knows, you might actually like it!

Personally, whether we’re eating out or eating at home, we’re enjoying food more because we’ve taken the time to plan, prepare and consume our food in a very conscious manner. To us, that’s the whole point – being more aware of what we eat by being primarily plant-based.

Are you willing and able to make a change? It can start with your next meal…

 

Did you find this article helpful? Are you more curious about moving towards a plant-based diet? Let us know about your journey; we’d love to hear from you!

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