Hello and welcome to my blog! I don’t post as much as I’d like to, but I am trying to change that. I decided that my first post to get back into the groove would be on my top tips for switching to plant based living. I’m constantly getting questions through my Instagram page about veganism. Some of the top questions have been:
- What’s the best way to start my transition?
- What are some good resources (documentaries, books, videos, etc.)?
- What do I eat?
I’m going to do my best to answer these for you today. Now – bear with me – I am not a professional. But I have spoken to professionals (doctors, nutritionists, researchers, professors, etc.) and there is tons of research out there to show you how to make the switch and reinforces why you are making a fantastic decision for not only your health, but for animals and the environment.
For me, the motivating factor behind my decision to switch to a plant based diet wasn’t just for health reasons. Health was a very minor portion. Yes – I wanted to feel and look better, but there was more to it. The main reason I decided to adopt this lifestyle was because of the mere fact that we raise billions of living, breathing, sentient animals – which requires a massive amount of food, land, water and energy – just to kill and eat them. These animals are just like our pets in the ways that count. When you think about it like this, it just doesn’t make any sense. When I think back to the recent Olympics in South Korea, people were flipping out about the dog meat trade that was happening there. I get it – it is horrible! I also don’t like that it happens. I love dogs – they deserve to be free! But most of the people who were angry about it, still ate cows, chickens, pigs, baby lambs, rabbits, and fish! How can we get mad at another country for the same thing we are doing back home, just to other animals? We can’t. Because that is hypocritical. Some may say oh well dogs are just not for eating. Well, that’s also not true. We have formed these biases because of how we were raised. The video below explains this concept very well.
Now again – I understand that there are people around the world who live in remote areas and who don’t have the privilege that I have. They may not have access to certain foods, and it may be easier for them to eat other things. That is a whole other issue. I am specifically talking about those who can go to a grocery store and make a decision whether they want to support these industries or not. So if you are one of those people that care about the environment, want to help animals and would like to learn a new way of eating (that if done right can be very nourishing for the body), then I hope this blog post helps you in some way.
What’s the best way to start my transition?
I honestly don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to start. For me personally, I was vegetarian for a year before going vegan. It wasn’t until I did my research that I realized that I wanted to make the full switch. It then took me about one month to figure out that I was ready to take the plunge. I also know a number of people who switched to a vegan diet over night! Once they found out the horrors of the animal agriculture industry, they went full force and never looked back.
I think the best way is to do what feels right for YOU. Everyone is different. Everyone’s bodies are different. I think it is important to do it in our own time. One thing that I’ve learned is that you can’t force anyone to do anything. If they make the decision themselves and fully understand what they are getting into, they are much more likely to stick to it.
However – I do have some tips that may help your transition go a little smoother. The first thing I tell people when they approach me is to do your research. This is the most important thing EVER! If you switch to this lifestyle without understanding what you should to eat to get the nutrients you need, or you haven’t found a motivating factor to keep you going, then you are more likely to just go back to your old ways. Trust me – I used to be a meat lover. My favourite food was burgers. I used to work at McDonald’s and I loved chicken nuggets and cheesy nachos. But once I found my motivating factor – the animals and the environmental impact that raising livestock has on the planet – I was convinced that this was how I was supposed to live my life. Since my brain made that switch, I have never wanted to go back. Have I had small cravings for foods like spicy dorito’s or ice cream cake? Yes – I have. But my morals come first. I don’t want to contribute to those industries anymore. Plus, anything you can eat I can eat vegan. The plant based alternatives that are available today are I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E! My boyfriend’s parents came to visit us in Vancouver and they tried vegan Chinese food and they said it was the best Chinese food they’ve ever had, and they also tried the Beyond Burger and said it tasted exactly like meat. The world is changing, more products are becoming available… it’s easier than you think!
But, how do you find your motivating factor? My suggestion is to read and watch as much as you can and be sure to ask questions. I honestly believe that if most people went through the entire list I’ve written out below, they would understand why I’ve chosen to live this way.
What are some good resources (documentaries, books, videos, etc.)?
Books to read:
- Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer
- The China Study – Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Thomas M. Campbell
- How Not to Die – Dr. Michael Gregor
- The Starch Solution – Dr. John McDougall
- World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony – Will Tuttle
- Eat to Live – Dr. Joel Fuhrman
- The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life – Dr. Joel Fuhrman
- Skinny Bitch – Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
- Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health – Alejandro Junger
- Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do – Dr. Garth Davis and Dr. Howard Jacobson
- Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition – Dr. T. Collin Campbell
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Dr. Michael Pollan
- Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows – Dr. Melanie Joy
- Diet for a New America – John Robbins
- The Low Carb Fraud – Thomas Carlyle
Documentaries to watch:
- Forks Over Knives
- Food Choices
- Speciesism: The Movie
- Food Matters
- Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
- Eating You Alive
- The Ghosts in Our Machine
- Meet Your Meat
- PlantPure Nation
- Eating Our Way To Extinction
- Okja (a movie not a documentary, but great)
- What The Health
- Eating Animals
- The Yoyo Effect
- The Game Changers
Other videos to watch:
- Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear by Gary Yourofsky
- Animals Should be Off the Menu Debate
- This Speech is Your Wake Up Call
- Is Soy Bad For You?
- 101 Reasons to go Vegan
- How Your Body Transforms on a Vegan Diet
- 6 Diet Tips for Naturally Balanced Hormones
- The Starch Solution
- Why Vegan?
- The Hardest Part About Being Vegan
- Dairy and Eggs: The Miserable Making Of
- Dairy is Scary: The Industry Explained in 5 Minutes
- Vegan Spends a Year Talking to Meat Eaters
- 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Go Vegan – DEBUNKED
*I will continue to updates these resources on an ongoing basis.
What do I eat?
The best advice I can give you when it comes to eating plant based is to make sure you are getting all of the nutrients you need. To do this – you must eat a well balanced diet. Reference the plate above if you get stuck.
There are two other great resources I would recommend when trying to figure out what to eat. The first is Dr. Gregors app called The Daily Dozen. You can find it on iTunes. Dr. Gregor wrote the book How Not to Die (which is one of the books I recommended that you read), and created the website NutritionFacts.org that has over 1000 evidence-based videos on it. He create this app to help people get the healthiest foods/ food groups into their diet everyday. It’s very easy to use – and I personally find that when I do eat all of the recommended servings he suggests, I feel my best and most energized and I also don’t crave things like chips or sweets.
The second resource I’d like to talk about is a blog post my friend Anna Pippus wrote about the vegan bowl. What I love about her post is she makes vegan eating seem so simple – which it is once you get the hang of it! Anna says: “For the uninitiated, the bowl is a way of eating, the vegan response to the meat/vegetable/starch formula. A bowl typically consists of a grain, a legume, some vegetables, a sauce, and toppings of nuts, seeds, and/or herbs. It’s a fundamentally different approach to preparing meals than the one most of us grew up with. They’re fast and easy to put together, endlessly versatile, nutritious and delicious.
So often when I talk to people about animal rights, I hear that the big barrier is not knowing how to change eating habits. People agree that animal cruelty is heartbreaking, nobody is looking forward to not having a hospitable home planet, and it’s undeniable that we’re eating more animal foods than is even healthy by conservative standards (three times more than our decade-old food guide recommends, actually).
Learning any new habit can take a mental shift and a little guidance; thinking about dinner in a bowl format makes it easier to move towards plant-based eating.”
To read her entire blog post (trust me, you want to!), click here. Anna is a fantastic human being, and is so knowledgable on this topic. I continuously learn from her and I hope that one day I can be as well-spoken as her! 🙂 Follow her on Instagram here. She has lots of delicious and easy recipes for you to try!
If you’ve gotten this far, I applaud you. *round of applause* I tend to ramble – but it’s because I genuinely love talking about the principles of veganism and plant based eating. If you truly are interested in making the switch, don’t hesitate to send me an email or comment on this post! I wish you the best. xx