How to easily transition to being plant-based

You’ve committed to healthier eating, and you’re ready to get started–that’s great! While transitioning to a plant-based diet from standard American fare may seem daunting at first, it can be a doable, delicious, and exciting process. Keep in mind that everyone is a bit different, and may require various approaches to transitioning their diet.

Some folks are super inspired and motivated to make drastic changes quickly, but don’t worry if you need a more gradual approach; the key is to make changes you enjoy sustaining over the long-term. Transitioning to fresh, natural, whole foods is not a fad or a crash diet; this is a lifestyle transformation to better dietary awareness and improved self-care. Here are some tips for making the shift:

Make breakfast count

One of the best ways to set yourself up for a great day of better eating is to start with a healthy breakfast. The 21-Day Program serves as a reset to get you feeling energized and inspired, and anchored in making better dietary choices. Green smoothies, Clean shakes, fresh fruit, whole-grain hot cereals, or your favorite protein with lots of veggies, are great options. Check out some Clean breakfast ideas here. Remember that when we are hungry and stressed, we are more likely to make not-so-great dietary choices. Set your day up for success with a nourishing breakfast. 

Let the good crowd out the bad

If you find you need a more gradual approach; if all-or-nothing isn’t your style, then focus on adding in more plant foods while slowly releasing not-so-great choices. Focus first on eliminating foods you are sensitive to while adding in a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Let whole grains replace refined grains and starches, and add vegetables to every meal. Green smoothies are a great way to get a generous serving of your fruits and veggies for the day. Increase your intake of whole foods while gradually decreasing your intake of processed and animal-based foods. As you continue to eat better over time, your palate will naturally shift, and you will begin to genuinely prefer fruits, veggies, and healthier foods. 

Find your “why”

Take the time to examine your reasons for wanting to eat better. Do you want increased energy, better digestion, and clearer skin? Are there environmental and animal welfare concerns you feel passionately about? Clarify your motivation for making better choices, and let it guide you when temptation hits. 

Find substitutions for your favorites

Everyone has emotional attachments to foods, especially less-than-ideal foods we may have grown up with. Find ways to upgrade your favorites with better quality ingredients. No deprivation is required to thrive! You’ll find lots of options for an occasional high-quality indulgence or treat, like these fantastic Clean dessert ideas, and this amazing apple cobbler. High-quality dark chocolate, coconut milk ice creams, and gluten-free baked goods are also super satisfying; just remember to enjoy your upgraded treats and plant-based snacks in moderation. You can also check out some incredibly nourishing and delicious whole foods recipes here.

Ditch all-or-nothing thinking

You may decide to keep a bit of animal protein in your diet a couple of times a week, or you may not. What matters is that you are making progress and better choices, and feeling and seeing the results in your health and life. Celebrate your progress and uniqueness as you go, and release perfectionistic thinking. Remember how far you’ve come, and take the time to savor your growth (and your food). For most of us, progress comes step by step. Enjoy the process, have fun, experiment with new foods, and go for it!

Written by the Clean Team

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