- Kris Jensen
Taking Steps to a Plant-Based Diet. You Ready?
You’ve seen the evidence. You know a plant-based diet is good for you and good for the planet. But you aren’t vegetarian, let alone vegan. Guess what? You're not alone! It’s hard making dietary changes often because our brains say, “yes,” but our bodies and our habits say, “not yet.”
There are many good reasons why changing the way we eat is tough. Starting early in childhood we develop food choices and customs that seem natural and quickly become part of our identity. Choosing different foods can disrupt our sense of ourselves and how we fit into our families and culture. While it may seem adventuresome to try new foods some of the time, most of us have a repeating set of food items that make up a comforting and reliable pantry for our sustenance.
It’s also easy to become overwhelmed with new food choices. Making decisions zaps our energy. Willpower alone doesn’t create lasting change. Taking the path of least resistance is easier especially when we have multiple responsibilities.
First, if you want to start adopting more plant-based foods it’s important to acknowledge and honor the way you eat now. Guilt and negativity won’t help you. Allow yourself to go slowly and see what may transpire.
Next, be curious about what most draws you to a plant-based diet. Often people say health is the strongest motivator but the environment and ethics for animals are also factors that inspire changes. Find out more about these reasons to consider a plant-based diet. Keep giving yourself permission to go slowly while steadily being aware of how your thinking may shift.
Make a plan to choose 2 meals or 2 days to start experimenting. Using the substitution method is an easy way to introduce new foods without much interruption in what you already do. If your normal dinner consists of a protein, a starch and a green you might have a veggie burger, rice pilaf and steamed broccoli. Having a vegan butter on hand will help.
And get support! A friend, a daughter or an Eating Green volunteer will be so glad to talk through ideas, share a recipe or go on a grocery outing to help you embark on a new adventure. Food should be a pleasure. If you go about making plant-based choices as a way of thriving in alignment with your values you will be successful – one day at a time.
The Eating Green team of GreenTown Los Altos is planning a series of community conversations about transitioning to a plant-based diet. We want to support you in exploring obstacles to making dietary changes and celebrate incremental steps. Stay tuned for an announcement about how you can participate in small group discussions online if you are plant curious.