Tips For Transitioning To A Plant Based Diet Written By Elizabeth Sarofiem

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Tips For Transitioning To A Plant Based Diet Written By Elizabeth Sarofiem


Tips For Transitioning To A Plant Based Diet Written By Elizabeth Sarofiem

It’s become nearly impossible to ignore the fact that vegan and plant based diets are more beneficial  for our health. Social media is flooded with vegan and vegetarian propaganda! Every so often there’s a new ground breaking documentary, that puts all meat-lovers to shame. But that doesn’t change the fact that we LOVE animal products. I mean, bacon tastes so good, that there’s a round of applause that goes off once it hits the pan. Listen, we know it’s terrible for our health, but we can’t deny how absolutely delicious meat and animal products are to our palettes.  

The fact of the matter is, we’ve developed certain addictions to foods. Whether it’s a physiological addiction to salt or sugar, or an emotional addiction to french fries dipped in McFlurries. So what can bacon and cheese addicts do to make their transition over to vegetarian or plant based diets more rewarding, without going through withdrawal?

When I was a sophomore in high school, I watched Food Inc. and decided that meat was no longer for me. Living in a home where meat made part of almost every meal, and my mother for sure wasn’t going to cater to me individually and my 6 siblings. I had to find my own ways to make the transition easier. With that said, here are top 5 tips that made my  transition easier and could help your process:

  1.       Start Off Slow

To make the switch over to a meat-free diet easier, I did it in segments. . For the first two weeks, I cut out pork. This wasn’t terribly hard, since I was still eating other meats and poultry. After two weeks I cut out all red meat, two weeks after that I cut out all poultry, and the following two weeks I finally cut out all seafood. I found that tapering off slowly and doing it in segments eased the process, so that I wasn’t going cold turkey (pun intended).

  1.       ‘SHROOMS

If you don’t like mushrooms now, I promise you they will soon become your favorite, once you’ve kicked the meat to the curb. When prepared properly, they have a similar flavor and texture to meat. Mushrooms are extremely versatile because are so many varieties and so many different ways to prepare them. One of my favorite meals are shroom burgers using portabella mushroom caps as the patty. You can even make mushroom “bacon”, I promise you it tastes just like bacon!

  1.       Seitan

While most newbie vegans divert to alternatives such as tofu or tempeh for meat replacements, I avoid these soy-based products, as too much soy is actually counter-productive. Additionally, I avoid all soy-based imitation meat products. Just because they are meat free, does not make them good for you! Most meat-free “meat” alternatives are heavily processed. Seitan however, which is similar to tofu or tempeh, is derived from wheat proteins and has an uncanny resemblance to meat in both texture and flavor.

  1.       Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives

Probably the hardest part about transitioning to a vegan diet is actually cutting out dairy, not meat. At first it seemed nearly impossible, since I felt there was dairy in everything. Luckily, there are a plethora of alternatives, so you don’t have to cut anything out, just swap it out. Unsweetened and unflavored almond milk is my favorite alternative to cow’s milk, as it has a very similar taste and consistency. It’s also relatively easy to make yourself. Coconuts are also magical fruits, as their versatility makes them a vegan MVP. You can use coconut oil in place of butter. Coconut milk can be used in place of creamer in your coffee, and even in stews and soups to give it creamier consistencies and an added flavor. For cheese alternatives, soaked and blended cashews offer that ideal cheesy consistency we all crave.

  1.       Limit Eating Out

While most restaurants offer vegetarian or even vegan options, eating out is probably the place where most people fall. It’s extremely difficult to order the vegan option, when your friend just order the bacon deluxe burger with chili cheese fries, so limit the times that you do go out to eat. Not only will this save your body some stress, but it’ll also save you money in the end, winner winner chicken dinner! If you do end up having to eat out, make sure you check menus before you decide on where you’re going to eat. Often times, meals can be adjusted to your needs. Safe bets are always veggie burgers or pastas with tomato based sauces.

PRO TIP: Preparation

The most important part about making a successful transition to a plant-based diet is preparation. If you fail to prepare, you will undoubtedly fail and fall into a downward spiral of meat and dairy indulgences. The best tip for preparation is to meal prep weekly. Meal prepping helps keep you on track and saves you time and money.


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