Diet transitioning tips

Eat a variety of whole, unrefined, minimally processed plant foods.

Eliminate all animal products and ingredients (meat, poultry, fish, dairy products – cheese, milk, cream cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. – eggs and egg-whites.

Eliminate all added oils and fats (olive oil, canola oil, butter, margarine, partially-hydrogenated oils, etc.

Minimize added sugars and salt.

And keep in mind:

Commit 100% to eating a whole foods plant-based diet for 30 days.  It takes 3-4 weeks to change habits and tastes.

Big changes can be easier to make than small changes.  Big changes lead to big results.  Clear-cut rules for eating take less mental and emotional energy.

A Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine study found that patients found it easier and more enjoyable to stick with a low-fat plant-based eating plan than a conventional weight-loss diet.

“Calories count, but there is no need to count calories.”  Eat whenever you are hungry.  Eat until you are satisfied.  Get used to eating larger amounts of food than you are used to eating.  Eating whole, plant-based foods you will eat more and weigh less.

Changing your diet requires commitment, but truly healthful eating does not require willpower.  Again, as long as you are eating whole plant foods, eat whenever you are hungry and eat until you are full.

If you don’t have time to wash, peel and chop, use pre-cut fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

No “protein substitute” for meat or other animal products is needed.  If you are eating enough calories from a variety of plant foods you will be getting more than adequate amounts of protein.  There is no nutritional need to “replace” meat, only a psychological one.  When eating out, or looking for recipes, look to cultures whose traditional cuisines are not centered on meat, i.e. Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, African, etc.

If possible, track your weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar and energy level to assess your progress.

Changing from the SAD (Standard American Diet) full of animal products and highly refined foods to a low-fat plant-based diet may result in a temporary transition period of “detoxification” during which you may experience “withdrawal symptoms” – fatigue, headaches, gas or other mild symptoms.  This “withdrawal” phase is usually short-lived and can be lessened by gradually increasing the amount of fiber in the diet.

For helpful tips on cooking plant-based, check out the Ingredient Substitution Chart from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

See also these 8 tips on healthy eating from Ann Esselstyn.

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