So you’re now interested in a plant-based diet. That’s great! You might be at least in the Contemplation Stage in the Stages of Change Model and that’s a good start. If you want to know more about the plant-based diet and the foods you’ll eat more, you may check out my article here.
However, you might be searching for steps on how to exactly start going on a plant-based diet. Let me share with you my P.L.A.N.T.S. Method.
This is exciting and meaningful…
P. Identify your PURPOSE.
“He who has the why can bear with almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsce
What’s yours why? What is/are your reason/s why you want to start going plant-based. Think about it. Take a moment. Dig deep. Dig deeper. Don’t end with your first why. There might be a deeper reason aside from your want to to do it for your health, environment and/or animals.
Your reason/s is the first thing I recommend that you should be clear with. It will always help you to regain focus and motivation whenever you feel that you cannot change your behaviour towards eating and diet.
L. LEARN Actively.
“Accept what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
Going plant-based is a growing movement around the world. Thanks to the vast availability of information online.
Watch documentaries. The ones I’ve repeatedly watched are The Game Changers, Fork Over Knives, Cowspiracy and What the Health. They are all streaming on Netflix. I have other documentaries on my list that I’m interested to watch.
Read books that provide nutrition information and guidelines on how to live a healthy plant-based life. There are a lot of books which are authored by health experts and professionals. Plant-based recipe books are available on bookstore shelves too.
Consciously consume social media platforms by following pages, channels and accounts which promote a plant-based lifestyle. You may start by liking our page, Plants & Purpose.
Ask questions for deeper learning and understanding of the plant-based lifestyle. Ask someone whom you know has been on a plant-based diet.
A. Take ACTION.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Do it. Start going plant-based. Eat more plant foods and no/fewer animal foods. Start with eating more of your favourite plant foods and dishes. List them down and create your meal plan.
You may set your starting date, maybe the 1st day of the month or whenever you are ready.
Do you have to do 100% plant-based immediately? If you can, why not? If you cannot, it’s alright. Find your own pace. You can do Meatless Monday first, then add days of the week gradually until you can already do it every day. You can remove one meat group at a time if you prefer that. Go ahead. Find what works for you.
Join a challenge or start your own personal challenge. Maybe 3 days, 7 days, 14 days or 30 days. On each plate and day, feel how your body is responding and thanking you for the nourishing foods that you’re taking in. We’re having our monthly 7-Days Plant-Based Challenge in our Plant-Based Pilipinas Community Facebook Group. Join us there.
Just do it.
However, of course, please consult your health professionals like plant-based doctors and nutritionist-dietitians, especially if you have specific health concern/s that you want to address through diet and nutrition approach.
N. NOURISH your Body.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
Every start of your meal, ask yourself, “Will this nourish my body?” If you have started learning about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you already have an idea what nourishes your body. If the answer to the question is no, do something.
Food is our nourishment and human fuel. Plant foods have the ability to provide the energy and nutrition the body needs to function optimally. For every food you eat, you are making the choice to let it nourish your body or let it poison you.
Having an eat-to-nourish mindset helps you to have a healthier relationship with your body. It’s actually a self-care practice for your body and mind.
Enjoy your personal plant-based journey. You can definitely thrive on it if you commit to it. Acknowledge the changes in YOU – physically, mentally and spiritually. Embrace the positive changes within you.
Focus on whole plant-based foods. Keep your meals fun and exciting. Try out new plant foods and dishes.
Listen to your body. This is where the concept of bio-individuality comes in. You may discover that your body doesn’t respond well to other plant foods after a number of times eating it and feeling the same results. Some may only need time and adjustment, but if you really feel that your body is not loving it and you are not enjoying it, look for alternatives.
A diet rich in whole, plant-based foods provides more than enough of the macronutrients and micronutrients you need to thrive to help you ensure that you live a long, healthy life.
Do you know what the healthiest, longest-living people in the world eat? They eat locally produced whole foods, plentiful vegetables and legumes, and high plant-based diets. They are from the Blue Zones, where populations have unusually high concentrations of healthy centenarians.
S. Get SOCIAL.
Happiness is most real when shared.
One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits in diet, is to join a culture where (1) your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour and (2) you already have something in common with the group. This is Law #2: Make It Attractive according to James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits.
Share your plant-based journey online or offline. Share your experience with your friends and community whom you share similar beliefs and who support your plant-based goals.
Find your tribe. There are so many available groups online which you can join in the Philippines. Feel if it is the right community who share your values and beliefs. Each has its own culture.
If you are living with people or your family who are not joining you in making a dietary shift, agree to respect each other’s choices. Make it a shared learning journey rather than a power struggle. Be more inclusive rather than exclusive. Maybe you’ll realize that they’ll be more receptive rather than be more resistant to change.
So, how to start on a plant-based lifestyle?
- Identify your Purpose.
- Learn Actively.
- Take Action.
- Nourish your Body.
- Get Social.
I am Here For You
Need guidance on starting your personalized nutrition to help you on your plant-based journey? I’m here for you! Feel free to check out my services here as a Registered and Plant-Based Nutritionist Dietitian. I’m here to guide you, Filipinos, to achieve their personal health and fitness goals through plant-based nutrition and holistic wellness.
About the author
Roni is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian. She completed her certificate course in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University and T.Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. She has long been passionate about helping individuals make positive and sustainable changes to their health, to be able to live and enjoy a better quality of life while being mindful of the environment and all beings. She founded Plants & Purpose where she offers her services and shares things about plant-based nutrition.