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Kick Off A a Plant-Based New Year

By Chef Linda

Get healthy. Eat clean. Feel better. These are among the top promises we make to ourselves at the beginning of every new year. More doctors and scientists are confirming that a plant-based diet–one that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes–is a great way to meet these goals, achieve and maintain good health, and all while reducing the chances of developing chronic disease.

Plant foods are full of fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals, free of cholesterol, and low in calories and saturated fat. And eating more whole foods means you’re eating fewer processed foods. Innocent animals and our increasingly fragile planet will also benefit from your decision to eat more plants. Overall, it’s a prescription for your best self this year!

So if any of these resolutions are on your list, you’re in luck because it’s easier than ever to transition to a plant-based diet. And since we’re all about empowering and supporting a diet based on eating plants, not animals, we’ve got some tips to help get you started and keep you strong in your commitment.

Make simple swaps.

Experiment with alternative milk. Oat, soy, hemp, rice, almond, cashew, macadamia, coconut, and even flax–they’re all creamy, delicious, and cholesterol-free. Try a new one each week until you find your favorite. In cooking and baking, you’ll never taste a difference and for drinking, cereal, and coffee or tea, many people prefer the clean, delicious taste of these plant-based milks. Try our nut milk recipe or look online for others.

Make substitutes for meat. We recommend a whole-food, plant-based diet as the best choice for health and wellness, but sometimes store-bought vegan meat will satisfy a craving or please a “mixed” crowd. Today’s alternatives are so good, you won’t be disappointed! Check out this article by LiveKindly on the top 11 vegan meats that taste better than the real thing.

Ditch the dairy. Try non-dairy cheese, yogurt, and butter. They’ve come such a long way, baby! You’ll be amazed at the taste, texture, and variety of these products. Brands like Violife, Kitehill, and Field Roast are among the top-rated. Visit websites for brands you want to try–you can often request coupons which makes sampling even more cost-effective. Women’s Health recently shared recommendations on the best-liked vegan cheeses.

Crowd it out. By finding more plant-based foods you love to eat and recipes to make them easily and deliciously, you’ll discover that you won’t have much room on your plate for animals or animal products. If eliminating meat, chicken, or fish altogether is intimidating, try doubling up on your fruits and vegetable servings and minimizing the portion size of your meat. Before long, you may realize you prefer the clean, light feeling and benefits of plant-based eating.

Veganize your recipes. With so many simple swaps and easy tricks, even some of your most cherished recipes can be enjoyed on a plant-based diet. We’ve got some tips to help.

Be prepared.

Borrow a book. Your local library’s shelves are likely full of books for vegetarian and vegan cooking. Peruse them all then take home one or two and try some of the recipes. It’s a great way to experiment without investing.

Buy a book. When you’re ready to buy, try our cookbook which has recipes from our classes and events or shop for books online. You’ll be able to read reviews and check out lots of options quickly. Want a trusted recommendation? Read Chef Sara’s review of her favorite vegan cookbooks.

Google. Need we say more?

Stock your pantry. When you’re ready to get cooking, nothing makes it easier than having the right ingredients on hand. Read our post about stocking a vegan pantry and you’ll be prepared for anything.

Get a little help from your friends.

Look around. If you’re lucky enough to know people who are already vegan, tell them about your plans and seek their support. Consider your workplace, church, gym, and of course, your family and close friends. Many vegans are eager to share tips for success, favorite recipes, and give pointers on brands they love.

Find a mentor. Our New Leaf mentor program is now in 34 countries and helping people with the everyday questions and support they need to make the transition. There is no fee and no commitment. You can’t ask for more than that!

Finally, be kind to yourself. The fact that you want to eat more plants is a great way to start the year. Don’t give up because you fell off the wagon for a meal, a day, or even a week. Keep at it and before long, you’ll begin to notice a difference in the way you feel and in the foods you desire. The change in how you feel is a powerful motivator.

And if you have questions or need encouragement, reach out–we’re here to help!



Add Love + Stir, Tips, Tricks and Techniques, Vegan Lifestyle


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