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3 Tips For Transitioning to a Plant Diet

January 22, 2013

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My top three tips for someone who is transitioning to a plant-based diet are all about cravings.

Often when we make a major shift in our diet, we swing to an extreme change too fast, which can cause us to rebound, overeat foods that don't support our well-being, and we feel like a failure. 

1. Sweeten it up, honey! 

Be sure to include healthy versions of the tastes and textures you normally crave. If sweets are your thing, focus on sweet root veggies, pumpkin soups, or crispy raw red bell peppers, carrots, and seasonal fruit. If you have enough naturally sweet flavors in your diet that are also nutrient rich, you won't be as tempted by sugar sweetened treats that can throw off your energy, make your tired, or throw off your hormonal balance. 

2. More Minerals

A healthy plant based diet includes nutrient rich foods to provide the body with all the minerals it needs. Weave in regular doses of sea vegetables including nori, kombu, and dulse flakes to get the powerful punch of nutrients and minerals including iron, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and folate. I love the little Sea Shakers from Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, that make it easy to add a tiny bit to any meal. 

3. Power up on Proteins

Make sure you're getting your protein from a variety of sources. For some people, this isn't hard! Many plant-based people can eat a variety of whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and their body feels strong, recovers from injury well, and can build muscle and endurance. A word of caution - not everyone can thrive on a plant-based diet. I know this may seem crazy coming from the woman who wrote three books on living vegan! I do believe that most people do better eating more plants, and many can live happily and healthfully on only plant based foods. But there are also people who need animal proteins at different stages in life: sometimes more regularly, sometimes for a short period. To discover what type of person you are, you'll need to let go of any judgements about animal foods being immoral, open up to experimentation, and learn to listen to what your body is telling you. Whatever you discover is okay! 

 

Alex Jamieson, is an Integrative Nutrition graduate and teacher. She has been featured on Oprah, CNN, Martha Stewart Living, and Fox News. She also played an integral part in the award-winning documentary Super Size Me. In her three books, Vegan Cooking For Dummies, Living Vegan For Dummies, and The Great American Detox Diet, Alex offers remarkably sane – and tasty – advice on how to detox, live healthfully and feel fantastic. A professionally trained healthy gourmet chef, and certified health and nutrition counselor, Alex is the creator and producer of the Rapid Refresh & Reboot program, which helps women around the world to lose their cravings and lead extraordinary lives.