Wining & Dining
Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet
3/5/2018 1:01:34 PM
Vegetarian

Modern medicine and science tell us that by eating more fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods we can increase our energy levels, lose weight, focus better, and prevent chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Eating more plants may also be better for the environment. Studies have shown that by eating vegetarian you can lower your carbon footprint, conserve water, and prevent agricultural- related coastal dead zones like the one we see annually off our own Louisiana coastline. 

Making a change to a plant-based diet, or even just planning to eat more plants can seem like a daunting task, but by making a few gradual changes you can be eating a healthier diet before you know it. 

Ease in to it: It’s unrealistic to stop eating all animal products all at once. The last thing you want to do is get overwhelmed and lose your meatless momentum. Start by phasing meat out gradually. Focus first on eating meatless one meal per day. Next, strive for a full day of not eating meat for breakfast, lunch or dinner one day a week. Then transition to meatless days several times a week. For example, consider not eating meat on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As you become more comfortable as a vegetarian, add more veggie meals and then more veggie days until your entire week is sans meat. 

Start by eating vegetarian versions of meals that you already like:  It’s easy to enjoy great foods that you love by making simple substitutions to phase out the meat. Veggie tacos, vegan sandwiches, bean burgers, veggie pizzas, are all simple to make, adapt, or can be found at many local restaurants. By focusing on adapting meals that you already eat and enjoy you will be making healthier changes with little shock to your regular schedule.

Be Prepared: Transitioning to a plant-based diet starts in the grocery store. Stock your kitchen and fridge with vegetable-based foods and snacks. If your worksite is far away from restaurants with good vegetable options, prepare and pack your own lunch so you’re not tempted to cheat.  

Find and connect with other vegetarians/vegans in the community: There are many types of vegetarians with varying food preferences, even here in SWLA. Connecting with other veggiephiles will help you find great new vegetarian dishes at local restaurants, share recipes, and learn tips and tricks like meal prepping. Start by using social media. On Instagram and Facebook check out @LakeCharlesVegans to get vegetable-based inspiration and meet vegans, vegetarians, or people who just enjoy a good salad. 

Once you get started eating vegetarian, you will have plenty of motivation to keep going. Eating a completely plant-based diet, or simply eating more fruits and vegetables in your daily life will, among other things, boost your energy, help with weight loss, and regulate your digestive system. The benefits of plant-based eating may be all you need to keep the momentum and continue living a healthier life style.
Posted by: John O'Donnell | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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