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How do you transition to a more plant-based lifestyle? (Q&A)

Transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle can be super challenging, especially if you feel like you can’t cook well or are intimidated by the whole lifestyle. And I’m a firm believer in “a little is better than nothing” so this is no different.

I got a bunch of questions when I called myself “part-time” vegan last week.

Today’s Q&A came from 2 people:
Laney: I saw your post the other day about being “part time” vegan and I sort of feel the same way! I try to eat healthy but feel like it’s impossible to give up cheese and stuff like that altogether. What would you recommend to someone who wants to get closer to plant based?

Cassondra: Can you give some pointers on transitioning to a more plant based lifestyle. I am a terrible cook, and eating healthy for me is salad and chicken or fish like every day. I want to lead a more meat free life but it’s a tough move to make. Maybe some other people are in the same boat as me ?

I really love this question. Like a lot.

I do eat meat/cheese/egg/fish sometimes and I try to do so responsibly. In small quantities, we buy humanely raised, pasture-raised, etc, because the way animal products are produced in factory farming in such massive, wasteful quantities is beyond deplorable. My personal moral compass really tells me that that’s one of the great mistakes humanity is making (along side plenty of others, sadly). It’s important that we take care of the Earth & have respect for the beings on it.

ANYWAY.

That said, I leave room in my diet to accommodate for experience and socializing. And I know a lot of you are like me in that you may want to put a dent in the fight against poor practices by changing some of your own habits without giving up everything at once.

Here’s a few tiny changes you can make in the direction of plant-based/more responsible consumption without giving up everything at once:

1.) If you’re used to eating meat every day, cut back to 3 days a week. Or 4 days. Or simply implement meatless Mondays! Every little bit counts, and not only for the environment, but for your own well being, too.

2.) Eliminate one thing at a time. You don’t have to go cold turkey! I started with cheese & milk. I WANTED to cut that out to see if my skin cleared, so I did it and it really worked. I cut cheese altogether and then swapped dairy milk with almond or hazelnut milk. Next came sugar, then came red meat, then slowly I reduced poultry, fish, and eggs, too. Start with something you actively WANT to give up.

3.) It’s expensive to overhaul your pantry, so if you can’t afford to go all organic and pasture raised, etc, don’t stress! Pick one thing to make better. One of the least expensive changes is to switch to organic eggs that come form farm-raised chickens. At most this adds $2 more to your grocery bill and it’s worth it. I know eggs are not plant based, but like I said— these are little ways to get you closer.

4.) An example plant-based 3 meal day: avocado toast with lemon juice & tempeh bacon, OR simply a classic bowl of oatmeal. Have a big spinach salad for lunch with roasted chickpeas, tons of veggies like beets, peas, mushrooms and sprouts. For dinner grab a veggie burger and roast some potatoes. Or make a giant pot of meatless chili for the week.

Side note: I actually asked you guys for your favorite plant based meals and you sent me TONS! So I’m gonna make some, photograph them and share them on the blog (with proper credit of course!) to highlight your talent & creativity. So stay tuned bc I’ll share some more resources on the food front soon!

Over to you! These are things I did which helped me get closer to plant-based. What small changes did you make to your lifestyle that carried a big impact?

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11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Vickye

    March 1, 2017 at 6:43 am

    I have vegan and vegetarian friends but am not myself, and since I have little money and struggle to cook I was unsure about how I could even attempt to do some good, especially since I basically live off milk, cheese and chicken. However, I decided to cut out the meats that I had sometimes that I knew I wouldn’t really miss, and now I only eat chicken, beef, and dairy. Ham in particular I didn’t realise how much I was eating on things like pizza and subs, but it’s been a couple of months now and I feel better for it. I don’t know if I’ll ever go majority veggie/vegan, but I swap my milk out for plant-based every so often and don’t eat meat every day.

  2. Avatar

    Carlie Fascher

    March 1, 2017 at 7:19 am

    I love this! I am also slowly going in this direction. I recently switched to almond milk for cooking and coffee. Smoothies are the big winner in helping me go a little more plant based. I make a GIANT batch once a week and freeze it so I don’t have to take time out of my every day to keep me on track. Totally fills me up great for on the go and I get a ton of veggies first thing in the morning ( after my coffee of course ) 😉

  3. Avatar

    Laura

    March 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Hi Erin!
    I must say. Before New Year I already gave up dairy, bread and sweets but somehow, starting the year and living at my grandma’s house, make everything come again, even daily chocolates I am having but the point is that I am trying now to have a more plant diet or at least many veggies (as much as possible)and at least some fish.
    My way of working through this change is knowing that, in order to have meat, I will have to eat outside my home to have something well prepared, amd because that way is more expensive, then I eat at home whatever meatless I cam prepare and of course, veggies are the easiest.
    (Sorry for being very random in my comment haha)
    Have a great day!

  4. Avatar

    Lisa Silvaroli

    March 1, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I can’t wait to check out every ones recipes!!! I’ve been eating more veggies because they are tasty, easier to make, cheaper and make me feel great. I know I’ll never give up meat 100% I am too much of a foodie.

  5. Avatar

    Mary Jo

    March 1, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I too have been trying a mostly plant based diet, and must say the biggest downfall would be trying to come up with recipes that are quick and easy. So glad to hear you will be putting those together for us – thank you to all that contributed!

  6. Avatar

    Vanessa

    March 2, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    I am not a vegan, but have diet restrictions due to an auto immune disease. I love Nutrition Yeast, it has a parmesan taste, and mega vitamins! I make fake cheese sauce with it and cashews. Coconut amnos is so amazing, it’s like a sweet soy. I have also discovered kelp noodles. It’s like a gluten free pasta with barley any calories but fiber. I have found collagen powder is cheaper then most protein powders and can find humanly raised. Here in the states it’s a little more then $.50 per serving with 9 grams of protien.

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    Laura

    March 2, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Hi, I am going eventually become vegan. After reading a book named “skinny bitch” I switched to plant milk, no cheese, no red meat. A few months ago no pork, and just yesterday I decided no more chicken after I defrosted some chicken when I went back to the kitchen a few hours later the smell was so disgusting I had to throw it away and bleach the sink and counter. I guess I got a bad batch of chicken but I had been thinking on giving up on chicken, and this was it I will never look at a piece of chicken the same way. Besides I feel very happy eating veggies.

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    Dawn

    March 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    As an alternative to oatmeal, I’ve started eating quinoa for breakfast. I make a pot for the week so it’s ready to go with little work. I fill a bowl, add chopped fruit and nuts, sprinkle on nuts and then add a little almond milk. 30-60 seconds in the microwave and it’s good to go! Delicious and full of protein.

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    March 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    […] This is a good Q&A on transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. […]

  10. Avatar

    Becky Lawson

    June 5, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I’ve been having a number of health problems, and much of it pointed to diet (per the doctor’s test results). The biggest change for me has been giving up coffee and bacon for breakfast. I’ve gone to green smoothies for that meal and am doing the “more than 5” servings of fruits and vegetables the rest of the day. That doesn’t leave a lot of room in my stomach for much else, so my meat intake has fallen dramatically. I would never have done it if I hadn’t been sick, so I totally understand people questioning it. Living in the Midwest, vegans are relatively rare.

  11. Avatar

    Ashley Woodward

    September 19, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I really like when I find an article that is down to earth and not “judgmental”. I’m a long time vegan and really enjoy my lifestyle, but it was a road of experimentation until I settled in a place I felt comfortable in.
    As I wrote in my article about going vegan (https://vegancookbook.com/going-vegan/) veganism is a learning curve, don’t be afraid to give a vegan diet a try, give yourself the grace to keep trying if you give into cravings. Even if you don’t go full vegan, implementing more plant-based meals and reducing meat intake can have big impact. Besides, you’ll have a chance to try new flavors and recipes, maybe discover a passion for cooking along the way.

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