Top tips for transitioning to a plant-based diet

Nutrition/Wellness

Top tips for transitioning to a plant-based diet

July 29, 2016 By

1)Let’s start with the obvious one. Cutting out animal products. Load up on healthy whole-foods such as some grains, legumes, steamed sweet potatoes, broccoli and avocado. Aim to eat a big bowl of greens each day full of detoxifying leafy greens such as kale, spinach, lettuce, chard, cilantro, parsley and add in some sweet corn, leaks, mushrooms, cucumbers, avocado, arugula, asparagus, sweet potatoes and peppers to keep it interesting.

2)Avoid processed carbs and stick to whole plant food ones like brown, red or wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, beans, lentils, chickpeas, brown bread. Remove the white rice, white pasta and other refined foods. Remember just because it’s vegan it does not make it healthy.

3) Don’t go overboard when it comes so salad dressings and oils. There are healthier oils than olive and sunflower such as avocado and hemp seed but these oils are still highly processed and the best way to retrieve your omega fatty oils is directly from the whole plant food such as avocado, nuts and seeds. I strongly recommend not drenching salads in oil as tempting as it might be.

4)Don’t over do it with the vegan alternatives. There are a lot of vegan cheese, milk, ice-cream and meat alternatives on the market now. They taste great needless to say but you can easily put on weight and end up not reaching the goals you aim to achieve in gaining better health so still consider these vegan alternatives as a one off treat. Occasionally I make home made desserts for my family which are unquestionably far healthy than any snickers bar since they are loaded with healthy nuts, dark chocolate, dates, coconut oil and a bit of organic nut butter, however, natural sugar and fats still need to be eaten in moderation. The world of vegan alternatives is indeed an exciting place but go easy on the treats and the meat and dairy alternatives.

5)Caffeine, alcohol, meat, dairy and gluten all agitate the gut and create an inflammatory response. They are by far the worst foods for gut health and when your gut is not functioning properly, nothing else in the body is. Invest in herbal teas, aloe vera juice, kombucha, fermented foods, and supplements such as papaya enzymes, vegan digestive-enzymes or a good quality probiotic. Re-setting the gut and cleansing the digestive tract is super important if the lifestyle you came from consisted of highly processed animal foods, alcohol and sugar beverages. Taking 1 tbsp of aloe vera juice three times a day before meals, investing in a vegan digestive enzyme supplement , an acidophilus supplement, turmeric supplement and are great ways to re-set the gut so it can begin functioning at maximum level again. Zinc is also important because it it utilised to form digestive enzymes and it is also used for hormone regulation, and a quality omega vegan supplement can also help with restoring gut health and reducing inflammation, balancing hormones and supporting the immune system. Point no.6 will also help with re-setting the gut. Teas such as mint, liquorice, turmeric, fennel seeds, ginger, lemon balm, chamomile, gentian root, yellow dock and peppermint are all great for calming a troubled digestion. Replace your coffee with one of these teas for a while to help soothe your digestion if you’re having issues with adjusting to a new diet or in need of calming your stomach in general.

6)Add prebiotic fibre to your diet. Foods such as chicory root, dandelion greens, onions, garlic, artichoke, raw asparagus, raw leaks, raw wheat bran & raw banana. Add probiotic foods to your diet such as tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, kimichi, miso, olives, soy & kombucha.

7)Up your intake of alkaline foods (which you should naturally be doing on a plant based diet. So this means anything green that has come from the ground! Kale, spinach, broccoli, wheatgrass, parsley, chlorella, spirulina and barley grass. These keep the acid in your stomach balanced to help with the digestive process and restore ph balance. When your stomach acid is too low or high, foods can not be digested properly. Animal products tend to produce too much stomach acid due to the high acidity levels it contains. Both fermented and alkaline vegetables can heal your stomach if you suffer from low or high stomach acid.

8) Don’t forget to do add vegan foods with b-12 into your diet. That means foods such as sea vegetables, some cereals, non-dairy milks fortified with B-12 and a good quality vitamin B-12 supplement every day which provides at least 10 micrograms.

9) Invest in a good quality multivitamin. Inspite of a whole foods diet being far more nutrient dense than the average western one. Due to improper farming practices and plants being repeatedly grown on the same land, our soils have become depleted of nutrients causing the soils that most is grown upon to lose nutrients faster than they can be replaced.  Consequently, plants have fewer nutrients to grow. Companies such as Rainbowlight, Solgar, Centrum, Nature’s way and Pukka do a variety of supplements and multivitamins to help support your diet and although vegans get a good dose of the most vital nutrients the body typically needs, they can be deficient in calcium, iodine and b-12 so a multivitamin is worth the investment.

image by this rawesome vegan life

About the author

JwaydanJwaydan Moyine is a classically trained Film Composer, Pianist, Cellist, Singer/Songwriter, and a Writer and Entrepreneur. She founded Earth Children to bring awareness to matters regarding the Environment, Animal welfare, Sustainable & Conscious living, Wellness & Humanitarian issues. She is heavily involved with activism for animal welfare in the UK and Egypt and child welfare in Syria, Thailand and Romania. She resides in Berkshire Running an organic food farm, an organic skincare company, bringing awareness to matters regarding the Planet, Plant based nutrition, Cruelty free living & the necessity of adapting to Veganism for the sake of Sustainability, Animal welfare and our Health. She has several qualifications in nutritional therapy, culinary medicine & holistic healing. You can find out more on what she is doing over at the Earth Children Facebook Page!
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