How to Transition to a Healthy Vegan Diet (in 7 easy steps)
Transitioning to a plant-based diet can be intimidating because it’s changing up the way we once viewed food.
The world is changing too though and it’s a great idea to consider vegan living for your health and the planet!
But where do you start?
To ease your transition, I’ve put together a guide to going plant-based.
It’s full of actionable steps and top tips on how to ensure you’re staying fit and healthy as you change your diet.
But before we start, I just wanted to say…
Step 1. Educate Yourself on Veganism
Before going vegan, it’s important to understand your motives behind doing so.
Once you’ve got a better understanding of your ‘why’, you’ll be in a better position to motivate and look after yourself.
One of the main reasons we see celebrities and influencers giving up on veganism is due to health concerns.
Therefore, the more you learn at the beginning to promote a healthy transition, the less likely you’ll revert to your previous eating habits!
Step 2. Broaden Your Diet
A lot of people assume that vegans eat a very restrictive diet.
This is simply not true!
In fact, it’s the total opposite.
Nutritional yeast, seitan, tempeh, aquafaba, banana blossom, mycoprotein…
The list goes on!
After transitioning to a plant-based diet, you will discover a whole range of new ingredients!
Instead of perceiving veganism as cutting out certain foods, think about it as a chance to incorporate new ingredients into your weekly shop.
Fill your basket with whole grains, veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fortified dairy alternatives.
Challenge yourself to try something new each week! It’s great fun and a fantastic way to get excited about your new diet.
If you’re new to cooking vegan food, why not check out this Ultimate Guide to Vegan Cooking?
Eat a Variety of These Plant Proteins for Optimal Health and Fitness
Some of the best sources of protein are grown straight from the earth!
Isn’t that the best news?
Here is a quick list of proteins that will fill you up and provide you with other essential nutrients:
- Protein powder
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for my favorite protein-rich recipe.
Learn to Love Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even some protein, fat, and carbohydrates to keep you healthy!
I recommend aiming for a few servings of both every day.
Do you have trouble eating fruits and vegetables?
Scroll down for some of my suggestions to sneak them into your diet.
Step 3. Make Meals Simple
Eating vegan doesn’t have to be complicated!
Organize your plate easily by filling your plate with vegetables first.
Add your protein (like lentil or tofu) or blend 2 proteins like beans and rice.
Top with a healthy fat like avocado or olive oil.
For a delicious inexpensive example, check out my recipe for ‘Taco Salad or Burrito’ below.
Want to level up your vegan cooking game? Try one of these Online Vegan Cooking Courses!
Step 4. Choose the Best Supplements for You
Whether you eat meat or not, it’s important to think about which nutrients you are missing.
Even meat-eaters are at risk of not eating enough essential nutrients.
Below is a list of some of the nutrients you will need to think about when transitioning to a plant-based diet.
*Disclaimer* I am not medically trained. All of the information in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, but please ask your doctor or nutritionist if supplements are best for you.
Whether you eat meat or not, eat fortified foods or invest in a B12 or B Complex supplement.
The soil in which our food is grown does not have the rich B vitamin content it once had, meaning every human could benefit from a little extra dose of it.
Also, note that one reason why you may be getting B12 from meat is that farmers are now feeding their animals B12 supplements.
It’s better to consume the supplement of B12 directly than to eat an animal that was given a B12 supplement.
Similarly to B12, iodine comes from the soil.
However, again like B12, the iodine soil content is no longer high enough to fulfill our requirements.
The only real vegan food source is seaweed, although this can be unreliable due to varying levels of iodine.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider a plant-based iodine supplement.
Other Vegan Supplements to Consider:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Step 5. Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Make your intentions clear for why you want to go plant-based.
Set goals for yourself to help you commit to the lifestyle.
Ease in slowly if that works best for you.
Not everyone is an “All or Nothing” type.
You may want to start with just one plant-based meal a day, then work your way up to two, then three.
You can do it!
Step 6. Ask Someone Who is Already Plant-Based for Help
There is no one better to talk with than someone who has been in your shoes and has transitioned to a plant-based diet.
Eating plant-based can be a fun challenge and a life lesson but talking to someone might help you navigate common mistakes and help you enjoy a plant-based lifestyle even faster!!
Use the internet or social media to find someone who inspires you. Ask questions through direct messages or emails.
If you want more help delving into a plant-based lifestyle, hit me up at JustFit!
Step 7. Have Fun and Experiment: Recipes for a Healthy Vegan Diet
You can find the plant-based version of anything you loved before going plant-based.
My favorite recipe is…
Queso cheese replacement dip
1 cup cashews
1 red bell pepper
½ jar salsa 6 oz
2 tbsp nutritional yeast tbsp garlic
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt – add more if desired
Blend and enjoy. Best served at room temperature, but store in the fridge.
Here is my favorite protein-rich recipe:
Baked Tofu with Quinoa and Broccoli
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cut tofu into your preferred thickness
Coat with coconut oil and your favorite spices
Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned
Add green onions and lemon juice
Steam broccoli for one minute in a skillet, add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Learn to love fruits and vegetables with these delicious recipes:
1 frozen banana, ½ cup blueberries,1 large handful spinach, 1 scoop plant protein, 2 Tbsp flaxseed,1 cup almond milk, cinnamon
Celery and peanut butter boats
Cut celery stalks in half. Fill the inside with 1 or 2 tbsp of peanut butter and as much celery as you want.
Homemade almond butter bites
With coconut, raisins, or any other dry fruit. Mix ½ cup almond butter with ¼ cup of dried fruit, ½ cup of oatmeal, cinnamon, stevia, chocolate chips of your choice. Form small bite-size chunks and store in the fridge
Strawberries and dip
Coconut yogurt mixed with 1 tbsp of flaxseed, stevia.
Simple and inexpensive plant-based meal
Taco Salad or Burrito
¼ cup of black beans
¼ cup of brown rice
2 cups steamed mixed veggies and cabbage
½ avocado mashed and mixed with onion and tomato, a drizzle of lime juice
Spices of choice like garlic, cumin, onion powder
Top with salsa
Eat as is or wrap ingredients in a whole grain tortilla.
Smoothies Make a Great Breakfast or Snack
I have talked about smoothies a lot because you can mix together a superfood meal in no time and take it on the go if necessary.
If you want to make it more interesting, add more frozen fruit and eat as a smoothie bowl with granola on top.
You can start your day out strong with a smoothie that feeds you with an abundance of nutrients you need.
Or, power your muscles with them as a post-workout snack.
Here is a favorite of mine!
Chocolate peanut butter smoothie
½ frozen banana
1 handful of kale or spinach
1 scoop of chocolate plant-based protein
2 tbsp of powdered peanut butter or 1 tbsp of raw peanut butter
1 cup almond milk