Making it stick
Acclaimed nutrition expert, author and Plant Proof podcaster Simon Hill shares his top tips on how to achieve and maintain a plant-based lifestyle.
There are enormous benefits to putting more plants on your plate. With these practical and mindset hacks, I have seen countless people (myself included) achieve and maintain their plant-based lifestyle goals.
1. Do it in stages and start small
Like many things in life, the hardest part is simply starting. So, start small, get some success and build momentum from there bit by bit.
2. Focus on easy swaps
Simple swaps implemented gradually can be very useful, such as swapping cow’s milk for plant-based milk, red meat for lentils, butter for olive oil and chicken for tofu or tempeh. You will often find that just these single swaps instantly turn a favourite dish of yours into a wholefood, plant-based (WFPB) meal.
3. Set up your fridge and pantry for success
Prepare for success by having the foods you need on hand. This will help you stay on track!
4. Season your meals
By taking your favourite flavour combinations and replacing animal protein with a source of plant protein that provides a similar texture, you’ll have the same experience, or even better, minus the health trade-offs.
5. Use lists
When you aren’t used to cooking plant based meals, it can be overwhelming if you head to the supermarket without a plan. When I first transitioned, I selected a handful of easy recipes and used those to create ingredient lists to guide my shopping.
6. Eat enough
Remember, plant foods are typically much less calorie dense than animal and ultra-processed foods. That means your plate needs to look fuller or you will likely be consuming fewer calories than you are used to and may notice a drop-in energy.
7. Batch cook
If you are the type of person that feels overwhelmed by a lot of changes, you may find batch cooking removes a bit of the pressure. That way you can cook something new (perhaps a lentil lasagne) and enjoy it for multiple meals.
If you are eating out with friends, especially in the early days where you may feel a little awkward asking the waiter about vegan options, prepare ahead of time by checking out their menu online or giving them a quick call. Additionally, apps like Happy Cow can be really helpful for identifying vegan friendly restaurants.
9. Track, if you wish
Sometimes, you may benefit from using a tracking app like Chronometer so you can see how many calories you’re consuming as well as your intake of nutrients of focus.
10. Share your transition
While it is by no means necessary, having a partner or friend to share your transition with can often make it easier. That way you can learn and progress together.
11. Be patient and enjoy yourself
Remember, we are changing habits that many of us have had for decades, so rather than chasing the perfect transition, it’s best to understand that this is going to involve some trial and error.
12. Don’t judge
Try to avoid judging others and instead lead the way by setting a good example.
|This article is an edited extract from The Proof is in the Plants by Simon Hill. Published by Penguin Life.|