You’ve decided to go plant-based, and you’re excited to feel the benefits. Whether you want to eat this way for health reasons, as an environmental move, or to align your diet with your ethical values, you can be sure that eating plant-based will provide positive outcomes.
If your keen to make the change but struggling as to how to start.
Here are 9 Helpful Tips to Get you Started
Know why you’re doing this.
You don’t need to justify your plant-based eating to anyone, but it is important that you know why you’re doing it. There’s no wrong answer here. It could be for short or long-term health benefits, to lose or manage your weight, or to see if it improves your energy levels for training performance. Perhaps it’s not physical at all, maybe your reasons are environmental, financial, or simply to feel better about your choices. Keep your “why” in mind as you find your feet with this new way of eating.
Get the best information.
There are so many sources of information about plant-based eating. If you try to read or listen to it all, you’ll have no time for anything else (and you might feel confused and conflicted). Choose a couple of credible, trustworthy sources that you enjoy and get value from. You don’t need the rest. After all, this isn’t a fad, you are in this for the long haul.
Build a balanced diet.
One of the biggest challenges when changing from an omnivorous diet to a plant-based one is getting a good balance of macronutrients. Pure protein is pretty simple with animal products, however plant protein tends to come as a duo (either with carbs or with fats). Make sure your protein intake stays sufficient by paying close attention to the protein content of plant-based foods, and by supplementing with a good quality plant-based protein powder. If your feeling as though you need extra amino acid support, remember that you can get vegan aminos like our CNP Plant EAA formula containing the nine essential amino acids plus a fruit and veg blend containing no animal product.
Choose healthy swaps.
If you try to do a complete 180 on your normal food preferences and snacks, you might not last long on a plant-based diet. Learn to make smart swaps – non-dairy milk like oat or almond, dairy-free ice-creams and yoghurts, cashew nuts for creamy sauces, and flax or mashed banana in place of the egg for baking. There is always a good swap – and it’s usually a healthier one.
Avoid too much ‘fake’ food.
Try to avoid gravitating towards highly processed plant-based replacements or alternatives. Many of the vegan products on the shelves contain gums, thickeners, and excess sugars which can cause problems with your digestion, these products can be pretty expensive too. A better option is becoming more imaginative in the kitchen so you can create plant-based replacements for your former favourites. Get yourself some cooking books, create recipes, follow plant-based chefs and influencers to give you new, exciting foods to try and create.
Find a reliable plant-based protein powder.
Make sure you get a good quality plant protein powder (just as you would do with whey). Look at the ingredients, protein content, and combination of proteins. The best plant-based protein powders will be a blend (to give you a balance of the different amino acids found in plant proteins). CNP Plant protein powder is a tasty blend of four quality plant proteins – pea, potato, sunflower, and brown rice – for 21g protein per serving and the full spectrum of amino acids.
Experiment with recipes.
One of the best bits about starting a new way of eating is learning new skills. Vegan and plant-based recipes can be as simple or complex as you like. Arm yourself with some recipes, learn the basic fundamentals of plant-based cooking and baking, and then get creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment – you might just find a new go-to recipe for life.
Learn to batch cook.
Plant-based foods are cheap and easy to buy in bulk. They also lend themselves to batch cooking – think of all the recipes which use pulses, lentils, beans, legumes, and root vegetables. If you don’t usually batch cook, get into the habit with your plant-based diet. Batch cooking means tomorrow’s lunch is sorted, and you have a freezer full of evening meals for busy weekdays.
Baby steps, not extremes.
There are no prizes for going 100% plant-based overnight. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Take small steps and make changes at a pace that feels right for you. Just as with any diet, don’t make big changes in one go. Every plant-based meal you make or ingredient you buy is a step in the right direction. You could start with one extra plant-based dinner a week or a plant-based weekend. Keep making changes to reach your goal.
CNP Plant range can help you make a great start
– check out the full range here.