When I stared my transition from meat eater to plant eater, I was completely overwhelmed with information. It seems the more I read, the more confused I became, “Eat this. Not this. Eat this sparingly or eat this only once per week.” Getting so many different recommendations from so many sources became confusing and difficult to navigate.
Then I discovered this great “checklist” by Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live. I’m a huge fan of his research and methodology around plant based eating and find his recommendations pretty straight forward. In his book he stresses the importance of eliminating meat and meat based products from your diet. The results he’s gotten with his patients are nothing short of amazing and support a Vegan diet.
In this checklist to the left, he lays out a very simply plan you can follow each and every day for better eating. Keep in mind that your goal should be to begin by adding healthy foods to your nutritional plan, not focusing on elimination or removal. That will come naturally as you make the transition to nutritious eating.
The goal of this checklist is to eat a nutrient rich diet. The more nutrients you eat the healthier you become – pretty simple right? The issue for most of us who eat a traditional American diet is that you are consuming lots of food but very few nutrients. With a nutrient rich diet that is comprised of natural, whole grain foods, getting the nutrients you need becomes almost effortless.
For me, making the transition to a plant based diet wasn’t easy but I learned a number of techniques that helped me advance the transition and improve my mindset. Below I suggest some of the key distinctions I made to help make the leap.
You can but choose not to
One of my personal challenges was explaining to people why I was making this change. In hindsight, the most difficulty I had from time to time was explaining to myself why I was saying no to so many foods and only saying yes to a few. This changed as I broadened my understanding of a natural “clean” eating style but also when I changed my self-talk. For example, when going to a party and seeing a bunch of desserts (which by the way I no longer crave), I used to say, “I can’t have that. I’m eating better now”.
A better way to deal with this situation is by changing your self-talk. For example, don’t say, “I can’t have that”. This type of approach only focuses on deprivation, not abundance. Instead, use the phrase “I can have that but choose not to. I’m living a healthier lifestyle now and feel great.” Always focus on the positive and stay away from any terms or phrases that focus on lack.
Keep it simple
If you’re new to this style of eating, begin by keeping it simple. You don’t need to make complex dishes that substitute esoteric ingredients for common household sugar or other ingredients. Instead, focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like brown rice of quinoa. These are basic staples and don’t require much if any preparation.
By creating a strong foundation and using positive self talk, making this transition to a healthier lifestyle is much easier. Be sure to print and post this graphic where you can see it on a daily basis. Its a reminder that eating healthy doesn’t have to be complex or difficult.