Plant-based diets have gained popularity in the health, wellness and nutrition world, as evidence has rapidly accumulated about the benefits of eating patterns where most foods come from plants rather than animals.
some health Benefits of plant-based diets Include:
- Reduced risk of chronic disease
- Regulating blood pressure and heart rate
- Regulated cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- More balanced gut microbiota
- Increased blood glucose control
However, transitioning to a vegetarian diet from a carnivorous diet, or any change in healthy behavior for that matter, can be challenging.
Whether you’re a health and nutrition coach supporting your clients in transitioning to a vegan diet or you’re interested in doing it yourself, we’ve compiled the eight best practices for transitioning to a vegan diet.
What exactly defines a vegetarian diet?
using the term “vegetarian diet” It has recently become more and more popular to describe dietary patterns where most foods or nutrients come from plants. Many people prefer to use the term “vegetarian” rather than the term vegetarian or vegan because of the major differences in what different eating patterns involve.
Vegetarian diet They are those in which meat is excluded from the diet. However, some vegetarians may eat eggs regularly (ovo vegetarians), dairy products (lacto-vegetarians), or even fish (pescatarians). In this sense, it is possible to be a vegetarian but still get a large portion of your daily nutrients from animal foods.
vegetarian Usually this refers not only to a diet, but also to a lifestyle, in which animal products are avoided. Vegetarian lifestyles not only avoid any foods from animal sources, including eggs and dairy, but they also tend to avoid any products that contain raw materials from animals or where animals might be harmed in the process. Vegetarian diets, specifically, avoid any foods obtained from animal products.
Vegetarian diets are those in which the diet as a whole consists mostly of plant foods and, as a result, nutritional needs are mostly met through plant products.
However, the term vegetarian diet leaves room for some flexibility with regard to incorporating certain animal foods. It also does not necessarily exclude processed foods, ultra-processed foods, and foods that are high in energy and poor in nutrients. Some nutritionists and researchers distinguish the standard plant-based diet from a Healthy vegetarian diet, where the consumption of ultra-processed foods, drugs and alcohol is reduced.
Many researchers have attempted to define a plant-based diet to facilitate study designs as well as to pave the way for educational opportunities about the benefits of a plant-based diet. The results varied. One group of researchers Select a plant-based diet that minimizes cooked foods and coffee. Another study Highlight how differences in plant-based diet patterns affect cardiovascular health risk, as those who ate the diet on whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains had better outcomes than those who ate starchy, overcooked or over-processed foods. .
One of the most famous The definitions of vegetarian diets are as follows:
A diet that encourages whole plant foods and discourages meat, dairy, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.
It’s important to note that not all people who eat a vegan diet, or who consider themselves vegetarian or vegan for that matter, follow the exact same eating patterns. Factors like likes and dislikes, culture and accessibility all have an undeniable influence on what diets look like and how they are experienced.
Know your nutritional needs
Contrary to popular belief, plant-based diets can meet and even exceed your nutritional needs (yes, Including protein!).
While whole food patterns are more important than individual meals, you may find that your diet patterns lead to nutrient deficiencies. For example, some nutrients, Like vitamin B12, D, and omega-3 DHA, it’s mostly found in animal foods.
As you transition to a plant-based diet, you can work with a nutrition coach or dietitian to discuss how your diet can fully meet your nutritional needs or consider taking supplements for your peace of mind.
Knowing and respecting your nutritional needs doesn’t mean you need to worry too much. Read on to find out other best practices that can help you reduce stress in your transition to a plant-based diet.
Reducing your diet pattern
Focusing on individual meals, foods, or even nutrients can be stressful and exhausting. In fact, obsession about individual eating practices, such as counting calories or cutting out cultural foods you enjoy, can lead to an eating disorder.
The advantage of a plant-based diet is that it is a complete diet approach. She understands that what you tend to eat, or your usual eating patterns, have a greater impact on your health than individual actions or decisions.
Instead of worrying too much about individual foods, you can think about what and how you eat within a week or over the course of several weeks. Vegetarian diets are flexible for a reason; Eating scrambled eggs one morning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re no longer on a vegan diet.
Minimizing may require support from a health coach or support system, especially if you are naturally inclined to worry about certain ingredients and meal composition.
check with yourself
As you make lifestyle changes with the goal of improving your health and wellness, it is important that you check in on yourself regularly. Ask yourself how you feel after making the decision, while considering changes, after taking steps toward adopting a vegetarian diet, and after people have noticed changes in the way they eat.
While it’s normal to have tough days, in general, transitioning to a vegan diet should leave you feeling empowered and healthier emotionally and physically. If not, it may be time to look at what isn’t happening as you expected and why.
If you’re not used to looking inward, you may want to work with a therapist or health coach to help guide you through the process.
Make incremental changes
Going for “cold turkey” with animal products isn’t for everyone. In fact, behavioral changes, including the adoption of new or modified dietary patterns, tend to be more successful when they are made gradually.
Dr. Barbara O’Neill From the collaborative extension of Rutger he suggests taking small steps to achieve short-term goals added to a long-term goal.
For example, on your way to eating a vegan diet, you could start Monday with a meat-free diet, take a vegan cooking class, and then meet a health coach who specializes in vegan diets.
Building support systems
Humans are social beings by nature. As such, support systems are a vital part of feeling comfortable making and maintaining lifestyle changes.
Find a support system in friends, families, healthcare teams, health coaches, and online support groups.
Research shows that people who have support systems that they understand and motivate are more likely to feel better and make lifestyle changes.
To use a support system during the transition to a plant-based diet, find others who eat a plant-based diet or know the benefits of plant-based diets; Individuals who want to see you healthy and happy; and individuals who specialize in plant-based diets and behavior change, such as health coaches.
Do what is sustainable
Regardless of the diet, the yo-yo diet is not good for your mental or physical health.
The difference between a fad diet and a sustainable long-term diet is making sure it fits with what’s important to you. The more difficult it is to maintain eating practices, the more difficult it is to keep up with them.
If you choose to eat a plant-based diet, consider how it fits into what is important to you and what you would like to change to honor the decision. Some considerations include how you feel, where to buy your food, and how to prepare your meals.
Health coaches can play a vital role in helping clients think and prepare for the effects of a change in diet.
Find helpful reasons to eat a vegetarian diet
Motivation is vital to making any change; This applies not only to modifying what and how you eat, but it also applies to changing jobs, ending a relationship, moving out, moving homes, starting a business, and more.
motives that are superficial or short-term are likely to lead to unsustainable changes. Finding meaningful triggers that help you imagine living a more fulfilling life is more likely to lead to the conviction of leading a plant-based lifestyle.
Keep in mind that while motivation plays a vital role in the continuity of healthy behavior change, there are many factors that play a role. Other personal factors such as self-esteem and trauma, social factors such as discrimination, and economic factors such as the perceived cost of vegetarian diets also influence the willingness and ability to do so. healthy behavior changes.
However, deciding to follow a vegan diet and feeling motivated to make it an essential part of your lifestyle is key to making a vegan diet work in the long term. When you find a motivation that has no time stamp on it and is meaningful to you, you are more likely to be consistent in your efforts.
Honoring all dimensions of wellness
When you choose to modify your diet in the name of health, you may feel fear or stress along the way. Remember that true health, from a multidimensional wellness perspective, It includes not only physical health but also emotional, cultural, occupational, personal, social, intellectual and spiritual wellness.
Taking this perspective can be helpful in checking with yourself the importance of making changes to your lifestyle, including diet, and knowing how to adopt changes while respecting all aspects of your wellness.
Let’s take an example of how different dimensions of wellness emerge during ordinary life events.
A vegan diet may mean you have to stop eating the traditional meat dish your grandmother makes for Sunday family gatherings. However, you enjoy attending these family gatherings and love the opportunity to enjoy your culture and heritage.
The seemingly simple act of “dispensing” with a traditional food can mean different things to different people; You may feel neglected, inclined to “cheat” in your vegan diet, or worry as if you have to explain to your meat-loving family why you abstained. Think about ways you can handle these situations, starting with what’s important to you in these gatherings, while still respecting your desire to eat a plant-based diet.
Some options include:
- Choosing to eat meat at that family meal if it suits you
- Make an alternative meal choice
- Talk to your grandmother beforehand about what she thinks of you, what makes you anxious, and offer to try a modified version of the dish that still honors your culture
Health and wellness coaches play an important role in helping clients handle such situations in a manner that respects all aspects of their well-being.
Making a healthy behavior change, such as following a plant-based diet, may seem daunting to some people. Even when people realize the benefits of plant-based diets on their health and well-being, getting there can seem far-fetched.
In this article, we’ve highlighted eight best practices grounded in healthy behavior change theory that can help coaches support their clients in adopting a sustainable plant-based diet that respects all dimensions of their wellness.