Written by Kelsey Riley
How To Get Started With A Plant-Based Lifestyle
We have been hearing more and more about living a plant-based lifestyle, but does that mean, and how can we achieve it? Let’s break down what it means to be plant-based, why this is important, and what simple steps you can take to move toward your goals.
A plant-based (also referred to as vegan) lifestyle is one that is built around food and products that are derived from plants. This lifestyle excludes anything that comes from an animal such as meat, dairy, eggs, and items like leather and fur. Avoiding anything that would exploit animals such as zoos, aquariums, or animal breeders also falls in line with living a vegan lifestyle.
I believe there are several significant reasons one should live a plant-based life, for the animals, for the environment, and for our health, along with many others.
The most obvious and most talked about reason to make this change is for the animals. By choosing to avoid foods, products, and activities that exclude animals, we are avoiding contributing to the suffering of animals. There are a bunch of documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, that you can watch and learn more about how eating animal products affects animals.
Another great reason to make these changes in for the environment. When animals are raised as livestock, they need a place to live, need large quantities of food and water, and create a great amount of waste. All of these things contribute to deforestation, pollution, and create a great demand for water. By opting into plant-based choices, you’ll be more eco-friendly and will help contribute to the conservation of land, helping control and conserve the world’s water supply, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Eating a plant-based diet can be really beneficial for our health. I love this article which is really helpful in explaining some of the specific advantages of eating a vegan diet. It includes benefits such as lowering blood pressure, better overall heart health, the prevention of chronic diseases, and even a decreased risk of cancer.
There are so many great reasons to make this lifestyle change, what is yours to be?
Eating A Vegan Diet
One of the most impactful ways to incorporate a plant-based lifestyle is by choosing to eat a vegan diet. We eat multiple times a day and every single meal, snack, or dessert, is an opportunity to make a difference.
We are so fortunate to live in a time where you can go almost anywhere and find vegan options. Our grocery stores are suddenly offering more and more plant-based options, restaurants are adding vegan items to their menus, and plant-based recipes are found in many cookbooks, websites, and all across social media.
The best advice I can offer you when making any lifestyle change is to go at your own pace. Some people are ready to dive right into a vegan diet and some people need to go a little slower, either way, is completely fine. If this feels overwhelming, I recommend trying a couple of new vegan recipes per week. Slowly make the transition by trading one animal-based meal for a vegan meal.
Find your support system and lean on them for encouragement. Everyone’s support system might look a little bit different and that’s completely fine. Yours might be a singular person such as a family member, a friend, or a work colleague. It could also be an entire community like a club or an online platform like a Facebook group. Having a group of people to look to for encouragement and support along the way will make any type of lifestyle change easier.
Sweet Potato Power Bowl
- Cutting Board
- Chefs Knife
- Baking Sheet
- 4 cups kale
- 1 cup sweet potato diced and roasted
- ½ cup quinoa cooked
- ¼ cup radishes thinly sliced
- ¼ cup red cabbage shredded
- ¼ cup avocado diced
- 2 tbsp tahini dressing
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp cool water
- Start by washing, dicing, and roasting the sweet potatoes. Season however you prefer (I kept things simple and used a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper) roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before adding to your power bowl.
- Mix together all ingredients for the tahini dressing and set aside.
- Wash your produce and allow to dry. Chop the kale and massage with a little olive oil or lemon juice. Prepare the other produce according to the ingredient list.
- Assemble your sweet potato power bowl starting with the kale, followed by your veggies, and a drizzle of the tahini dressing. Mix together and serve immediately!
Let’s Make a Difference
Every day we have the opportunity to make hundreds of choices. We are so fortunate to live in a time where information is so easily accessible and we have the opportunity and freedom to make choices that we feel are the best for us and our families.
I encourage you to continue educating yourself and others about the benefits of living a plant-based lifestyle. Cook a plant-based meal, opt-out of products like leather, watch a documentary with a family member or friend. It’s easy to feel like the choices we make are small, but when we make these choices together, we can make a big difference!
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