I am sure we can all agree that making changes in our lives are not always easy. Sometimes we are forced to at least look at making changes when things like our health is impacted. This is where lifestyle medicine comes in. The good news is, through making lifestyle changes, and especially adopting plant-based nutrition, you can prevent and even reverse a host of diseases and health issues. You CAN take control over your health. To me, this is very liberating! As quoted by Drs. Kelly and Shull:
“Your genes are not your destiny, but your lifestyle is your destiny.”
Below are some tips that I hope may help in adopting some nutritional changes into your life:
•KEEP IT SIMPLE! Trying one new thing per week and building on that is an excellent start! Not everyone’s style is to do it overnight. If you make one change per week (for example, add one new plant-based meal per week), in a short period of time, you will be eating a lot more plants. It takes 2-3 weeks to change a habit (and your taste buds).
•Find a handful of simple recipes/meals you enjoy and rotate through them initially until you expand your repertoire. This worked really well for me starting out. I still have a few “go to” things that make the regular rotation at my house.
•Purchase cookbooks and/or there are many great on-line sites for recipes (ideally plant-based without added oil/sugar). See resources page for some suggestions.
•Enlist the help of a friend or family member. Having a buddy can help success.
•Join a meet up group or on line social media groups. See resources page for some suggestions.
•Do a food challenge facilitated by reputable, evidence-based forum or provider:
PCRM’s 21 Day Vegan Kick Start - https://kickstart.pcrm.org/en
Center for Nutrition Studies Kick Start - https://nutritionstudies.org/plant-based-kickstart/
•Work with a coach, dietician, or other provider (MD, NP, etc.) that is knowledgeable and has education in plant-based nutrition.
•If cooking is not your thing, a great plant-based meal service is MamaSezz – located in Keane, NH, local-grass roots business, free shipping to Maine, they recycle/reuse all packaging, the food is VERY GOOD! They also have a food challenge you can do.
•Batch cook grains (rice, quinoa, etc.) which will keep in the freezer for 6 months.
•Keep frozen vegetables and (low sodium) canned beans on hand for a quick meal
•Purchase an Instapot which can shorten cooking time of many foods (especially dried beans).
•And most importantly, strive for PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION. Nobody does it perfectly. If you “indulge,” don’t be hard on yourself. Just make a commitment to get back on track.
Please share if you have any tips that have worked for you!
In good health,
Kelly, J., MD, MPH, &Jeni Shull, MD, MPH (2018). Foundations of Lifestyle Medicine: The
Lifestyle Medicine Board Review Manual. (p.156 ). Chesterfield, M0: American College
of Lifestyle Medicine.