I cried for a few weeks after I changed to a plant-based diet. Changing my diet actually helped me avoid getting a hysterectomy, but that wasn't enough to stop me from blubbering about my new way of eating. I thought I'd never be satisfied. I loved all things cheese and steak frites and thought I was sentenced to a life of brown rice and steamed broccoli.
Fast forward seven years, the crying has stopped and steamed broccoli is rarely ever on the menu (unless it's smothered in an awesome sauce). I've totally got the hang of doing this plant-based thing and want to share the tips that have helped me along the way.
1. Eat things you love.
No sh*t. Seems obvious, I know. But it's not that simple. When you first change your diet, all of your go-to recipes might not fit into your new way of eating. This can feel frustrating and leave you confused about exactly what to eat.
You have to find new go-to recipes you love.
Start by choosing your favorite meals and adapt them. Do you love lasagna? Cook up this plant-based version. Are tacos your thing? Go for ones that are loaded with roasted veggies and beans. Now is the time to pay extra for that guacamole.
You can absolutely find new favorites, they just might be spruced-up versions of your old go-to recipes.
2. Get to the bottom of what you're craving.
Ever have a minor internal freak out because someone's eating pizza in front of you and just want a slice so bad? Cravings happen to us all and when you change your diet they can feel very real — especially when you feel like you can't satisfy those cravings anymore.
The next time this happens, stop and think about what you actually want. Is it something salty? A thick, creamy curry could hit the spot. Or, just go for that pizza (there are some great plant-based options out there). Is it something sweet? Well, then eat something sweet. Try something sweetened with maple syrup or whip up a batch of brownies. Give your body what it wants in a brand new way.
3. Challenge Yourself
Beans? Nope, don't like them. Asparagus? Blerg! Lentils? Don't know how to cook them. Nutritional yeast? Um, what the hell is that?
With any change, resistance can come right along with it. We shy away from unfamiliar ingredients or have banished entire vegetable families that our parents made us eat and are now forever on the "yuck" list. Opening your mind is going to help you so much when it comes to staying satisfied on a plant-based diet.
You gotta embrace this change you're making. Try a new recipe that is a little outside your comfort zone. Buy an ingredient you've never seen before and cook with it. And give that poor ingredient on your "yuck" list another shot. Unlike your ex-boyfriend, it truly deserves a second chance.
About Jessica Murnane
Jessica is the creator of the One Part Plant movement, author of the One Part Plant Cookbook, host of the One Part Podcast, and a wellness advocate. She's working to get everyone on this planet to start eating one plant-based meal each day.