Are you new to a plant-based diet or are you thinking about switching to a plant-based diet or just looking for some tips to make it work?
Right here I imagine you’re going to love this. This is 10 tips for switching and staying committed to a plant-based diet. I’m Jerry Banfield. I’ve been on a whole plant-based diet for 3 years now. The day before I switched, I was at judging people for being on diets like that. My diet consists mostly of plant foods that have not been processed and is generally vegan and pretty strictly vegetarian. That means I do not eat meat and I avoid most animal products and I minimize my processed foods.
If you want to read why this diet is so good, check out how not to die. It goes through the scientific research that shows a whole plant-based diet prevents the top 15 causes of death all of them.
If there was a pill that did what a whole plant-based diet does, everyone would be taking it exactly as prescribed. A whole plant-based diet is literally a miracle cure for everything. The only problem is, it’s not profitable for most people, companies or healthcare organizations to tell you about it at least in the short term. Thus, let’s go 10 tips to stick with and change to a plant-based diet.
#1 tip to switch to a plant-based diet is start telling yourself a new story. You might be thinking all this is gonna be so hard. It’s hard to be sick. It’s hard to die before your loved ones. It’s hard to go to the hospital or be in a wheelchair. It is no harder to do a plant-based diet than all the things you’re going to get for not doing it. Thus, let go of the story that it’s hard. It’s not harder than anything else in life. In fact, I prefer if there’s the opportunity to deal with the pain now so to speak vs putting it off, I’d rather just get to it and live my life free and clear. So, let go of any stories you’re telling yourself about how hard it is. It’s not hard. In fact, I found switching to a plant-based diet way easier than getting sober. Getting sober was hard because I really loved drinking. It did a lot for me. Changing to a plant-based diet was much easier than that. It is not nearly one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life at all. It’s a story you tell that it’s hard to let go of that.
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#2 is going to some vegan or whole plant-based restaurants near you. These are popping up all over the place and if you don’t have one, you might need to travel a little bit for it. These restaurants can give you some hope and show you that especially if you’re new like, “Hey you can really enjoy some tasty foods on a plant-based diet. You don’t have to suffer and struggle with eating things you don’t like all day.” There are several delicious whole plant vegan restaurants where I live in st. Petersburg Florida. Now, some of their foods can be mixed just like any restaurant and it can be trickier on a plant-based diet to know exactly which one to order. So be willing to fail at it. That’s tip number 3.
#3 Be willing to fail at it and by fail I mean to make something that doesn’t taste good, to go to a restaurant and where you order food that’s not very good. Think about all the times you’ve eaten however you did before and it wasn’t good. You didn’t chalk it up to your diet that you failed to have a delicious meal. I had lots of meals that were not tastier, boring, the same old thing and I didn’t chalk it up to the way I ate. I just figured, well sometimes that’s how things go. Understand that with a plant-based diet you’re going to likely fail. I made a smoothie one time that had way too many whole plant-based foods in it compared to what I was used to. When I first started, I was horribly bloated for like a day and I just accept them like, “Well I learned what not to do”.
#4 is enjoying what you’re eating today. It’s gotta be enjoyable today. This is not something that will work for you, if you’re suffering, struggling, and thinking well, “I’m just going to deprive myself today and then I’ll see when I can stop doing this.” I remember doing the same thing with alcohol. I’d get through the day sober and I just deprived myself but deep down I still really wanted to drink and I always would break on either a really good day, a really bad day or a boring day with a plant-based diet. This is something that you want to be able to do for life. Thus, it’s important to be able to enjoy it today. I love how I eat today. I had delicious kale chips really filling, tasty, nutritious and I learned how to cook them. Thus that leads us in the number-5.
#5 Get excited about all the new adventures you’re going to have in eating. In the last 3 years, I’ve tried more new foods with my whole plant-based diet than equal to about all of what I had the rest of my life which was 32 years before that. A lot of us when we have a way we eat, we are very much on a diet. It’s just we don’t call it that. The way I used to eat included a lot of hamburgers, hot dogs, and really rich meals. The last meal I had that was on my old diet was from PF Changs. It had 5+ different kinds of meat in it. Tons of added oils, tons of added salts, tons of just quantity of food and gym. Wow! That did not leave me feeling good afterward which leads us to point number 6.
#6 Remember how your diet used to make you feel and if you don’t have success starting the plant-based diet because of cheating, watch how you feel after you cheat. Watch how you feel when you will be like, “Oh my God, I need to have this hamburger.” Watch how your body feels right afterward. The last meal I ate that was the old diet was for PF Chang’s massive meal that I just described. I went from having a really good day. I was at the airport in Detroit with my family feeling awesome. Life is good. I love my life. I’m so happy to be here with my family. We got to the airport on time. Our planes on time. Life is good. Within 15 minutes of eating and finishing that meal, my mood was down to serious depression. As an alcoholic that at that time was 2 years sober, now 5 years sober. At that time, within 15 minutes after eating that meal, I was thinking about going to the airport bar.
I even had the thought of not wanting to live anymore, cross my mind and that too within 15 minutes of finishing that meal. Then I saw what happened. I realized, “Oh my God, how I ate just caused this mood”. My whole body feels like it’s been poisoned after what I ate. My body is producing all of these negative thoughts in my mind in response to what I ate. Notice that first and once you notice it, sticking to the plant-based diet is easy. I just had a massive meal of kale chips and I feel awesome. There’s no after lunch sluggishness when I used to eat. I remember, I’d go to McDonald’s for lunch come in and I’d have this after lunch slump for an hour or 2. It’s not lunch, it’s what you eat for lunch. How you feel and what you eat is directly correlated. That’s number 7.
#7: Remember when you’re struggling. When you’re wishing if you could eat some other way. Remember how you eat and how you feel are very strongly correlated. You can eat however you want to. I could go right now down the street to McDonald’s and stuff myself with what would I get from McDonald’s. I don’t know probably something new that they didn’t have and just fill my face up with a massive cheeseburger, huge milkshake, and a large fry. Why don’t I do that? Because I don’t want to feel horrible. I don’t want to feel disgusting and not judgmentally disgusting I mean, physically disgusting. I don’t want my gut to feel all twisted up. I don’t want those depressed thoughts growing through my mind. I don’t want to feel that sluggishness that comes after eating food that knocks me down. That makes it easy when I’m at a party and there’s lots of meat and hot dogs and hamburgers. I don’t want those hot dogs and hamburgers anymore because I don’t want to feel how I felt when I used to eat those.
#8 Speaking of a birthday party is, be willing to have a little bit of flexibility. I stick pretty strictly to my diet 98% or 99% of the time. It’s important to be able to bend in certain areas a little bit in moderation. This takes some self-knowledge. For me, I don’t bend when it comes to any amount of meat that is at least significant. For example, if I have sushi, I do get the vegetarian sushi occasionally. I might have a little bit of the eel sauce but generally, if I know that upfront or I know that it has in it, I will avoid it. While I eat a mostly vegan diet I say mostly because occasionally I’ll dip over into vegetarian.
The first year I switched to a plant-based diet, I would not even have a birthday cake because it had eggs in it. I refused all of these things that I’d been accustomed to my whole life and I’ve learned, “Look go ahead and have the birthday cake because you don’t want a resentment about what you’re missing out on. You don’t want to lose the entire value of the diet and flip back into the old way of eating. You want to stick with this and therefore you need certain acceptable spots where you can bend.” I will bend a little bit on things like desserts and sweets occasionally in moderation. For example, now when it’s my birthday, I will have a piece of birthday cake just how I used to eat it when I was a child. It has some eggs in it and it’s all processed food and I will Bend and I will have a piece or two of the birthday cake. Instead of what I used to do is eat as much of the birthday cake as I could possibly stuff my face with.
Today having just one or two pieces of birthday cake is a massive treat given how I usually eat and I see that treats are best in moderation. Then what I’ll do is, bring the rest of my birthday cake to my Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and give it away instead of knocking out what adds up to a half of a birthday cake within a week of my birthday like I used to. Thus, find some points you’re willing that you can be a little flexible at while not taking the whole thing down. Having a steak every other day is not a point of bending, that is letting the whole thing go in my opinion and to make these individual decisions leads us into number 9.
#9 We need a support group and we need other people that are helping us that may mean a doctor that’s on the same diet. I got started on this because my uncle who has been a general practitioner for 30 plus years, he suggested I read the book How not to die. That’s how I got started on this diet. He is my support person. If I’m struggling with anything in the diet, I call him and he helped me see the value of bending a little bit. Because when I wasn’t bending, I was also feeling like I was missing out and he’s like, “Look, if there’s a birthday party or something, I’ll have a little cake even if it has some eggs in it because this diet is for my way of life indefinitely and thus I don’t want to do anything to taint the whole diet itself.”
I also watch videos and movies and go to a doctor who supports my way of living. That way, I get that consistent reinforcement. I talk about these things with my wife and that leads us into the final point of this number 10 which is cool because I didn’t script this ahead of time at all. I just literally pulled these 10 right out of whatever orifice you want to pick.
#10 is to slow down trying to preach and tell everyone that they have to convert to how you eat. I learned this the hard way. The day before I switched to a whole plant-based diet, I was judging and thinking people were missing out who weren’t eating how I was eating. And then as soon as I flipped I took that same mindset with me and said, “Well everyone who’s not eating how I’m eating is just going to be sick and die” and that’s not true. Some people are going to get hit by a bus and it doesn’t really matter how they eat beforehand. In some respects, it does, for example, a hamburger uses hundreds of gallons more that are made out of cow or animal versus having it made out of beans. It does matter but still, you will attract a lot more people to live how you’re living if you’re like me by patiently just doing it over and over again instead of trying to sell everyone on how great what you’re doing is.
At first, I tried to convert my mother unsuccessfully and other family members and friends unsuccessfully to my diet like it was religion. Preaching, telling all these statistics and generally having fear of what would happen to other people if they didn’t start eating how I ate. Now what I do is, I lead by example. I show you what I do and if you want some tips or if you are around me, I’ll tell you a few things about it but I’m not going to push my diet on you because that is likely to push you away from it and convince you it’s not worth doing. Thus, a lot of us when we actually do something, we try and reinforce our own belief or we try and reinforce our own diet and beliefs by pushing them on others.
Slow down, what will happen is the longer you do this and stick with it, the more people around you will tend to get on board. For example, the longer I’ve done this diet, the more my family has accommodated me by cooking not only meals that are vegan for me but cooking entire meals for the whole family that are vegan.
Now, my wife has just started going on a 6-week challenge and she’s basing her diet off of how I eat. She’s very aware now of how she eats because of how I eat and finally she’s free of being constantly judged by me for how she eats. It’s when I’ve let go and accepted she can eat however she wants to. I lead by example and guess what? If I love how I eat and it works for me people around me get interested. “Jerry, how do you have so much energy all the time”? My diet helps me have so much energy all the time. “Jerry you look really good”. Yes, my diet helps a lot with looking good. “Jerry, how did you get rid of your depression”? My diet helps a lot with getting rid of depression.
Sell it like that and let people be curious and ask more instead of sitting at the dinner table telling people how bad it is and how wrong they are for eating meat. I’ll leave you with an interesting bonus tip on this. Feel good about what you eat. We had a dinner one time with 3 vegans at a mostly not vegan dinner. The ice cream was served to us for the last dish for dessert and we had an interesting thing that happened.
There were me and a couple together, a man and his female partner. Now we each were vegan and still are to my knowledge and we each decided we wanted to eat the ice cream. Now me and the man both just decided, “Look, I’m gonna do this. It’s okay for me to eat this. I don’t usually do this. This little bit of a treat we’re going to eat it”. Both of us ate the ice cream and both of us were just fine with it like, “Well occasionally it’s okay to bend a little bit and have some ice cream”. The lady with us ate the ice cream and then felt guilty afterward like she did something wrong. With the diet like this, it’s important to consistently feel good about whatever decisions you make. If you’re going to eat something that doesn’t go along with the diet, you need to feel good about it or don’t eat it. After she ate this ice cream, she felt bad about it and her mental feeling was bad even translating to some physical feeling bad.
What I decided is, if I’m gonna eat this ice cream, I’m gonna feel good about it and enjoy it and I’m not going to feel guilty afterward like I should have not eaten it. I chose consciously to eat this. I’m eating it and it’s fine and I’m not going to start eating it every meal or even once a month going forward. Now, out of the 3 of us, she was also the newest to the diet from what I understand and she was also like I was. When I was converted, I was very preachy and very much pushing the diet on other people. Thus, it’s important to see how all this works together. If you only leave other people alone, make choices you are happy with and stick with the diet then you can reap all the benefits. And not only that but you can convert and unbelievable people over.
I’ve seen people on my Youtube Channel literally created YouTube channels called “One guy go vegan” because of the videos I made. I don’t try and sell people on the diet any more than a quick little sales pitch. This post is for people who are already trying to do the diet and who are already sold on it. I’m helping them stick with it as is my vision for this.
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