There’s nothing I like more than hearing someone proudly announce they’ve gone plant-based. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that many people are intimidated or embarrassed because they’re new to the practice, especially as they’re just getting started on their plant-based path.
They’ll often follow their exciting plant-based announcement with a sort of disclaimer, like, “but it’s only been a few days,” or “but I’m not a chef or anything, so we’ll see…” or “but I don’t think I could ever give up meat forever.”
It’s as if there’s a bit of guilt or shame about having not started the journey sooner or not wanting to be fully vegan or plant-exclusive. This is part of why so many people who want to eat a more plant-based diet struggle with the change.
This observation sparked an idea I have for a movement of sorts—a way to think about “going plant-based” that’s sustainable and guilt-free.
With this in mind, we must reframe how we think about shifting to a plant-based lifestyle.
We understand, now more than ever, that mindset greatly impacts our level of success. Our perception impacts and even creates our reality. The way we choose to fuel our bodies is a deeply personal choice, and for many of us, it defines part of our identity.
We identify as a ‘Vegan’ or a ‘Vegetarian’ or a ‘Red-blooded American Meat Eater…”
Going against the mainstream to declare a proclivity for plant-based eating can present mental and emotional challenges because it threatens our identity and belonging.
Although plant-based eating is gaining acceptance in mainstream culture, it’s not the country-wide norm by any means. It’s challenging to adopt this healthy eating approach even if it’s something you want to do in your heart.
Many people will pass judgment on your choice, restaurants aren’t always accommodating, and above all, it’s new, so there’s a lot to learn, and fear of failure is always lurking in the shadows.
What will my friends and family think?
How will I eat out at restaurants?
Will I “miss” certain “off-limits” foods?
There can be a lot to think about, beyond just the food.
It can be overwhelming.
Or…we can change the way we think about it and improve our chances of creating a mindset that helps us easily adopt plant-based eating for the long-haul.
You can keep it simple, keep it actionable, and choose in each moment to make the best choice you can for whatever stage of the journey you’re at.
What would it feel like if you choose to see this as a change that will take time? It’s easier to adopt big changes when we approach them in small increments, knowing we’ve got the time to let the change settle in.
It’s ok to acknowledge that being completely vegan or plant-exclusive may never be the best destination for you. Still, choosing to celebrate your plant-based progression, even the initial baby steps, could make the whole transition fun, empowering, and, dare I say, even permanent?
It’s equally as important to approach this shift with grace, gratitude, and grit. View the change as a path unfolding organically as a transformation—because it is.
Be open to the bumps, blocks, twists, and turns as the path unfolds.
Moving toward plant-based eating does not require perfection.
Understand that not all meals or choices will be ideal and that we are tempted every day by the food industry’s mega-money marketing machine. You are human, and your plant-based journey won’t always look tidy and clean.
Accept that you may fail here and there. A recipe may not work out. You may have a moment of weakness and eat something you’re really working to eliminate. Or your spouse may accidentally feed you refried beans made with lard.
What’s most important, I’ve found, is to keep going, move forward, try again, and stay the course.
You’ll be glad you did.