We all love food, I myself am a big foodie, I love flavour, trying new things and cooking! I also appreciate that not everyone's the same. Some people are more routine, they like what they like
If you relate to either, that's cool, this blog is for both of you.
Food is not just fuel, if it was, we would just eat broccoli all day! This blog is about how to start eating more of a plant based diet and enjoying it!
I firstly want to address that it’s about looking at some of our habits and our emotional connection with food. Our diets our very personal, born from both our upbringing and our relationship with food. Because of this, I want to say that you’re diet will be very different from mine and that ok! It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about personal choices here. Learning to listen to your body and what works for it!
Don’t forget that food makes us happy! It releases chemicals in the brian! Remember eating is also about joy!
This blog is about how to eat more plant-based from my own experience, sharing that with you so you can find your own path and what works for you! Remember there is no right or wrong!
It’s also just worth a mention, while I have educated myself on food and nutrition, I am not a dietician or nutritionist.
- Why do we need to have a more plant based diet?
- How to start you new ‘Lifestyle’ plant based diet?
- Continuing the journey with other sustainable choices
Why do we need to have a more plant based diet?
I’ve split it down into 3 main reasons :
1. THE PLANET
Our home is planet earth. It’s land and waters are finely tuned for life. We humans have learnt how to farm the land for crops and also for live stock (animals). Farming now takes up more than half the worlds habitable land space and accounts for ¼ of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Rainforests are being cleared at an alarming rate for cattle grazing all contributing factors to global warming. From a plant based perspective. Animal farming vs growing crops has a far less detrimental effect. On average emissions from plant-based foods are 10 to 50 times smaller than those from animal products.
Rearing animals to farm also takes up more space, resources such as water and feed, which also means the carbon footprint of dairy products is high too. Given all of this it follows that switching to a more plant based diet could help to reduce emissions.
If you want to know more we’d highly recommend watching the David Attenborough documentary
Along with the farming comes more animals destined for the human plate. Farm animals raised for slaughter now hugely outweigh wildlife 15:1. For every person on the planet there are approximately 3 chickens. This isn’t even touching on the welfare of care these animals receive. Meat is big business, with factory farming striving to maximise output and minimize costs.
If you want to know more, we’d recommend the below resources
3. YOUR HEALTH
It’s super simple eating more plants and whole foods is better for your body. This is where you get to choose. Being plant based isn't about restriction, it’s mainly about eating MORE. More variety, more colour and cutting down on meat and dairy products.
Most of us don’t eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables per day and moving to a more plant based diet is a great way up the ante on that! One of the biggest things most of us aren't getting enough of is fibre. Fibre is key in ensuring you have a healthy and functioning gut, something research is showing can even affect your mental health!
If you want to know more about the importance of gut health check out this blog (link to gut health blog)
Eating a more plant based diet also has other amazing benefits, studies have shown it lowers your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Another great benefit is it lowers your inflammation levels, this can be a contributing factor to heart disease and higher blood pressure.
The first thing I get asked is, but where do you get your protein from if you don’t eat meat? It’s simple, there are lots of food options that contain high amounts of protein, some of my fave’s are tempeh, seitan, whole grains, snacking on nuts, ANY dark green veggies! I also like to use a vegan protein shake after a weight session at the gym.
Alongside all this I also supplement, even when I ate meat I still did this, so it’s more of a habit that has just continued!
Here's a great link to a documentary called Game changes about the benefits of plants and the negatives of the meat industry- https://gamechangersmovie.com
How to start your new ‘Lifestyle’ Plant Based Diet
This is really important if you’ve just started.
DON’T GO ALL OUT.
Small steps will lead to the lifestyle change you want, if you try to do it all at once you're likely to feel like it's too much and give up. I love the quote “the best workout is the one you can stick to”
Think baby steps, small manageable changes is the way!
I’m going to share with you the steps I’ve taken, I’m now 99% plant based. You don’t have to go all the way, find what suits you as less meat and dairy is better than nothing! Even just one plant based meal a week is a positive change!
I took this first step because I was having some issues with my skin - eczema. I went to the docs, he gave me cream, it went away but only if I used the cream constantly, nope! To me, this didn’t feel like a solution, but instead a plaster to mask the problem. I didn’t want to rely on meds.
So, I looked into it. Turns out dairy (cows milk and eggs) is one of the most common causes of eczema, so I decided to stop having milk and eggs. My skin cleared up on its own! heres a link about it - https://www.maternityandmidwifery.co.uk/cows-milk-link-atopic-eczema-says-allergy-uk/822/
Stopping eating milk and eggs was definitely a challenge for me! I love cheese and have a real sweet tooth when it comes to dessert, so it did take some time!
I started small, changing what I ate at home. The game-changing piece for me was all based around substitution. (I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error finding things I love!)
I switched to Barista Oat milk (closet to taste you’ll get to milk) and cheese I have found a great sub. links below!
For sweet treats I absolutely recommend Rythm, they are seriously tasty! And this swedish glace icecream!
The other challenge is milk and egg crops up in ALOT of foods, even ones you wouldn't expect (like crisps) I always check the ingredients, at first this was a little frustrating, but in time I’ve learnt what I can eat and it’s also further educated me on food! I now tend to stay away from foods with tons of ingredients and alot of super processed foods contain milk and eggs, so I basically just don’t eat them and feel better for it!
After this it was eating out, going for dinner, lunch or eating at someone's house (this was probably the hardest one) Again, it was just slow steps, checking things don’t contain dairy, opting for vegan options (there are now more than ever) and learning places that offer great choices or can cater!
Once I cut out milk and eggs, which took about a year on and off, (I kept slipping up! Especially when out for dinner) Remember, it’s about taking small steps over time, you will sometimes slip up, but that's ok!
I watched the Game Changers documentary, I was already toying with the idea of not eating meat but this made me take the step. The health benefits were too big to ignore!
I followed the same process that had already worked for me with cutting out dairy. I started at home first.
I started to research and think about the food I was already eating, my go-to midweek meals that I loved to cook. I realised that most of the food I was eating was heavily sauce based, covering the taste of the meat, don’t get me wrong, I love a piece of steak but I rarely actually eat it. So again, substitution was where I was able to change my habits. Switching up the meat I would normally add to my dinner with a plant based alternative. I try to mix it up with different protein source alternatives pea, soya, wheat protein. I’ve popped a few of my fave below:
I also started to cook with more grains and legumes, so swapping out my normal chilli recipe and adding more varieties of beans (it actually tastes better!)
Just a note of caution here! Go easy as you intro more legumes into your diet! They cause more gas! My advice, build them in slowly so your body can adjust!
So now I don’t have milk or eggs and don’t have meat at home. This next step was tough….eating out.
You're out with friends and they're all getting steak, what can you do. This is where I relax a little, depending on the restaurant options, I will always try to eat the vegan option. But, if it just sucks or they don’t have an option, then I’m gunna order the least harmful dish, which is usually a fish dish.
Like I said, being plant based for me, isn't about restriction, it's about doing what you can. I would say that 99% of my diet is now animal free. This is what works, it’s flexible and not restrictive, it allows for freedom of choice and creates a mindset that's forgiving and also committed.
Don’t forget to ENJOY it! For me this journey has opened my eyes to so many more foods, trying new recipes and discovering tastes and experiences! It has been about MORE not less!
Continuing the journey with other sustainable choices
So now that we’ve covered food, where else could you change your habits to become more sustainable? We at KIHT are dedicated to building an ethical and sustainable brand, we make womens gymwear for babes who care, like you! Why not take a look at our best selling hoodie to inspire you to think about supporting slow fashion -
Also take a look at our blog on buying sustainable gifts - https://kiht.co.uk/blogs/blog/sustainable-gifts-for-her
Hope you found this useful! x