The transition to a whole foods, plant-based diet can be daunting. To newbies or those not familiar with veganism, it screams social, emotional, and physical deprivation, but what if I told you there are ways to mitigate those feelings of overwhelm and lack when moving toward a plant-based lifestyle? Would you believe me?
Below are four ways to reframe your thoughts and turn those negatives into positives:
1. When you are worried about what you have lost, focus on all that you have gained.
If you're particularly engrossed in the Standard American Diet, your first thought might be, How can I live without animal products? A majority of Americans consume some variation of an animal product at every meal, whether it's the milk in your coffee, the cheese on your pizza, or the beef in your burger.
But what if you took a moment to focus on all of the gains that accompany a thoughtful and well planned plant-based lifestyle, such as glowing skin, stabilized weight, new and interesting meal plans, increased energy, lower predisposition to many health conditions, etc.? When you reframe your thoughts and look for the positives in any situation, your days become more enjoyable and your world expands.
2. When loved ones are critical, focus on how you can lead by example.
There is no better way to help those you love adopt healthier habits then to lead by example. Defiantly shoving your new and beloved lifestyle down the throats of family and friends will only create more criticism and hostility around a series of behaviors that should be filled with positive energy. Let them see the accumulation of positive outcomes present in you just by changing the way you eat, and they will want to learn how to create the same results in their lives.
3. When you feel like there isn’t enough time, be proud of the fact that you are slowing down and using this precious resource more wisely.
A plant-based lifestyle requires thoughtfulness and planning, so I guess we could say it requires more mindfulness throughout your days. Wake up a little earlier to juice or pack your food for the day, maybe throw in five minutes of meditation or yoga, and be proud of yourself for using your time in a healthy way that will put deposits in your bank of health and ultimately sustain your wellness.
4. When you feel the world isn’t made for vegans, get creative.
It isn’t easy to be a vegan in a society that is not set up to allow the vegan experience to unfold with grace and ease. This is when we have to get especially creative. I’ve been named a “food hoarder” by friends and family because I am always strapped with vegan snacks in my purse and car. Raw vegan bars, nuts, seeds, and fruits are portable and easy to pack and consume in a pinch.
In non-vegan restaurants, order a salad minus the animal products and pack some of your favorite nuts and seeds to throw on top. When you start to feel isolated, think of healthy and inventive ways to spend time with loved ones that don’t revolve around food. Go for a walk, grab a cup of tea, find a meditation or yoga class, see a movie, run errands together, etc. Flex those creative muscles and see that the possibilities are endless.