Tips For Transitioning To A Plant Based Diet

A few months ago I had been with friends discussing their experiences with different diets; Keto, low-carb, vegan, vegetarian, plant based etc. Of my five friends two swore by keto and the other three raved about their plant based diets (PBD). A friend described to me how having tried both (Keto & PBD) they felt they had much more energy, vitality and abundance of choice following the plant based diet. In my never ending quest to satisfy my culinary/dietary curiosity, I decided to increase my research sample and head online to find out others’ experiences. After my research seemed to coincide with my friends opinion, I decided to do what’s best with any diet/ trend and try it out myself!

Before I ventured off to Whole Foods to gather my supplies, I had to clue myself up on exactly what constitutes a plant based diet. Below is a summary of my discovery process. Hopefully my research will make the transition to a plant based diet easier for anyone else looking to make the switch themselves!

My first question was, what exactly is a plant based diet?

It appeared to me that there are six categories that are commonly classified as plant based diets;

  • Ovo-vegetarians – Don’t eat any dairy or animal foods except eggs 
  • Lacto-vegetarians – Don’t eat meat, poultry, seafood and eggs but do eat dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians – Don’t eat seafood, meat or poultry but do eat eggs and dairy foods. 
  • Vegans (not necessarily plant based) – don’t eat any animal products at all, including dairy, honey and eggs.
  • Pescetarians – don’t eat animal products with the exception of fish and/or shellfish.
  • Semi-vegetarians (or flexitarians) – avoid animal products but occasionally eat meat or poultry

The basic summary is that a plant based diet refers to the consumption of mostly plants (who would have guessed?!) but some proponents will consume an occasional mix of animal products, eggs or dairy. At this point you will have to decide which approach is the right one for you!

What foods are allowed on a plant based diet?

Green Plant Food

Thankfully the choices are abundant and varied;

  • Vegetables: kale, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, squash, etc.
  • Whole grains: brown rice, oats, quinoa, barley, etc.
  • Legumes: peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, beans, etc.
  • Plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh (find more below!)
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Plant-based oils
  • Spices and herbs

What are the liquids that I can primarily consume?

Unsweetened beverages: WATER, coffee, tea, sparkling water, almond milk, hemp milk etc.

Pro tip: If you want to consume fruit or vegetable juices always make them yourself, this will not only make them more fresh and tasty, but will also ensure nothing unwanted will be added to the juice!

What are the best sources of protein on a plant based diet?

As I have been working to gain muscle mass recently, I wanted to ensure that I could get enough protein and Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), needed for muscle growth, on a plant based diet. Thankfully there is a wide variety of choices on a PBD from which you can gain sufficient protein and BCAAs. These selections include but are not limited to;

  • Tofu, tempeh, and edamame
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Quinoa
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Beans with rice
  • Potatoes

What would a day of consumption on a plant based diet look like?

Breakfast – Coffee with almond milk, nut and fruit oatmeal (rolled oats, ground cinnamon, fresh strawberries, ripe banana, chopped cashews and almonds, dried raisins and cranberries)

Lunch – Lime sparkling water,  curried cauliflower and lentil salad (cauliflower, coconut oil, curry powder, sea salt, green curry paste, tahini, lemon and lime juice, kale, spinach, lentils, cilantro) 

Dinner – Water, a bowl of raspberries and blueberries, Quinoa and kung pao edamame bowl (quinoa, coconut oil, edamame, dried chiles, roasted unsalted peanuts, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, carrots) 

What are the top three tips for someone looking to transition to a plant based diet?

Having now been trying a strict plant based diet for the last two months I would like to put forward my top three tips to ease the transition.

Start slow

As with everything new it can be difficult and disheartening to attempt to go from 0-100 straight away. Start with one plant based meal a day, rotating through breakfast, lunch and dinner each day for a week. On the second week have two plant based meals a day. As you find yourself exploring new ingredients and slowly building up a list of recipes that you enjoy, the transition to a full plant based diet will be much smoother! 

Be creative

A plant based diet is not a restrictive one! There are many colorful and wonderful ingredients to choose from. Spend time researching different recipes online and try to cook with as much variety as possible. You will hopefully find that you will be cooking a greater variety of dishes than before the transition.

Become a student of food

As you pay more attention to the types of food you are consuming, you should also pay attention to the fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre those foods provide. Studying the properties of the foods you consume not only results in a greater understanding of how to provide a balanced diet but also keeps you motivated to eat clean as you understand the direct benefits of doing so. 

Personally I have so far had a great experience undergoing a plant based diet, it was not easy to give up the In-N-Out double double but the three bean double double I have been making sure gives it a run for its money! I hope anyone on the edge of giving it a go takes the step to try, there are so many great sustainable recipes to be explored! 

Tips For Transitioning To A Plant Based Diet


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  • Tiger came into my life one month before I was diagnosed with cancer. I had to rest so much in the early days when I had her. I would get tired and have to sleep or lay down for most of the day leading up to my surgery.

On surgery day, I was terrified. I thought I wouldn’t wake up. So on the surgery room table, before I could feel the anesthesia, I told the surgery team my “final” words, ‘Tell my mom and Tiger Lily I love them’. She was always my priority. Always my family.

When I eventually woke up the first thing I asked my mom is ‘Where is Tiger Lily? How is she?’ I was even trying to get my mom to sneak her into my hospital room but security stopped her. I couldn’t wait to have her in my lap.

I eventually got discharged from the hospital and I had to spend weeks on the sofa downstairs because I couldn’t make it to the bed on the second floor. So on a narrow sofa, Tiger and I slept together, all day. I felt so bad for her since she seemed so bored and she was only sleeping next to me because her mama was recovering.

I made little promises to her though, I would make it to the patio and sit down there for a few minutes so I could throw her toy with her (she would only play fetch with me). Then eventually I was able to take slow walks with her and sit down on a park bench while she played.

She helped me focus my energy on getting better for her. No one else could take care of her, like I could. I got stronger for her. Tiger Lily gave me purpose each day. Baby Tiger helped me heal.

Maybe this is part of why the pain is unbearable. We’ve been through so much, even in our short time together. The pain today feels just as excruciating and suffocating like it did a week ago. Praying tomorrow will be better. 💔
  • The story of how my baby Tiger Lily came into my life

March 2018 my family and I lost our family Pomchi, Puffy. She had been with us for 13 years. She was my parents baby and I was the fun sister that got to come hang with her.

When we lost her I felt an emptiness and wanted some doggy energy around. I thought fostering seemed interesting. It’s temporary. I’ll foster a dog for a couple days and then that’s it.

One day I scrolled and found Dogs Without Borders. I came across a little Tiger Lily. What a funny name, I thought. There was something about her that I was drawn to. I think it was the ears.

I was still nervous about it and didn’t know if I could handle it but one day I went out to dinner with friends and we were talking about it. There just happened to be Tiger hot sauce on the table and it said TRY ME. We laughed, I had never seen that type of sauce before! It was definitely a sign.

So I fostered her and I remember I kept her blocked off in an area of my house. There’s no way I was just letting her run free where ever she wanted to go.

Then I started seeing how scared she was. She would regularly shake; so confused as to where she was. ‘I’m a good girl why is my life like this’ she probably thought.  So I became more lenient so she could feel more at ease. I guess fine she could be on the sofa once in a while when I was around but only on her pillow. I guess fine she could be on my bed but only if she stayed on her side. Boundaries only really lasted a couple days. I’m weak.

Then after just less than a week, her former foster family wanted to adopt her. I had been thinking of adopting her but then thought it was better for her to go with them. They were a couple with other animals in the house so it felt like a fun, full home for Tiger to be in.

After just two days, the couple told me they changed their mind. If I didn’t want her then they’d end up returning her back to DWB. I was livid. Once you commit to adopting a baby, there is a no refund policy. Baby adoptions are not merchandise to exchange for another fit. I missed her and didn’t want Tiger to go through another transfer so I decided to adopt her myself. (contd in comments)
  • Rest in peace my love. My little baby Tiger Lily. I don’t know what happened. It was so sudden. You were fine on Friday! Maybe a little stomach upset on Saturday and then Sunday you could barely wag your tail when you saw me. I wish I noticed more signs so I could know how sick you were. Were you telling me something sooner and I didn’t know? You left me and my heart is not broken in half. My heart is completely shattered. I am so sorry for letting you down. I was trying to save you like you saved me. I tried to be the very best mama to you. I barely left you alone. I never wanted you to feel abandoned and lonely because that’s what you grew up knowing. (Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone I would sneak you into places you weren’t supposed to be in.) I always played with you (Stay. Stay. Find it!) I always bought you the best food - nothing but organic, all natural, and premium quality for my baby! I remember I would be so tired sometimes but I’d go out to Whole Foods to buy you steak just as a treat for being you. I wanted you to know how loved and OBSESSED I was all the time. I know you were obsessed with me too. Your grandparents would always call you “piece of gum on mom’s shoe” because you were just stuck to me like glue! You always had to be touching me, no matter what. If you didn’t see me in eyesight you would panic!

When I first got you I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would you like me? Would you be a lot of work? I could not have asked for a more perfect baby. You always listened to your mama, except for when it was bed time and you insisted on taking my side of the bed. I always pretended to be annoyed but what did I tell you every night? I said ‘Little baby Tiger Lily I love you, you’re the very best girl. I’m going to see you tomorrow and I hope you dream about all the yummy treats we’re going to eat’. Sweet baby, you were so strong. You struggled all day yesterday and when the doctor said there’s not much hope I took you home so you could be comfortable. You were so brave to be strong enough to be in the car in my arms and to make it all the way home. I didn’t let you go and you took your last breath in my arms. Snuggled with all your blankies. (contd)
  • 💔EMERGENCY: Is anyone a vet or a homeopathic animal doctor? Tigers condition has worsened over night. Doctors don’t know what the cause is, they’ve thrown out words like sepsis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, anaphylaxis, they just don’t know.

Facts: Swollen gallbladder, low body temp, stomach is fluid filled, slight water in lungs, now in an oxygen cage... - doctor says her stomach and gastrointestinal system is not working. I don’t know what to do. Maybe another opinion or doctor would know. I have a copy of blood results to help.

Please forward to anyone who might have another opinion. My heart hurts I can’t breathe and I need to save her like she saved me. 💔🙏
  • Currently at the emergency animal hospital where I had to admit Tiger Lily for overnight observation and testing. She had been feeling ill since yesterday. Little stomach upsets usually go away quickly but today she started also having slow reactions, not blinking and experiencing heavy breathing. The vet said she is “pretty sick” with low blood pressure. She may have pancreatitis or some type of gastric complication.

Pancreatitis is what my 13 year old family dog, Puffy, passed away from back in 2018. So to hear that Tiger Lily may have this... 💔 Pray for Tiger please. Anyone that knows me even a little knows exactly how much she means to me and I just can’t have her be sick because I need her. ❤️
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  • What is your approach to food? I try to eat mostly plant-based but I allow myself the freedom to eat what my body craves that day. All foods fit over here!

Today on the blog I’m breaking down an easy approach to changing mindset around food choices. 🥑 #intuitiveeating #eatingwell #allfoodsfit #healthyliving
  • There is chaos everywhere. The turmoil can be easy to ignore sometimes because it feels so far away and quite honestly, we all just have our own individual lives to live and most of us feel like we are not directly affected by it. But we are.

This isn’t the typical content I generally write about but I think it’s important to make a difference in some way. As much of a health advocate as I am, I’m really an advocate for change; change for the better. We are all capable of so much and collectively the possibilities for positive change in our communities are limitless. But change comes when there is action behind it.

I’ve been politically active for years. I’ve traveled, canvassed, phone banked, fundraised for the candidates/issues I support. It’s tough, invigorating, gratifying, and eye-opening all in one.

Rather than speak about partisan politics (there’s enough of that out there) – I wanted to give a PSA to remember to register to vote! Your voice can make a difference when you show up for yourself and for others. I listed a state by state breakdown with voter registration deadlines up on the blog today. I encourage you to check it out. ❤️#bethechange #advocacy #registertovote #positiveimpact
  • In my reader feedback form (that’s still up in my profile!) the majority of people said they’re interested in skincare and beauty. So I listened and did a round up of my favorite nontoxic, natural cleansers up on the blog. ☺️Do you have any favorites? Some brands listed are @indie_lee @biossance @100percentpure @oseamalibu @cocokind // #naturalskincare #cleanskincare #cleanbeauty #holisticwellness
  • I’m really excited to make this my healthiest year yet! Will you join me?

We all have dreams and goals we want to achieve but it’s just going to be that much more difficult to reach them if you don’t have your health! 🙏 I wrote a blog post on how often you should be seeing your doctor as a general guideline to help you. Remember to feel empowered to ask questions, listen to your intuition and get a second opinion if you need it!

Set aside half an hour today to track down phone numbers, check your calendar, and schedule those appointments.

This year, I want us all to not just survive but to THRIVE. 💕🙌
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#selfcare #newyearbetteryou #healthfirst #wellnessjourney
  • I hope everyone had the best January 1! Tradition in my family is to make homemade Korean potstickers/dumplings and put them in a rice cake soup, so I spent all afternoon making these with my mom ☺️ Do you have any traditions? #떡국 #떡만두국 #familytradition #happynewyear
  • 2019 - You’ve come with a lot of deep emotions. I found myself struggling with my mental health more than ever before. I was more anxious, more triggered, more depressed. Things felt really messy and broken for a lot of the year.

But like with most things - I found a path toward healing and growth once I allowed myself space for reflection and exploration.

More 2019 reflections and a final giveaway for you, on the blog. ❤️
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Thank you to everyone for the continued support throughout the year! Sending you all health, love, and growth as we approach a new year and new chapter! 🥳 #happynewyear #2019reflections

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