Plant-based diets can be a great way to improve your health...sometimes. It depends on what "plant-based" food you're eating. As veganism and plant-based diets continue to trend, more and more processed vegan products (AKA vegan junk food) pops up in our grocery stores. While these products can be great ways to nudge folks into the plant-based life, they can also hinder your health goals if they become long-term habits. So if you're trying to eat a healthier, more whole food plant-based diet, it may be time to wean from vegan junk food!
Ready to reap the benefits of a WFPB diet? Here's how to kick vegan junk to the curb.
Before We Begin: Making Your WFPB Diet Super Easy
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Whole Food Plant-Based Diet for Beginners: 6 Steps for Transitioning Away from Vegan Junk Food
1. Quit Cold Tofurkey
First of all, excuse the pun. Gradual quitting does not always work, so more drastic measures may be needed to cut your unhealthy habits. If you're a go big or go home type person, quitting everything at once may be your best bet. Go through your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, and get rid of everything that doesn't align with a healthy, whole food plant-based diet.
Donate the food to a local charity to avoid waste. Now that your house is clear from vegan junk, the next time hunger knocks on your door, there won't be any sugar-laden cookies or processed snacks, so you will turn to fruits, vegetables, and nuts to satisfy those cravings. Need help stocking your pantry? These are the plant-based pantry essentials to have on hand!
2. Explore New Recipes
One of the many awesome things about plant-based gaining traction? Your favorite vegan junk food, whether that's a comforting entree, or a decadent dessert, most probably exists in its more whole food plant-based form somewhere on the internet. Need help locating it? Here are some of our favorite WFPB diet resources for recipes blogs, cookbooks, and more.
3. Focus On Your Why
Whatever reason you have for wanting to clean up your diet and ditch the vegan junk food, make sure you repeat it over and over in your head, to help you stick to your goals. Have a mantra! If possible, print your mantra or affirmation and make them easily visible in your kitchen, so that you always have a reminder handy of why you want to focus on a WFPB diet over processed vegan snacks.
4. Load Up On Fiber
Whole foods are packed full of fiber, which fills you up and promotes a healthy digestive system. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will be your best friends against vegan junk food cravings. Load up on healthy plant-based foods to stave off hunger, and reap the benefits of healthy eating at the same time. Vegan junk food is high in fat and refined sugar, and like other junk food, can be addicting! By increasing your fiber intake with whole foods you will be one step closer to kicking the junk food cravings and become a plant-based superstar!
Kickstart your day with these 10 healthy and high-fiber plant-based breakfast recipes.
5. Don't Restrict Your Calories
"Dieting" doesn't really work. Restricting your calorie intake can backfire, and make you obsess over food instead, which then makes the transition to a WFPB diet that much harder. Focus on eating mindfully and listening to your body. One of the greatest perks of whole food plant-based diet is that you can eat more food and still maintain a healthy weight! Sweet, right?
6. Be Patient With Yourself
Rome wasn't built in a day. Getting used to your new lifestyle will require patience and understanding. You will make mistakes and fall off the wagon, but it's essential that you don't beat yourself up and give up. Vegan junk food, like all junk food, is seemingly everywhere and it will be hard to turn away at first. But with time, eating a healthy WFPB diet, and avoiding junk, will simply become second nature. You've got this!
- Not all plant-based diets are the same, nutritionally speaking. As plant-based continues to trend, vegan junk foods become more prevalent in the grocery store.
- To transition away from vegan junk and towards healing whole food plant-based eating you can: go cold tofurkey, explore new recipes and make WFPB versions of old favorites, find your why (and remind yourself daily), load up on fiber, stop restricting calories.
- Make it really easy on yourself and get ready-made whole food plant-based meals, delivered by MamaSezz!
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.