Plant-based diet has been an up and coming trend recently. After Netflix released the documentary “Game Changer” last year, many of my friends told me that they were planning on going meat-free after watching it. The documentary has shared many benefits of plant based diet from a scientific point of view and also how a plant based diet can help to improve performance of athletes. We are convinced that plant-based diet is the future and here to stay.
However, as someone who has been through the phase of converting to a plant-based diet, this journey of change is not so easy due to rejections from loved ones, inconvenience of meals, and inner struggles. Here are some tips that might help you in your journey.
1. Take it easy and make a gradual change
There are some people who made the decision to go meat free overnight but it is not easy to change a habit overnight. Based on personal experience, I would recommend you to make a gradual change. Start with going meat-free once a week, then increase the numbers of meat-free days in a week gradually.
The toughest part of this change is the objection from the people closest to me. Because of their concerns for me and the lack of understanding of plant based diet, my parents would constantly remind me to have some meat in my meals. In the initial stage, even after I told them that I want to go meat free, they still occasionally buy breakfast (with meat) for me. I did not get angry and I would just eat the meal without the meat. The most important thing is to let our parents know that we are matured, and we still respect them. Our loved ones are more important than personal choices.
Going meat-free should be a happy decision; and not make you miserable. Do not go against your family and loved ones, give them sometime to accept your change. The only way you can convince them that meat-free is good is that you become a better person, physically, mentally, emotionally after you have chosen a meat-free diet. That will convince them to support you in your journey. Take it easy, don’t lose all your friends and families just because you choose to go meat free. That’s too much pressure for yourself or anyone to take.
2. Focus on eating healthy through plant based nutrition
Eating fries and drinking coke is also considered as a meat-free diet. However, if you just fill your daily meals with high carbo, deep fried and sugary food, your body will suffer in the long run. The purpose of going meat-free is eat healthily through plant based food and also to reduce the impact of diseases caused by meat consumption. Thus, the key is about eating healthy through plant based nutrition.
Eat a well balanced meals with nutrients from different sources of food. Practise going meat-free from the heart not just from our mouth. Practise compassion. Reduce your urge for meat so that you don’t have always consume mock meat replacements but instead go for natural nutritious ingredients such as tofu, mushrooms and vegetables. Plant based diet supposed to make you healthier and happier, not overweight and miserable.
3. Meditate and keep your mind peaceful.
Do you know why some gurus/monks required very little food daily to survive whereas on the hand hand, we constantly binge on food and eat more than we need? The reason is because our mind are not at peace, and we are filled with negativity and unhappiness. When we are unhappy and frustrated, our body uses up more energy than usual and thus, we feel hungry easily and the need to eat more. If we are able to keep our mind at ease and let go of the frustrations and unhappiness we face every day, our body will not use up so much energy, and this will reduce our cravings for oily, high calories, high sugary food.
There is a chinese saying “治标不治本“ which means resolve the surface problem but not the root problem. Going meat-free is just solving the surface problem “surface problem” and not the “root problem”. Practise compassion and mindfulness is the way to solve the “root problem”. We need start to learn how to go meat-free from the heart, by learning to let go of frustrations and unhappiness. Keep your mind at peace daily by exercising, meditating and sleeping well.
Nonetheless, all changes takes time. Do not rush, learn to embrace this process of change and enjoy your meat-free journey! We (Greendot) are here on the journey with you.