You don’t have to shop exclusively in the organic aisles of Whole Foods to maintain a plant-based diet. You can just as easily shop at Bashas’ or Fry’s.
The common misconception is that maintaining a plant-based diet requires a high level of effort and expense on your part; however, the opposite is true. An examination of the meal plans suggested by some of the prominent physicians in the field, including Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. John McDougall (he’s the one who frequently wears mens surf shirts when giving lectures that later end up on YouTube), will demonstrate that the ingredients for a delicious plant-based meal can come from any supermarket.
Here are a few more tips to help you maintain a plant-based diet.
Less Is Not More
A true whole-foods, plant-based diet is comprised of foods with low caloric density, which translates into the practitioner being able to eat until they are satisfied. Gone are the days of portion control; the portion control of a plant-based diet is the kinds of foods you put on your plate, not their quantity. Critics of the diet might wonder how you can eat so many starches and not get fat; what they don’t realize is that the problem with starches in American cuisine is not the whole food itself, but what is added to it. For example, french-fried potatoes take the potato and add a large amount of oil (and, as a result, saturated fat) to it.
Find Resources on the Internet
One of the keys to maintaining a plant-based diet is to find resources on the internet. Today, there seems to be a plant-based YouTube channel for every taste, be it young and hip or older and more frugal. There are channels to teach you how to prepare your food for the week in batches and channels to teach you how to cook on the fly. Continue to watch these videos over time, and you’ll not only pick up skills to help you with your diet, but you’ll hopefully keep inspired to maintain this lifestyle choice as well.
Dine Out Less
When you cook your meals at home, you can control the food that you eat. The unfortunate aspect of eating in restaurants is that restaurants are heavy-handed with oil, salt, and sugar. Depending on the goals of your plant-based diet, you may be trying to avoid some or all of these. You can certainly request that your food be prepared without added oil, sugar, and salt, but unless you prepare all of the ingredients yourself - or are able to read the labels - you really can’t be 100% sure that what you’re eating is along the lines of the dietary guidelines you follow.
Enjoy the Benefits
Part of the joys of a true plant-based diet - one that is centered around low-fat whole foods - is that you begin to feel the health benefits right away. This has been documented over and over again. While most diets rely on sheer willpower, the plant-based diet might be better classified as a lifestyle choice than a diet. The term diet tends to focus on what you cannot have; a plant-based diet focuses on what you can have. The immediate and lasting benefits will help you when you’re feeling tempted to order a greasy pizza or hit the drive-through at a fast food restaurant.
Use Your Newfound Energy
As you start to feel more energized, use your newfound energy to start a hobby and to be more active. Getting outside and being active will compliment the benefits you’re already feeling from the diet alone. As an added bonus, your friends and family will notice that something has changed in you, and you will be in a position to tell them how you do it.