This is my second post in the “5 easy steps to start your whole-food plant-based journey’. Last week I covered step 0 – know your ‘why’. This week it’s step half – one more thing you need to think about before you start making positive changes that last. And it’s a simple but profoundly difficult one to stick to – go at your own pace.
When you start to make changes to the way you eat, people will notice (even if you haven’t told them what you’re doing or why). Opinions are formed, which they readily share with you. Before you know it, everyone has something to say about your personal food choices. And it can be a bit overwhelming.
Plant-based eating is more main-stream now than when I made changes 12 years ago, so hopefully there will be more understanding. Support from your friends and loved ones is always welcome, especially if you are making changes to help deal with a health problem or weight issue. But don’t count on it as it can create consternation and even be interpreted as rejection, seen as a fad or you just ‘being difficult’. These are some of the things I covered in the post last week. Being told to make only moderate changes or warn you from becoming a ‘food fanatic’ may come with good intentions, but this can also hold you back and stop you reaping the full benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet.
There are also those people who think you should change over night, that unless you are 100% plant-based immediately you are somehow cheating or not being authentic. I see these comments a lot on social media, in Facebook groups or on Twitter. There are keyboard warriors that pop up on social media who feel justified in criticising everyone else or dismissing other people’s efforts. It could even be friends or a health coach who believe unless you’re 100% committed from day one that it’s not worth the effort, that you have to suffer to achieve change – that old no pain, no gain attitude.may may
I have had ‘all or nothing’ people who have done my course and cleared out the kitchen after the first session, throwing themselves into a new regime from day one. And that’s great if that is what works for them, although I have to say these are also often the people who decide not to continue with a whole-food plant-based diet and move on to something else.
The thing is, we are all different, and change at different speeds. A radical over-night change may not be healthy in the short-term – the body can be a bit shocked if you suddenly go from eating a highly refined, heavy animal-based product diet to a super nutritious whole-food plant-based one. It needs to learn where essential nutrients will be coming from. And if the gut is unhealthy and over-run by bad bacteria then it can get rather unpleasant in there in the short term, causing cramps and wind. Stinky farts will definitely giving your family and friends something to complain about!
So go at your own pace – the most important thing is that you make positive change that’s sustainable and works for you. Following my five steps that will appear over the next few weeks will make a massive difference, even though on the surface they may seem small. If you’re planning on going plant-based in the New Year then following these steps leading up to Christmas will have you fully prepared and ready for a seamless change. And if you are reading these all in one go, make changes over a few days or weeks and then go for it.
Once you are eating a deliciously tasty and body-nourishing whole-food plant-based diet, all the efforts you made will be so worth it, plus you’ll have the confidence knowing you are doing the things that are right for you.