The start of a new year is a great time for health-related resolutions, such as beginning a plant-based diet. A diet that focused on primarily plants can dramatically improve your health and help the environment! And our team at Yard2Kitchen Organic Gardens has some tips to help you succeed!

1. Identify Your Motivation and Do Some Research

Start by asking yourself why you are interested in a plant-based diet. Are you looking to lose weight, or improve your health? Or are you interested in becoming a vegetarian or vegan because of a concern for animals or the environment? Once you identify the motivation, try to learn a bit more about the related benefits of going plant-based. For instance, there is scientific research highlighted in The China Study showing that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other major illnesses. Many people also report bigger fitness payoffsmore energyreduced inflammation, and better health outcomes after making the switch. The film Forks Over Knives is also a great documentary that advocates a low-fat, whole-food, vegan diet as a way to avoid or reverse several chronic diseases. And Food Inc. is a film that looks at how our food consumption has changed over the past 50 years and how the meat industry is adopting more and more questionable methods to supply demand. No matter what your motivation for pursuing a plant-based diet, being educated about your new lifestyle will make it easier for you to stick with it.

2.  Take Small but Consistent Steps

A plant-based diet is just that…a diet that includes a majority of plants and plant-based products, but that does not have to be exclusively plants. You don’t have to turn 100% vegan just because it’s January 1st.  Just plan for ways to incorporate more vegetables into your meals, while eliminating some animal products. Figure out what will be easiest for you, whether this is cutting out certain meats, eliminating meat for dinners, or being vegan a couple days of the week. And if you do eat meat, eat smaller amounts, thinking of it as a garnish rather than the centerpiece of your meal. Once you have success with the selected method, you can always do more, but it is important to start with something you know you can achieve.

3.  Identify Alternatives

If you have decided to reduce or give up meat or animal sources of protein, the next issue is what to replace it with. There are many great sources of plant-based protein, such as chickpeas and quinoa. Or if you’re planning to give up dairy first, replace it with plant-based milk sources such as almond or oat milk, and stick with this change for a while before giving up something else. Then add lots of vegetables to create things such as stir-fries and smoothies. Try to fill half your plate with vegetable and include lots of color. And fruit for dessert is the perfect way to satisfy your craving for something sweet.

4.  Enlist a Friend Family Member for Support

If you are planning to go plant-based, try to get a friend or your family members to join you! This should be especially easy as you begin to lean into the diet with the small steps we have recommended. No one has to give up meat or dairy on day one; it’s just a matter of gradually swapping for plant-based choices.

Yard2Kitchen Organic Gardens wishes you a very Happy and Healthy New Year! And if you are interested in having a source of vegetables right in your own backyard, please let us know! We are currently taking orders for spring 2022 gardens.



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