Blog post

Start a Plant Based Diet

The plant based diet. A phrase that either strikes fear into the hearts of hardcore carnivores, or (unearned) virtue into the minds of the veg lovers. Some people gravitate towards this eating philosophy for health reasons. Others have strong ethical opinions that cause them to swear off meat. And yet others avoid these plant shenanigans like it’ll bring on the plague. Regardless of your motivation, you’re here, and you’re reading this. So maybe you’re a little curious about what a plant based diet actually looks like. Or you’re wondering how you’d even go about following one. Or possibly, you’re wondering what the hell a plant based diet even MEANS.

We’re here to clear up some of the confusion, and to give you the quick and dirty about starting a plant based diet. No, we’re not here to convince you. It’s not our job to judge you or guilt you into anything. If you are interested in learning more about some of the benefits of this diet, we suggest checking out some of these documentaries: Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., Hungry for Change.

(And no, they’re not the PETA versions that shows you horrible images of tortured animals. They’re actually crazy informative and interesting as hell).

We’re simply handing you the guide to get you there if you choose. Even if it’s only one or two days a week. And don’t worry, we won’t tell your meat eating friends you were here…

plant based diet

Start With a Why

Before you begin any diet philosophy change, you need to ask yourself why you’re even doing it. Perhaps you’re curious to see if all the physical benefits that the plant heads hype up is valid. Maybe the person you’ve got your eye on eats like this and you want to impress them. Or maybe you’ve just received a scary-as-hell health diagnosis that’s put your survival instincts into overdrive.

There are honestly endless reasons that people approach a plant based diet. And the truth is, it’s a deeply personal decision. So ask yourself why you’re doing this, and what you’ll receive from it. Doing this will help make this a more lasting decision and drive you to be more committed.

plant based diet

Educate Yourself

Depending on how radical of a change this is for you, you need to educate yourself on some of the changes you’re about to make.

While we can provide a few points, it’s a good idea to do some of your own research too. We highly recommend the book Thug Kitchen – Eat Like You Give a F*ck. This book is easy to read, hilarious, and is jam packed with delicious recipes that require zero animal products. We own every single one of their books and we use them constantly.

Now get your brain ready for a quick information dump.

What is a plant based diet? Basically, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The foods you eat are plant based, which means no meat, and for some people, no animal products at all. We like to stress that the degree of this is YOUR choice. If it’s easier to imagine dumping meat but not your dairy products yet, that’s fair. Making this a manageable change makes it a whole lot easier to follow through with.

What can I eat? Like we said above, a plant based diet usually entails mostly plants, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, etc. Anything that comes from the ground is basically fair game. Some people still eat eggs and dairy products while following a plant based diet.

Anyone who sits here and tries to say you’re not plant based if you don’t strictly adhere to ONLY plants is kind of an ass. This is your decision, your eating philosophy, and your food. While we don’t think it’s fair to eat steaks every week and say you’re plant based, we also don’t think you should let the overly virtuous plant followers to make you feel any certain way for doing what works for you.

What nutrients do I need? Well, if you’re following a balanced plant based diet, you’ll receive pretty much all of the essential nutrients that you need. YES, even protein (insert eye roll here). The catch here is the word ‘balanced’. No, you cannot survive on a diet of Oreos and potato chips (both of which are vegan, BTW). But if you’re consuming meals that are balanced and healthy (think beans, quinoa, nuts/seeds, and plenty of produce), you’ll get almost every nutrient you could possibly need.

The only supplement that you may want to take is B12. However, you can even get that through nutritional yeast. Some women also like to take an iron supplement, but that’s also not necessary if you’re loading up on leafy greens. You know what you’re eating, so you make the call.

plant based diet

Make a Plan

After you’ve established why you’re switching to a plant based diet, and educated yourself about it, now you need to make a plan. What are you going to eat?! Again, we suggest turning to some books that might help you restock your kitchen, and give you killer meatless meal ideas. Some of our personal favorite meals are the Meatless Stuffed Puff Pockets and a Chia Pudding.

Pinterest is another place you can load up on meal ideas. Make this FUN for yourself, and start enjoying experimenting with the recipes.

We suggest making it VERY easy on yourself in the beginning. Don’t get too crazy buying all kinds of stuff you’ve never eaten before. If what you’re familiar with is burrito bowls, then veg it out by replacing your usual meat with extra beans and grilled veggies. In love with burgers? Find a veggie burger that’ll blow your mind. Experimenting with these easier recipes will ease you into the more hardcore plant based meals that you’ll eventually dive into.

Another thing you need to do is plan before you hit the grocery store. Check out our Plant Based Shopping list for some hints on must have items that are staples in our kitchen. Even if you’re only going plant based for half the days of the week, you’ll want to know exactly what meals you’re making, so you don’t buy a bunch of stuff that’ll get forgotten in the fridge.

 

Even though we’ve said this before, we’ll say it again. This is your decision and it’s your life. Don’t stress about putting a label on it, and drop the all or nothing mentality. See what you like, and what makes you feel good. The rest will come after that!

Happy nomming Dreamers!

57 Comments

  • jane

    January 16, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Ohhhmmy i hope i can decide on this for myself to go plant based but it’s hard for meat eater like me.
    Great tips Susan.

    Much Love,
    Jane | The Bandwagon Chic

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 17, 2018 at 2:43 am

      Thanks Jane! Ben used to feel the same way but it’s all about what makes YOU feel good!

  • Chynna

    January 17, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I hadn’t actually thought of going on a plant-based diet before reading this! One of my goals this year is to make healthy decisions purely because I know I haven’t been looking after body as well as I should and it’s starting to showing through my skin. I will definitely save this post for future reference because I feel like this sort of diet would so beneficial for me ~ even if it’s only 1 or 2 days of the week, I got to start somewhere. Thanks for posting!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 18, 2018 at 2:20 am

      Isn’t it crazy how much your skin is an indication of your diet?! Mine freaks out if I have a lot of added sugar or dairy. And it’s clear and glowy when I’m on top of my eating. Even starting with 1-2 days a week is awesome because it’s like a test drive to see how it makes you feel!

  • Marisa Cavaleiro

    January 17, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I have an intestine problem and i cant eat what i want but what my body wants. Food intolerances.. what is green i cant eat omg…
    Xoxo from Portugal

    marisascloset.blogspot.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 18, 2018 at 2:21 am

      Food intolerances are tricky to deal with! I LOVE pasta and creamy sauces, but my tummy says absolutely NOT. It’s all about knowing your body!

  • Deborah Brooks

    January 17, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    These are such great points! I agree that it is important to have your why. It’s hard to stick to something if you do not. I love the Thug Kitchen books too they are hilarious and yummy.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 18, 2018 at 2:22 am

      Exactly! The why is what brings it all together and helps you stick with it. And Thug Kitchen is the BEST! I still read through the beginning if I need a giggle!

  • Rosanna

    January 17, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks for the info, this is all really interesting to me!!
    Have a lovely day 🙂
    Rosanna x

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 18, 2018 at 2:22 am

      Thanks Rosanna! You too!

  • Pauline

    January 17, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    I love the focus of the root reasons for starting a plant-based diet, it was a really refreshing read that wasn’t forceful or anything. I’ve said this before but I’ve been thinking of going plant-based for a while and I couldn’t really think of the root reason of WHY now I think about it so thank you for bringing mindfulness into my life 🤗

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 18, 2018 at 2:23 am

      I think you’d really love the plant based diet! Even if it’s only part way. But it’s so true, everyone needs to figure out WHY they’re doing it. And it needs to be for yourself in the end. There are so many trendy diets these days, it makes it hard to figure out what’s best for YOU.

  • Valerie

    January 17, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    This is such an informative post! Although I’m a meat eater, I do like the idea of introducing this type of diet one or two times a week! Thanks for sharing!

    http://roadesque.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 18, 2018 at 2:23 am

      Thanks Valerie! I know people who do meatless 1-2 times a week and they love it! Others choose to only eat chicken/fish. Everybody is different!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    January 18, 2018 at 12:39 am

    I love how much you emphasized the individuals need. I always say that every BODY is a snowflake! When I went plant-based, my body couldn’t take it given my activity level… but I know some people feel great on it!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 18, 2018 at 2:24 am

      That’s such a good way to put it! Ben is plant based and he works out more than anyone I’ve ever met. BUT, he also eats SO MUCH FOOD! I don’t think I could ever consume the amount he does. But it works for him and his activity level. Each person is different and it’s all about knowing our own bodies best!

  • the adventurer

    January 18, 2018 at 4:16 am

    I love how you emphasize that we shouldn’t worry about the label or be so strict with the rules of our diet. I’ve recently decreased the amount of red meat I eat and I’ll admit I feel good. Although I could never go full on plant based I do like learning about the diet and it’s benefits. The more you know right?
    =o)

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 19, 2018 at 2:33 am

      It’s so true! Labels make people feel like it’s such an ultimatum and that honestly just drives them away from healthier eating. Knowledge is power!

  • Kasie

    January 18, 2018 at 4:20 am

    This is such a helpful post! I’ve been considering going more plant based but myself but am completely overwhelmed with the prospect. This made me feel like I can actually handle it!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 19, 2018 at 2:34 am

      It’s honestly baby steps! Ben never actually stood up one day and said he was going to be plant based. It happened little by little over a period of time. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with!

  • Miriam

    January 18, 2018 at 9:13 am

    This was such an interesting read, we have cut down on meat a lot over the last years and see it as a weekend treat rather than a daily thing to eat. I wouldn’t be able to go completely meat free but I personally believe that it would be a great thing if more people would eat a more plant-based diet.

    Miriam
    http://www.londonkitchendiaries.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 19, 2018 at 2:35 am

      We agree! It’s so good for your body AND for the environment. But even cutting DOWN on meat consumption makes a huge difference in both areas. It’s not an all or nothing!

  • The pink pineapple

    January 18, 2018 at 9:14 am

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 19, 2018 at 2:35 am

      Thanks!

  • Gemma

    January 18, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Such a great post! Ive been leaning more towards a plant based diet recently so found this to really inspire me. Have a great day!

    Gemma x
    http://www.jacquardflower.uk

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 19, 2018 at 2:35 am

      Thanks Gemma! We’re so glad it helped!

  • Rachel

    January 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    This is such a great and informative post! I think one of the best things about eating plant-based or paleo or just “clean” is that, if you’re eating the right foods, you can really pretty much eat as much as you want! I have a very big appetite, so that kind of freedom is super important to me.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 19, 2018 at 2:36 am

      Ahhhh that’s SO true! We never worry about calories or eating ‘too much’ when we munching plants. And there are SO many delicious eats out there that aren’t processed!

  • Gabrielle

    January 18, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Figuring out WHY you’re honestly doing it is really good advice, particularly as then you know how best to keep yourself on track! A couple of health issues means a plant-based diet isn’t an option for me right now, though.. perhaps in the future! 🙂 I love how you’re not pushy about the concept by the way, and instead simply opting to open readers’ eyes to another possibility.

    aglassofice.com
    x

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 19, 2018 at 2:37 am

      It’s so true! And we just feel that being judgmental and pushy is the exact opposite way to get people to listen to you. All we want to do is share what’s working for us, and hope that it helps someone else in some small way!

  • Eena

    January 19, 2018 at 3:11 am

    I have mixed feelings about fully going plant-based. I think it’s a great idea and in the long run, it will definitely be a healthier choice with some added benefits, for sure. I tried the plant-based life a year ago and only managed a day of it… I’ll definitely want to try it again soon.

    cabin twenty-four

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      Haha we love your honesty about it! Don’t think of it as an all or nothing decision. Ease into it! Just try making some plant based meals here and there instead of cutting out meat entirely. Then, as it gets easier, go for full meatless days. It’s all about figuring out what makes it sustainable for YOU!

  • Caitlin | Beauty & Colour

    January 19, 2018 at 7:01 am

    You guys write the best vegan guides! You’re inspiring me to write my own for my site! 🙂

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:04 pm

      THANK YOU! That means so much! We’d love to read the ones you come out with too!

  • jane

    January 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

    This looks wonderful.
    I hope to have a plant based diet too.

    Just passing by,

    Much Love,
    Jane | The Bandwagon Chic

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:04 pm

      Thanks Jane! We think you’d love it!

  • Heather Rowland

    January 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I wish this post had been around when I became vegan – it’s so helpful and informative without just shoving pictures of tortured animals in your face. All the points are so true and relatable – thank you so much for sharing!

    Heather xoxo
    https://www.hefafa.me.uk

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:05 pm

      Isn’t that the truth though?! We feel like just showing people HOW and letting them make the call themselves is a way better avenue. Thank YOU Heather!

  • Emily

    January 19, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    While I don’t plan on going to a full plant based diet, I definitely plan on consuming less meat this year! I think it’s such a great way to contribute to the environment and live and overall healthier lifestyle with more veggies! These are some great tips that I think I can also use, even if I don’t plan on going fully plant based. Love it!!

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:05 pm

      It’s SUCH a great way to help the environment. We were blown away when we watched the documentary Cowspiracy. Even if you go a few days a week, it makes a huge impact!

  • Gretch

    January 20, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Although I do not have any plans to give up meat, I found this post very interesting and informative. I usually like a bit of both meat and veggies/seeds on my meals.

    Thank you for sharing!

    – Gretch of GG Memochou

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Gretch! It’s all about knowing more, whether you adopt it or not! Veggies and seed are always a good addition to ANY meal!

  • Nancy

    January 20, 2018 at 5:32 am

    I’ve watched Food Inc. before and it helped me be a bit more mindful of my eating. Incorporating anything plant-based into your meals go a long way! One thing I really like is that it takes less resource to grow them compared to raising animals.

    I love how you’re always inspiring to eat healthier and giving your body some love with natural nutrients!

    exquisitely.me

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      Thanks Nancy! Food Inc was one of the first documentaries that we watched and it definitely left an impression. Feeding your body with food that comes from the ground just naturally makes you feel great!

  • Dasynka

    January 20, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    I’m trying to change my diet over and over, always knowing new things about carbs for example. I discover that carbs are not good, but that we should eat just meat, fish and eggs, and vegetables, a few fruits. For so many months I was eating legumes, no pasta and bread, no meat, just fish and eggs, vegetables and a lot of fruits. I really don’t understand where to go, but I know that my body doesn’t feel good. I’m always swell, my swollen belly are incredible and even exercises seem not doing anything on me at that point. And when I eat so much vegetables, it seems they also don’t good for me so much.
    I’m so confused right know.
    xx Dasynka
    http://dasynka.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      Food can definitely be a tricky thing to navigate. Carbs are actually SO important for your body, they’re one of our main sources of energy! The key is eating GOOD carbs (think sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, etc.). Getting the right balance of foods is key. I also highly recommend taking a probiotic, which can make a big difference in your gut health and reduce bloating!

      1. Dasynka

        January 23, 2018 at 6:23 am

        Thank you so much❤️ xx

  • Nevena Krstic

    January 21, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips! 🙂 xx

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      Thank YOU!

  • Zhanna

    January 21, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    As with anything else, educating yourself is very, very important. Simply switching to plant-based life style because someone says it’s good for you is not the best way, at least for me. Like you, my decision to eat plant-based diet was influenced by “Forks over Knives” . Another my recommendation would be “China Study”

    http://www.morethandestination.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 21, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      We 100% agree! What made it a permanent decision for Ben was all the research he did with it. The more he learned, the more sure he was that this was the best lifestyle choice for him and his body. We LOVED Forks Over Knives, but haven’t seen the China Study yet. Watching that tonight!

  • Viola

    January 23, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    So positive post, love this! 🙂
    Please check out my blog too. That are absolutely stunning photos!

    violaroth.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 24, 2018 at 3:06 am

      Thanks Viola!

  • Shannen

    January 26, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    I started transitioning to a plant based diet back in October. In someways, it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. But, in some areas I’ve found it difficult to say no or to give up certain items. This blog post is full of great tips for people just beginning to transition, and for those that just need a reminder! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 27, 2018 at 1:29 am

      Yay! That makes us so happy to hear! There are definitely parts that are easier than others. I used to crave burgers for a LONG time, but now a veggie burger always satisfies it!

  • Kim

    January 28, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    I love your approach in writing this and how you’re not trying to guilt us or judge! I have never attempted a plant based diet nor do I think it would fit with my lifestyle (namely, my mother’s lifestyle because she would die if I ever rejected her food) but I am super interested in adding these healthy foods into my diet to compliment/substitute what I’m already eating!

    Kim
    http://www.simplylovebirds.com

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      January 28, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      We love THAT approach! Honestly, you can’t go wrong trying to fit more plant foods in your diet, regardless of your eating philosophy. And we’d never want to step on mom’s toes haha, you can’t say no to home cooking!

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