This is a lengthy, and informative post geared towards NEW PBJ’s interested in beginning their Plant-Based Journey (or those curious about this lifestyle). Feel free to bookmark this page for future reference. Thank you for your time 🙂
I realized I was frequently asked the same questions
How do I start? and What do I do now?
In this post, I am going to share with you MY insights on how to get started on your amazing PBJ journey. Please feel free to add any thoughts or suggestions, by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post. We can ALL benefit from one another. I am most definitely not an expert, and will never claim to be. I am, by the way, only a two-year old PBJ. CLICK HERE to read about my two-year PLANTIVERSARY celebration (and more of my story).
I cannot even begin to tell you everything I have learned in the last two years, and I love the fact that I am still learning. There are so many fabulous resources out there for us PBJ’s. I will however, do my absolute best to help whoever asks. By the way, I am your BIGGEST cheerleader. I want EVERYONE to feel as GREAT as I do, and I have realized that by living a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle, it truly is possible to have a LIFE!
Speaking of having a life, CLICK HERE to check out my blood work results from earlier this year. The only supplement I take is B12, which is a MUST, if you are living a plant-based lifestyle. CLICK HERE to check out my B12 recommendations. I spray 500 mcg on my tongue every other day…that is it! I will write about B12 on a future post.
I am ROCKING this PBJ lifestyle, y’all…and so can YOU! I will be honest, when they say results are typical regarding this lifestyle, they are not lying or telling ya “stories”. Be prepared to feel like a NEW WOMAN/MAN. I read the success stories EVERY DAY!
PLEASE be sure to discuss your lifestyle change with your doctor, if you are currently on any medications. You will find out, that they will be just as shocked as you are, that we can truly heal ourselves by what is on the end of our fork. Also make sure you are armed with the info regarding this lifestyle, in case your doctor happens to “squawk” about it. There is nothing but scientific evidence to back up this amazing lifestyle (read The China Study) For example, CLICK HERE to read the article published (this year) to The Permanente Press, to our Physicians. My favorite excerpt from the article:
The objective of this article is to present to physicians an update on plant-based diets. Concerns about the rising cost of health care are being voiced nationwide, even as unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to the spread of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. For these reasons, physicians looking for cost-effective interventions to improve health outcomes are becoming more involved in helping their patients adopt healthier lifestyles. Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods. We present a case study as an example of the potential health benefits of such a diet. Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.
Are you ready to get off (or reduce) your medications?
Are you ready to have energy ALL DAY?
Are you ready to Let FOOD be thy medicine, and MEDICINE be thy food?
Are you ready for your new LIFE?
Here are some tips to get you started
Step #1 ~Pat yourself on the back!!
You made a WISE choice…to take care of YOU!
First of all, Woo Hoo for even asking the question, How do I get started? This can be a HUGE first step for most. If you think about it, the majority of us were born and raised to live a certain lifestyle. The certain lifestyle I am referring to, is that which includes the SAD (Standard American Diet).
We all have our own personal reasons for wanting to learn more about a plant-based lifestyle. My reason was my health, or should I say lack of health. I constantly battled with fatigue, constipation, headaches, acne, allergy/sinus issues, along with other health issues. I was sick and tired, of being SICK and TIRED….ALL of the time. How about you, what is YOUR reason? (Feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post).
In addition to eating the SAD, I was also a smoker for twenty years. I know I know…but guess what?? I QUIT!! CLICK HERE to read one of my biggest milestones.
I just so happen to be flipping through movies on Netflix, and stumbled upon the documentary, Forks Over Knives. Let Food Be Thy Medicine is prominent in this film. CHECK IT OUT!! This film hit home for me. CLICK HERE to read more about the impact this film had on my LIFE. If you decide to get your own copy (like I did) to share with your loved ones, CLICK HERE.
There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to do this.
This is YOUR journey.
You will have people who slowly ease their way into this lifestyle. They start eating a plant-based meal for lunch everyday, or they start adding more veggies to their dinner plate, or they substitute Almond Milk for Cow’s milk.
Speaking of cows milk? Why is it that it never really occurred to me that I was drinking milk from another animal? Why? That milk was meant for the cows baby, it’s calf…NOT ME. Anyway, before I get off on my dairy tangent, CLICK HERE to read up on some reasons to ditch dairy, and CLICK HERE to try some awesome substitutes.
Once you educate yourself on the facts,
then your eyes will begin to OPEN!! (see Step 2…)
Back to what I was saying. On the other hand, you have others that go ALL IN (those with major health issues should definitely go ALL IN). After watching Forks Over Knives, the next day I had my “last supper” (as I like to call it), and that was it. I have not looked back since. There is so much information out there regarding this lifestyle. You have some folks that eat mostly fruits. You have some that eat mainly “starches”. You have some that eat a lot of “greens”. You have some that like to “Juice”.
YOU have to find what works for you. I cannot tell you what will work for you. I CAN tell you what worked for ME, and MY experiences thus far.
I personally eat a bit of everything. I eat lots of leafy greens, lots of various, different colored vegetables, a decent amount of fruit, some beans/legumes, plenty of whole grains, and just a tad bit of healthy fats (nuts/seeds, flax meal, chia seeds, avocado, olives, etc…). I occasionally will blend a smoothie for a treat.
Here is a great visual of what I eat daily
Also, PLEASE do not let yourself get overwhelmed. For example, I was initially overwhelmed by what my friends and family would say. Really, why do I care? It is MY BODY, right? Well, the fact is….I CARE, and I am sure you do too. Take it from me, focus on YOU, and do not let the naysayers play a role in your decision, or your mindset. I have never felt better in my life, and I am so thankful I did not let them get to me.
Do not take anything they say personally, as they do not know any better (this would include some of your doctors as well, I hate to say it). That used to be YOU once, right? Before you started figuring out that the SAD was just not cutting it anymore. Before you realized that FOOD is our MEDICINE. Before you realized that you were sick and tired, of being SICK and TIRED.
You might get frustrated at times (for me it was ALL the time), because you always feel like you have to “defend” yourself. Answering all of the same questions: Where do you get your protein? What about calcium? What will you EAT, besides salads?.
In addition to listening to the same responses: I could never give up chicken. I love my steak too much. Give up cheese, are you crazy? I do not like vegetables. I love my cheeseburgers and fries. We were meant to eat meat. My grandfather lived till he was 90, and he ate meat, and consumed dairy. Beans give me gas. As long as it is in moderation.
Oh, I could be here all day, lol.
By the way, I highly recommend the book, My Beef with Meat, by RIP Esselstyn. This book will help answer many of your questions, along with everyone else’s questions. Plus it will give you a sense of relief, that you did in fact, make the right decision. That you are not CRAZY.
What was said regarding this book:
Rip Esselstyn, is back and ready to arm readers with the knowledge they need to win any argument with those who doubt the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and convince curious carnivores to change their diets once and for all. Esselstyn reveals information on the foods that most people believe are healthy, yet that scientific research shows are not. Some foods, in fact, he deems so destructive they deserve a warning label. Want to prevent heart attacks, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s? Then learn the facts and gain the knowledge to convince those skeptics that they are misinformed about plant-based diets.
For a few other books I recommend, check out the right sidebar on our website,
listed under Resources.
Again, pat yourself on the back for making the connection between diet, and your health. You ARE what you EAT.
I highly recommend learning as much as possible, regarding a Plant-Based lifestyle. We did not become the way we are overnight, so start learning how to become the NEW YOU, and the reasons WHY you should. Most importantly, do this for YOU. For any change to take place, the first change has to start with YOU, and your attitude. So, what better way to do this, than to fuel your fire, by learning MORE about this amazing lifestyle.
Which leads me to…
Step #2 ~EDUCATE YOURSELF
CLICK HERE for a great list of books to check out from the library.
Or in my case, start your OWN PBJ LIBRARY.
Obviously I cannot recommend just ONE
You can even CLICK HERE to review parts of the books for FREE
(including some delicious recipes) before you buy them.
- In addition to reading books, CLICK HERE to watch some awesome, and educational videos. Also, watch some of these documentaries: Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Killer at Large, Food Matters, King Corn, Food, Inc (warning: contains some footage of animal suffering), The Gerson Miracle, and The Beautiful Truth.
- CLICK HERE for a great list of websites that share amazing, and healthy recipes, in addition to MORE educational resources.
- CLICK HERE to receive the answers to the majority of your Frequently Asked Questions.
There are plenty of these books at the library. Check them out before you buy them. That is what I did. As I posted above, majority of these books, you can preview for FREE before you buy them. Plus, there is plenty of websites with info as well. So, begin your journey by educating yourself.
I could be here all day discussing the benefits of this plant-based lifestyle. But you know what? YOU have to figure that out for yourself. If you live a plant-based lifestyle, then you will SOON figure out how spectacular it is. One way to figure out how fabulicious it is, is by trying some NEW recipes!!
Which brings us to Step #3
~Let FOOD be thy medicine, and medicine be thy FOOD ~Hippocrates
BEFORE I get to the BEST part…the FOOD, I highly recommend you document your PBJ Journey (keep a diary, or whatever you choose).
Examples: Keep track of your weight, inches, medication dosages, emotions, foods you liked/disliked (you will be amazed at how that list will change), good days, bad days, take pics of yourself, etc… Nothing like seeing those “before” and “after” pics….right?
I sure wish I would have done this, because the results have been amazing. I do not just mean my weight, because I did not do this to lose weight, I did it for my health. I wish I would have kept track of my tummy issues, constipation, headaches, being tired, etc…so then I could see that I was NO LONGER experiencing ANY OF THEM anymore. I wish I could have seen my “before” lab results from the doctor.
I sure the heck wish we could have kept track of Frank’s weight, medications, and pain issues. He lost 80 lbs, got off his blood pressure medicine, and his psoriatic arthritis healed itself.
My point is, keeping track of these HUGE accomplishments, is what will keep you motivated (along with inspiring others). So, find your motivation.
- Lose Weight
- Get off your blood pressure or cholesterol medicine
- Run around the block
- Go for a walk
- Play with your kids/grandkids
- Reduce/get off of ALL your medications (it is possible, I see it happen all of the time)
- Stop/Reverse your heart disease, diabetes, cancer (ask President Bill Clinton & his heart, how he is liking his plant-based lifestyle?)
- Stop living in pain (like Frank USED to, with his psoriatic arthritis (YEP…GONE)
Get the picture? GOOD! Moving on…
By the way…have I told you how PROUD I AM of YOU??
Now onto the good stuff, the FOOD! Start by trying some NEW foods (vegetables, fruits, greens, whole grains, beans/legumes), or you can even start eating the ones you know you like. Start adding more of these healthy foods to your meals.
Here are some great links for FREE beginner Meal Plans:
- CLICK HERE to sign up for PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) 21-day Kickstart
- CLICK HERE for the Engine 2, 28-day Challenge
- CLICK HERE for Dr. John McDougall’s 10-day meal plan & recipes
- I could never really find healthy salad dressings at the store, so I have been making (for two years straight, because I LOVE it so much), Chef AJ’s House Dressing. CLICK HERE for a long list of healthy, no-oil dressings (which includes her recipe)
- BURGERS (the healthy kind, of course). CLICK HERE for Dreena Burton’s Sneaky Chickpea Burger, and CLICK HERE for Engine 2 New York Times Veggie Burgers
- CLICK HERE for Dreena Burton’s No-Fu Love Loaf (Frank and I adore this recipe, and Dreena)
- Bella Tacos (CLICK HERE) and Everyday Mushroom Gravy, by Happy Herbivore (CLICK HERE)
- CLICK HERE for Homemade Tortilla Chips, and CLICK HERE for a yummy dessert, Chia Pudding by The Chef and The Dietitian
I am not going to “lecture” you about what NOT to eat (you will learn that on your own, by educating yourself…right??). However, I WILL provide you with all the delicious, tasty recipes out there for you to try. Like I said, I eat a wide variety of vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes, fruit, leafy greens, and healthy fats like nuts/seeds, olives, avocados, maybe some flax meal, chia or hemp seeds.
Guess what? If you come across a recipe you do not like, do not make it again. There are more plant-based recipes to try, than you could eat in a lifetime. Personally, if I find one I do not really care for, I move on to the next one. Simple as that.
Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP! There were tons of foods I did not like, that I enjoy now. Peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, cabbage, brussels sprouts, spinach, avocado (I know, right?), sweet potatoes, oatmeal, beans (except in chili), broccoli, cauliflower, (ok most vegetables I suppose, lol). Keep in mind…I was a fast-food junkie, remember?
I also never cooked before. Don’t believe me? At the beginning of my journey, I would spend a good half an hour cutting vegetables with a PAIRING knife….THERE (you believe me now?). Now, I LOVE being in the kitchen, and experimenting, and trying new recipes. CLICK HERE for my first official PBJ recipe, Veggie Soup Magic, where I talk about how I hid all of those foods I did not like into my soups. CLICK HERE for more ways to get your SALAD ON (again more ways to eat veggies I did not like). I am STILL trying new foods. I just had butternut squash last week for the first time, and I am going to give the ole eggplant a go this week (along with Jicama, and scallions).
Point being…DO NOT GIVE UP!
That is it!!
- Pat yourself on the back, and get MOTIVATED
- EDUCATE YOURSELF
- Start eating REAL FOOD (aka PLANTS)
More helpful tips in future posts to follow, but this should be a good start for ya!
Oh my goodness…I am SOOOOO EXCITED for you, and your NEW PBJ journey! I cannot WAIT to hear YOUR amazing success story. Please be sure to keep us updated on your progress.
P.S. Subscribe to our blog, via e-mail, to stay updated on new recipes, information, Book GIVEAWAYS (The China Study Cookbook, and Food Over Medicine are coming up soon), success stories from our future PBJ’s, more tips, and everything a NEW PBJ (and ALL PBJ’s) would want to know. Be sure to visit us often, as information is updated frequently regarding recipe/resource websites, videos, etc…
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