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Six Tips to Become More Plant-focused

By Vitality Expert Jake Sanders
In part two of this two-parter (read part one: A New Approach to Nutrition), Vitality Expert Jake Sanders gives tips on how you can be more plant-focused in your everyday eating without giving up your favourite meats if you don’t want to. It’s important to remember that health is more than just our diets; the pursuit of a healthier, more active lifestyle, with plenty of sleep, and time for our mental wellbeing will pay dividends for you throughout 2020 and beyond.
Slow and Steady
While January can always begin with plenty of momentum and energy, February is when it’s easy to fall back into old habits. So it's better to make small, incremental changes than to get overwhelmed revamping your entire diet overnight.

You may feel that making the transition to a more plant-based diet means entering an exotic, unknown land. However, it's important to remember that you probably already eat a lot of nutrient-packed plants already. Start exploring new food to add to your diet a little at a time gradually incorporating changes into your lifestyle.

Making too many changes too quickly could set you up for failure and frustration later on.

That way you can be confident with a more nutrient-rich plant-based diet.
Make Simple Swaps
Carrying the theme of starting small, simple swaps like cow’s milk to cashew, almond, soy, oat or coconut milks can be an easy place to start.

Vegetable protein solutions like tofu could take the place of traditional meat, and with a little planning you can also get plenty of protein from your meal by combining beans, legumes, rice, peas, quinoa to bring you a complete protein solution as an alternative to meat traditionally being the centrepiece of your meal while still eating traditional homely meals such as chilli con carne, pasta sauces packed with fibre and protein.
Mimic Meat – but Not All
Not all meat substitutes are going to be amazingly healthy for you, so be aware of traditional “meat substitutes” but it’s possible to create meat like items from plant sources. You can make burgers at home from beetroot, peas and beans and seasoning which will be healthy and come at a fraction of the cost of a “veggie burger” from the shop. Jackfruit is another plant which is great to combine with BBQ sauce to mimic BBQ pulled pork, and is also packed with essential nutrients. Experiment and get creative with new centrepieces of your meals.
Keep an Eye on Protein
Generally to maintain health it’s good to have 1-1.5g protein for every kilogram in bodyweight (e.g. 60kg = 60-90g protein per day) while adopting more only plant-based meals you may need to plan your protein source more carefully (as often protein sources like beans also come with plenty of carbohydrates) or simply adjust your meals so that you have a little more protein at another time of day from animal sources.
While keeping an eye on protein it may be useful for you to use a supplement as an insurance policy to support your health. With vegan protein sources you will need a blend to ensure you get a complete protein with the full spectrum of amino acids. Soy protein is complete on its own, or a blend of pea, rice and quinoa is another complete source of vegan protein from a supplement. Adding this to oats in the morning can provide you with a nutrient and fibre dense breakfast, or using as a low calorie protein packed snack post workout can support your overall protein throughout the day.
It’s Not All or Nothing
Don’t beat yourself up over the small things. Little by little, adding more and more variety of plants to your diet is going to have a positive impact on your overall health. Start with trying a few meat-free days, adopting a more flexitarian approach, to see how you personally feel and enjoy moving to more plant-centred diet.