How to Start a Plant Based Diet


Take step after step into your new life with this easy to follow advice and see amazing results in no time.

Tip 1 – What’s your motivation?

Since you made your way to our website, I believe that you are in a stage of your life where you are ready for some major changes. Now I want you to take a second and become very clear about the goals you want to achieve by hopping on this lifestyle. What could they be?  Maybe you want to get rid of some kind of disease or just long for an increased amount of energy and mental clarity – it doesn’t matter. Write it down on a sheet of paper for this will keep up your focus and motivation in times of doubt.

Tip 2 – Eat a lot of food

This is something you will have to get accustomed to. You really have to up your quantities when switching over to a whole foods diet, since it’s less calorically dense. Load up on baked potatoes, quinoa, salad and fresh fruit! Eat to your heart’s content and never deprive yourself. This isn’t about ‘everything in moderation’, it’s about living abundantly off the good stuff. Over time, your body will get used to these kinds of volumes. Aim for around 2000-2500 calories a day. A wonderful tool to track your nutritional intake down to the macros, minerals and vitamins, is cronometer.

Tip 3 – Surround yourself with plenty of healthy foods

Browse your kitchen in search of any food that isn’t beneficial to you and either toss it or give it away. Don’t keep it just because you’ve already bought the food and think it’d be a waste not to use it. Help yourself change your ways by always buying heaps of fruits and vegetables, potatoes and rice, beans, or nuts, so you’ll always have them on hand in case you’re getting cravings for unhealthy food. Starches like whole grains and tubers, as well as fruits are your number one source of energy, so make sure you always have plenty of those within reach.

Tip 4 – Prepare for being on the go

When you’re on the move, there are most likely going to be stimulants and temptations in the form of processed foods around you. In this case, it’s really crucial to be prepared by either having a full stomach or some kind of snacks on hand. Bring along your favorite fruits, nuts, bars and energy balls for a snack or even rice salads, wraps and whole-wheat sandwiches. But there’s surely nothing easier than carrying along a few bananas or apples. They are literally nature’s fast food and will nourish you in an instant as soon as you feel a little enfeebled and in need of some fresh energy.

Tip 5 – Make Food Swaps

Our advice is generally to take a gentle approach and slowly but steadily add more whole foods into your diet. Swap some of your favorite junk for a healthy alternative. For instance, you could use dates instead of white sugar, make whole grain instead of white flour spaghetti and have fruit as a snack etc. Increase the amount of healthy ingredients in your meals until you’ve crowded out the bad stuff.

Tip 6 – Implement a new breakfast routine

It is super important to start the day with something healthy, energizing and uplifting. First thing in the morning you want to hydrate your body by drinking at least 0,5l (better 1l) of plain or lemon-infused water. Then make your first meal either a large bowl of fruit, a delicious smoothie, a green juice, some oatmeal topped with fruit or go for savory options such as tofu scrambles with potatoes. Make sure you have a small gap between drinking the water and having breakfast. You may use this time to calm down in a meditation, perform some breathing techniques, do some gentle yoga or treat your body with a pleasant body scrub and a warm shower. Whatever feels good for you.

Tip 7 – Educate yourself

The media, advertisements, and self-proclaimed specialists are doing a great job in confusing people and leading you away from the simple truth: eating whole plant-based foods is the kindest, healthiest and overall best thing you can do for yourself, other and the whole world. Prepare yourself with knowledge so you don’t have to question your new lifestyle time and again! Buy or rent books like Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease, The Starch Solution or Whole. There are also amazing documentaries like Forks over Knives, Food Inc. or Hungry for Change. This will also motivate you and makes you remember why you’re doing this.

Tip 8 – Find likeminded people

It’s always easier when having some company to share your struggles and success stories with. You can even inspire and help each other out, maybe facing similar challanges or having the same goals. Search in internet forums and facebook groups for people who are on the same journey as you and connect with them. Check out Meetup to find awesome folks in your area and arrange a plant-based potluck party. Make sure to follow us around social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. You can subscribe to our Newsletter and get a free email course in transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet! We’d love to help you out, so be sure to just get in touch

Tip 9 – Equip your kitchen

There lots of gadgets out there to simplify your kitchen-concerns in the plant-based food world. The absolute basics are a solid and not too small cutting board, a couple of good quality knives (preferably ceramic) and a high-performance blender. If you’re fully dedicated and want to indulge in this way of living, a few more tools might come in handy. A non-sticky pan is something we use almost daily, on top of other pots and our rice cooker. Some other helpful utensils are a food processor, a pressure cooker, spiralizer, and a juicer. Make sure you get a glance at our dedicated page for essential kitchen appliances, where we go a little more into detail.

Tip 10 – Don’t forget the mental aspect

Be loving and kind to yourself. If you haven’t reached your goals yet or feel like you’re not doing things perfectly, don’t beat yourself up. Keep your dreams and visions in mind and work towards them, but accept where you are right now and take it step by step. Your thoughts have a bigger impact on your perception and reality as you might think. Putting yourself down or under pressure brings along a spiral of negative beliefs and events, so don’t forget about the big scheme of things and adjust your expectations according to your own pace. When you become your biggest fan and supporter, your possibilities will be endless.

Tip 11 – Listen to your body

Once again, I want to stress the importance of watching your feelings carefully. If you just don’t like certain foods and it feels like you have to force them down, you should rather look for something else. There is such an abundant variety of plant food to be discovered, so find the ones you truly love and continue from there. Your taste buds might still be used to overly processed or seasoned food, but they will change over time and make you appreciate simple and nutritious meals more and more. Be very aware and in the moment when eating. Don’t distract yourself with TV or other stimulants. Make it a peaceful atmosphere and savor every bite you take. Soak up the flavors and think about how it is replenishing you with vitality and vibrancy. You can try eating completely unprocessed, vegan, oil- and sugar-free, for one day per week if that sounds like an appealing idea to you. This is a manageable time frame and you probably want to stretch it even further, because of how brilliant it feels. It’s your challenge to experiment with this and see what works best.

Tip 12 – Excercise, Rest, Sleep

Getting all of this nutritious food into your system can be like waking up from a very long sleep. You feel incredibly energized and like moving around a lot, since you’re loading up on healthy carbohydrates. But make sure that you find a good balance between movement and rest. Pay attention to the signals of your body, take a break if you are tired. If you haven’t worked out in a long time, start with some gentle exercise, yoga or just do whatever sport you’re most excited about. Movement is essential as it helps renewing your cells more quickly and therefore promoting a swift transformation of your body. Just don’t beat yourself up when you’re not in the right mood to be active. Your desire to move should come naturally and not be forced.

How to become truly successful

Jumping into the cold water and going 100% unprocessed and plant-based overnight may work for some, but it takes a lot of willpower to stay on track. The change can be so overwhleming that many fall off the wagon after a couple of days and head back to animal products and junk food. Of course, this is highly dependent on where you come from. The change won’t be so bad if you are already on a diet that is rich in natural food.

Both my own experiences and stories from countless other people in the movement have proven time and time again that a gentle approach to changing one’s diet is much more sustainable. Because we want you to succeed and reach your own personal goals, we put together these simple but powerful tips to help you on your journey, as well as a free 6-part course where we give you even more guidance and hands-on advice.

Check out our Free 6-Part Course on a Whole Food Plant Based Diet now for more guidance!
Click Here
  1. Jacquie Says

    I noticed you recommend avoiding ALL OIL including coconut. There is plenty of evidence that coconut oil is very good for you. What is the science behind your recommendation?

  2. Michelle Says

    what would you suggest for salad dressing’s and oils to cook with?

    • Danielle Elizabeth Littrell Says

      For salads my fiance’s family from Peru usually use just lime juice, salt, and pepper on their salads.

      • Alena Says

        Love the idea! Yumm.

    • Alena Says

      Hey Michelle,
      we like to base our salad dressings on tahini which we mix with lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.
      Another idea is to mix balsamic vinegar with some agave and mustard. Many of our dressings are based on mustard which can be mixed with soy milk for a creamy dressing :)
      As for the cooking part, we sautée our veggies in a non-stick pan without any added fluid or use a few tbsp of water / veggie broth. Baked veggies in the oven do well without any oil, only spices. Here is more information on cooking techniques without oil:
      Hope this helps!

  3. Sarah Says

    This makes me feel so much more confident in my decision to try a plant based diet, thank you! I slowly want to incorporate more and more whole foods in my diet. the hardest part for me I think will be the lunch and dinner prep for work nights. My boyfriend and I work opposite days too, but he is on board with the change in our food. I work Thursday- Sunday and he Monday – Friday. Any advise?

  4. Patricia Says

    Love love this! I’ve been a vegan for about 8 months now, initially did it for the animals but after doing so much research about it health wise and reading “Whole” which I totally recommend to anyone interested in nutrition – I find that I’m making all those necessary changes to live a fully whole food plant based diet and I’ve never felt better!

    • Alena Says

      Hey Patricia,
      thanks so much for your lovely feedback! Have you joined our free course in transitioning to a whole food plant based diet? We love Campbell’s work, along with other great plant-based experts such as McDougall, Esselstyn, Greger or Barnard. So happy to hear that you’ve been feeling so great since making the switch! Do let us know if you need any further support :)
      Best wishes,

  5. diane Says

    All these comments amazing. Thank you! Such kindness and terrific support group!

    • Alena Says

      Thanks for the lovely comment! Yes, it’s a very inviting community here – most of us have been the only plant eaters around and therefore want to connect & help each other out :)

  6. Sabrina Marks Says

    I have just started the plant based diet about a month ago and have not lost any weight. Is this normal?

    • Alena Says

      Hi Sabrina,
      there could be several reasons for not losing weight on a plant-based diet.
      1. You don’t really have any weight to lose.
      2. Your body has to adapt to some hormonal or metabolic stuff first or has to heal.
      3. You eat food that’s too high in calorie density or just drink a lot of your calories.
      4. Your portion sizes are somehow too big (but that’s not very easy when eating whole plant-based foods).
      Feel free to email me with some details so we can look at this a little deeper! Here are some infos for now:

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