The main tenet of a whole foods plant-based diet is to consume primarily plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, while minimizing as much as possible animal-based proteins, excess oils as well as refined and processed foods high in fat and sugar. Hence, within the whole-food, plant-based world, there is a spectrum of eaters ranging from those who completely exclude all meats and animal-based protein products, and those who still have small amounts of it within their diets. The decision is up to you. But obviously, the more health promoting nutrient dense plant-based foods you include in your (and your family’s) daily intake, and the more you minimize animal-based protein foods in what you eat, the more you and your family will benefit! I see a complete whole-food, plant-based diet (one that excludes all animal-based foods) as the ultimate goal for optimal health, but each of us could be anywhere along that spectrum.
There are many different approaches to transition to a whole-food, plant-based diet. Some recommend a one month challenge excluding all sources of animal based protein, while others advocate for trying a new plant-based food or change in the diet each day. Many people find a gradual but consistent transition approach most successful, which is a slow but determined reduction in the amount of meat-based foods consumed within the household. This comes along with a corresponding increase in intake of nutrient rich plant-based foods by trying out new plant-based ingredients, products and dishes. So, no, this approach does not mean you need to immediately cut out all meats and animal-based protein foods from your diet!
No matter which approach is taken, however, there is a critical element that must not be missed. It is crucial that momentum during the transition phase is not lost. This will ensure a successful and sustained change to a plant-based diet. To maintain this momentum, you will need the right support, guidance, tools and strategies to enable you to reach a truly plant thriving life and optimal health. A plant-based dietitian, knowledgeable in plant-based nutrition, practical recipes and strategies can be a great asset to you in this important transition phase!