Produce Power: Five Steps To Live A More Plant-based Lifestyle

Amy-Grace Shapiro, Feature Editor

Every November, vegans worldwide come together to celebrate the observance of World Vegan Day and Month. The vegan lifestyle follows a cruelty-free food plan, where individuals avoid eating any form of animal products — including milk and honey. Many choose to follow this kind of lifestyle for several reasons, such as protecting animals, environmental reasons and their own health benefits. Here are five steps to help live a more plant-based lifestyle:

1. Do not make the switch immediately

Realistically, if one makes the change of diet from consuming meat to none too quickly, the probability of sticking with it remains low. Instead, individuals looking to eat more greens should slowly reduce animal product consumption to once a week and continue eliminating animal products from their diets over time. Start by gradually eliminating products like honey and eggs first, then dairy products and finally, meat. 

2. Find alternatives 

At first, adjusting to a new diet may be difficult and to ease the transition, one can look for animal products substitutions. For example, a popular dairy alternative is nut-based milk and instead of eating meat, many opt for a soy-based protein. One soy-based protein, known as tofu, has varying levels of firmness based on preference, allowing those who wish for an almost identical meat substitute to select the extra-firm version.

3. Season and cook meat substitutes appropriately

A common misconception about meat substitutes such as tofu is that the alternative is bland and does not taste quite like the original. However, what many fail to recognize is that tofu should be seasoned similarly to meat for the best outcome. When using tofu as a meat substitute in any dish, one must season the alternative according to the recipe. Like any other food, tofu and all other meat substitutes require proper seasoning and preparation for maximum flavor. 

4. Farmers Markets  

Farmers Markets around the Miami community typically occur on weekend mornings and have a variety of vegan options as well as fresh produce like fruits and vegetables. Many vendors at farmer’s markets offer an array of vegan options, allowing those transitioning to try out new things. Picking up groceries at local markets allows for greater variation in food options. 

5. Keep an open mind

Like any other major life change, making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle requires a period of trial and error until the individual finds what works best for them. Keeping an open mind towards new foods that one would not typically consider is one of the most important parts. 

In all, transitioning to a more plant-based lifestyle requires an open mind to new dishes and flavors and will take time to adjust.