What’s a plant-based lifestyle? And where do you start?

D. Olsson

The best plant-based burger I’ve ever had was at Wild Food Cafe in London: http://www.wildfoodcafe.com/

I’ve recently had a few friends interested in why I mostly eat plants, and how and where one would start a similar journey. First of all, everyone’s journey is different and therefore it’s impossible to give a definitive guide on how to go about such an adventure. That said, I thought I’d share some (hopefully) interesting thoughts and resources that helped me along the way.

Plant-what?

A plant-based lifestyle is one based on plants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, but with very few or no animal products at all (like egg, dairy, meat or fish).

First of all, don’t think of this as a diet or something restrictive. In fact, since I turned plant-based I’ve explored and got to know a much wider variety of foods that I’ve ever done before! When eating primarily plants, you can (and should) indulge yourself with the whole spectrum of foods that mother nature grow for us everyday! Eat a rainbow a day!

A plant-based lifestyle is typically a bit more liberal than veganism. Vegans typically don’t eat or use any animal products at all, such as honey, leather shoes or wool jumpers. Although I agree with all principles of veganism, I personally struggle a bit with it in practical terms.

My journey

The thing that brought me into the plant-based lifestyle was fitness. I wanted to find a better way to fuel my body and mind. I wanted to recover better from workouts, to get lighter but yet stronger. For some reason I did not believe in what everyone else was doing, nor the wider fitness industry. Why? Perhaps because I always tend to question everything and go against the stream. Or maybe because if I did like everyone else, I would also become as (un)fit as everyone else — I wanted to be fitter than average!

It’s always important for me to find purpose and reason in what I’m doing. Things must to make sense, at least in my own head otherwise I’ll never find the will or courage to be persistent with something. And although my journey began with a quest to fitness, it soon turned into one of rationality. The more I read, the more it made sense, from every perspective. Not only would I do my fitness a favour, but the environment, the economy and the animals. Basically, I would do the entire planet a favour.

What others say

When I do research of any kind, I often turn to TEDx talks for short, on-point and inspiring ideas. One of the lightbulb-moments for me was Rip Esselstyn’s talk about how an entire fire station in Texas turned plant-based. Yes, Texas the “BBQ Mecca” in USA. Very inspiring!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAkEYcmCCCk

If you’re looking for more scientific information, Dr. Neal Barnard is one that share this kind of information in a very well articulated way. I always enjoy reading or listening to his materials. Here’s a good TEDx talk from him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktQzM2IA-qU

What to eat

When it comes to finding good recipes Isabell and I often turn to The Happy Pear and their extensive library of inspiring foods. They’ve also got a really good YouTube channel. Their curry recipes are a staple in our house!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP6eXpwIths

Another good source of recipes and other helpful information is Forks Over Knives. Something quite a few times in the beginning was their “no-tuna” salad sandwich:

[caption id="attachment_253” align="alignnone” width="1024”] Click on this yummy sandwich for some plant-based goodness! Photo credit: Forks Over Knvies[/caption]

More research

Research can sometimes be boring and hard to find. It can also be very deceiving due to corporate sponsorships and other interests. The best source I’ve found is NutritionFacts.org. They’ve also got great videos and a good podcast!