Simplicity is the key to your success when it comes to adhering to a vegan diet plan. I admit, it can be difficult to sit at a table with family and friends as a lone vegan while you are surrounded by others seemingly enjoying dishes considered "off limits," but that you remember the sweet tastes and aromas from your past life of partaking in unhealthy meats and artificially processed foods. Remember: the pleasure these foods may bring will not be long lasting, as research is beginning to show the negative impact the modern, Western diet is having on human beings today. From significant weight gain to mental disorders, the food we eat impacts our brains and bodies at their very core.
I can also admit that switching over to only eating vegan foods is not always the easiest. I made the change because it was vital to my survival. I was starting to see and feel the negative effects of overeating and other poor lifestyle choices. Though during the early stages of my plant based diet I had doubt in my self and my ability to "stay the course," I have kept with it for quite some time now, and am reaping the benefits in my health.
While I love the many vegan recipes available online through various outlets, there is something about the simplicity of a single fruit or vegetable piece that impacts me. One of the core components of returning towards "organic" and "natural" types of foods is learning that they can be enjoyed on their own, and you can still reap the benefits health wise. In many ways, the time to prepare some recipes can be painful or unavailable, so having access to easy snacks throughout the course of the day will make you feel full longer and as if you have all the time in the world to spend doing other things you may enjoy, like reading a book or, in my case, being outside in my garden!
The 5 Easiest Foods for Easing into a Vegan Diet:
1). Apples. The old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," is true in some regards. The very simple fruit, the apple, has been heavily researched in how it can impact our lives. From preventing dementia and improving neurological help to helping reduce the your risk of breast cancer and obesity, it is amazing how a piece of fruit can hold so much power. The major reason why I list the apple as an "easy" food for easing into a vegan diet is because they are naturally very sweet and tasty. There is not typically a "learning curve" that comes with apples. They taste good. Even kids enjoy them in slices!
2). Peas. I really enjoy peas. I find that they taste very good and can be eaten alone or in addition to other plant sources. A major reason why they stick in my mind is because, while exploring a vegan diet for myself, it turns out that the little green pea packs quite a punch of protein (along with other nutritional value). Typically peas contain approximately 7 grams of protein per serving size of 1oz. When I realized this simple fact about plant protein, I quickly came to learn that a vegan diet can be a viable way to live without concern of missing out on nutrients I was constantly told was only available through meats or special supplements.
3). Beans. Beans are fundamentally a superfood. Like peas, they pack quite a punch of protein. Additionally, they are loaded with antioxidants, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and more. One reason they are so attractive to me is because they are very diverse. Belonging to the legume family of plant life, if you find you don't enjoy one type of bean, you may enjoy another as the taste can be dramatically different from one to the next. This keeps the plant interesting for me. On a basic level it is easy to consume, and when you begin making small recipes by just mixing rice with your beans as is so often done, you will find this to be a very easy and natural vegetarian dietary supplement. One distinct property of beans that I like is the high fiber content, it keeps me regular!
4). Lettuce. Another form of plant life that you will hopefully be familiar with in your current diet, lettuce is truly one of the easiest plants to consume. Even if you are adjusted to an "unhealthy" diet with hamburgers and steaks, it is likely that you have topped your burger with some lettuce or had a nice salad on the side. The difference for a vegan is that instead of being a "side salad," the salad can become a core meal altogether. Lettuce is great because it comes in so many varieties (which, like beans, keeps it interesting to eat again and again) and can form a nice base on which other fruits and veggies can be added. For those who struggle with their weight, as I did for so long, lettuce contains low calorie counts. This suggests that we can eat as much as we please until we are full, and still not add any more fat to our bodies. Despite the low calorie count, lettuce is still dense with other nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and more.
5). Potatoes. A plant that grows in the ground is one of my favorite starchy vegetables. In fact, the potato is one of the keys to my dietary success. Like many veggies, the potato is very filling, tasty, and has only a fractional quantity of fat. The simple potato is an easy veggie to consume in it's purest form without concern of having to create some sort of grandiose recipe to make it taste good. Some of my favorite ways to consume a potato is by baking it whole and by chopping it up into slices and making all natural potato fries (without oil which would add more fat content). To get more insight into why potatoes are so key to a vegan diet, be sure to check out The Starch Solution by Dr. McDougall.
It is possible to ease into the vegan diet. I think some people feel a lot of fear when it comes to making such a significant change in their life as your diet has a major impact on how you schedule your day and, fundamentally, how you feel all day. It is possible to keep a highly balanced diet while eating some of the simplest foods available to us on Earth. While I know the information provided here is fairly simple, I hope you have found it to be educational in a world that constantly pushes unhealthy dietary choices. No matter who you are, there is no denying the health benefit of each of these vegan food options and that these foods can be treated as a cornerstone of your own vegan dietary journey!
Do you have a favorite fruit or veggie already that didn't make this list? Please let us know what you would consider an "easy" and "accessible" vegan food source in the comments below!