Week 1 – Transition
If you are ready to begin, I would say take one week to transition into the diet (or lifestyle, because that’s what this is, after all). On the 28-Day Fresh Start (not yet ready for prime time) you commit to try a 100% plant-based diet for 3 weeks (21 days): the first 7 days is your transition week, in which you start reducing your intake of animal products and increasing your intake of plant-based products. While most people associate the word “diet” with weight loss, that doesn’t have to be your primary goal: you can increase your overall health and well being by doing this diet with no thought to weight loss, although that is a healthy by-product of the diet for most people because you are eating well and improving your nutrition. All you have to do is pick a day to begin.
During the first week to do the following:
- Weigh yourself to get a baseline of where you are.
- Educate yourself about the foods you can eat and the foods you should avoid, removing those things you almost can’t resist, taking away the old foods and making room for the new. You may especially need more room in your refrigerator.
- Begin to practice the principles, reducing your intake of animal products to at least half of what you would normally eat — that just means fewer servings per day than you are accustomed to eating, and eliminating them completely for at least one day in the week (preferably more). (See Meatless Mondays)
- Plan healthier meals, increasing the number of servings from the Four Food Groups into your daily diet and preparing more plant-based dishes such as vegetable soup (no meat), whole wheat pasta with homemade or a “safe” spaghetti sauce, etc. (It’s just beginning, but see our Recipes section)
NOTE: One thing we will be focusing on a lot is the number of servings in the Four Food Groups. And when reducing your animal foods intake, think in terms of reducing the number of servings. What is a serving? In short, one serving of meat, poultry or fish is about 3 ounces or two slices of lean, cooked meat. For serving sized other foods you commonly eat, check the labels. One serving of peanut butter, for example, is 2 Tbs.
- Become familiar with “safe” foods and where to get them.
- Plan your meals for the second week and then go shopping, to make sure you have everything you need. You can look online for recipes or invest in a good vegan cookbook. As Viv said in her post, “Fail to plan to and you plan to fail!”
After this first week, if you follow the diet completely for three additional week (more to come) — if you are serious about weight loss, with no cheating, you will see a significant difference not only in how much you weigh but more importantly how you look and feel. As I said, these are your first Baby Steps toward opening the gate to a Fit, Healthy and Happy YOU.