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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Julia Simon with a Beginners Guide to Going Plant-Based

Jul 08, 2022 09:00AM ● By Julia Simon
Hello Charlotte: There are great benefits to going plant-based, and here are a few reasons why and tips on how to do so:

1. GIVE IT TIME
There are so many benefits to going vegan! It's better for the planet, the animals we share said planet with, and your body. But the physical benefits aren't immediately noticeable. Commit to a fully vegan diet for three weeks (and hopefully longer!) for the most impactful results!

2. JOIN A LOCAL GROUP + GO TO VEGFEST! 
Facebook groups like our local one - Vegan City Charlotte NC - are a great place to meet local vegans, ask for advice, and get quickly up to speed on what living a vegan lifestyle is like in your immediate surroundings. Go to your local Vegfest, too! You'll likely meet a whole bunch of like-minded humans, be inspired, and have a delicious time.

3. GET RID OF TEMPTATION 
Donate or give away your non-vegan pantry items to help keep you on the path when those cravings hit! If you know you have a certain "treat" food, make sure to have it on hand. It's a delicious time to go vegan, just for ice cream alone!

4. ACCEPT THAT SOME THINGS ARE GONNA TASTE DIFFERENT
Pizza is a little different, y'all, and that's the way it is. But you're doing SO many good things at once - for your health, the planet and the animals - that a different texture isn't THAT big a deal, right? Plus did you know the human palette typically adjusts to new flavors by the 10th or 12th try? It's true!

5. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Check the menu before heading out to eat with friends! While the days of the only vegan option being salads and french fries is almost behind us, you'll have a much grander time if you steer your friends towards a more vegan friendly restaurant. Luckily, more than half the restaurants in Charlotte have well thought out vegan dishes on their menu.
Over 40 restaurants in Charlotte now serve vegan burgers on their standard menus, and 1/3 of the pizzerias in town stock vegan mozzarella. It's easier than ever to find a place that will satisfy your friends or family's cravings, while meeting your dietary needs deliciously, as well! And don't forget the fully vegetarian and vegan restaurants we have in and around town. There are 9 now! Amazing!

6. DON'T LOSE YOURSELF IN BURGERLAND
The market for vegan alternatives to standard American diet staples has never been more robust. Burgers, pizza, burritos, microwavable meals, even pizza bites - any junk food you want, you can now get vegan. But will you feel your best, if those type of foods make up a vast majority of your diet? Probably not! Just because a food is vegan does not automatically make it healthy. So, don't forget -
fruits and veggies should be half your plate at every meal. And if you haven't tried a certain veggie in a long while, now's a good time to try it again!

7. DON'T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF IF YA FALL OFF THE WAGON!  
Our relationships with food are some of the most intimate habits we form. If you struggle and eat something non-vegan, don't beat yourself up! Just jump back in and keep going. And be kind to yourself - it's a big switch!

Julia Simon is owner of Nourish Charlotte and Plant Joy. For more information, visit 
NourishCharlotte.com and PlantJoyCLT.com


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