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Hello, how do you moo? I'm Millie the Cow. I like to munch on grass all day long and spoil my friends with a big, affectionate lick. As a proud herbivore, I can't wait for you to try out my simple, step-by-step starter guide for a whole-food plant-based (WFBP) diet.

 

If you are a newbie herbivore you might have a lot of questions, such as: Will I get all the nutrients I need? Where will I get my protein, calcium and iron from? What is vitamin B12 and why do I need to supplement this? Don't worry, I've got you covered. For answers to these and other common questions, visit the Vegan FAQ section. While we don't necessarily need to become experts on these topics overnight, it's important to understand the basic facts to debunk some common myths.

But first, let me tell you about the difference between a vegan and a WFPB diet. Vegan, while free of animal-derived products, doesn't necessarily mean healthy as it can also contain unhealthy refined foods, added fats, oils and sugars (e.g. Oreo cookies, an 'accidentally vegan' product). A WFPB diet focuses on eating foods in their natural and whole form as much as possible. Think vegetables (incl. lots of leafy greens), fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts/seeds. I drew the comparison table and the WFPB food pyramid below with my own hooves to highlight the differences and show you the amazing variety of foods that are offered in a WFPB diet! 

It's great to have you join the plant-based moo-vement! Thank you for keeping your hands off my udders :)

Nuts, seeds &

high-fat whole foods

Fruit

Berries, apples, mangos, bananas, pineapple, kiwi

Whole grains

Oats, quinoa, spelt, wheat, brown rice

Leafy greens

Spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, collard greens, lettuce

Legumes

Beans, peas, lentils

Nuts, seeds &

high-fat whole foods

Almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, plant milks, avocados

Veggies

Sweet potatoes, carrots, courgettes, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflowers

Leafy greens

Legumes

Veggies

Fruit

Whole grains

WFPB Food Pyramid adapted from: Plant Based Dietician

Get inspired!

Whether it's your love for animals, your passion for the environment or your quest to eat healthier foods that kick-start your journey, you can find inspiration for joining the vegan revolution from many excellent documentaries, books and TED talks. Check out the Education section where you will find a list of resources.

Millie recommends:

Pick a simple & delicious recipe

Visit Penny the Panda who enjoys nothing more than plant-based cooking with her paw-picked selection of fun and tasty recipes for you to try. 

Millie recommends:

Get your kitchen ready

Getting the kitchen organised and knowing what you need is half the battle. Visit Lucky the lamb who has compiled a list of the most essential kitchen equipment and staple ingredients so that you are stocked up and ready to go! 

Millie recommends:

  • No need to go out and buy brand new or expensive equipment. Use what you already have, borrow from friends/family or check out second-hand online shops and platforms.

Discover your local suppliers

Venture out and discover your local health food/organic stores in your area. Often these are more likely to stock some of the more uncommon ingredients (e.g. Tamari or chickpea flour). Maybe you even have a packaging-free bulk store nearby and can avoid plastic too! For fresh fruit and veggies try local farmers markets, farm shops or veggie box delivery schemes.

Millie recommends:

Don't forget the supplements

According to Dr T. Colin Campbell, author of the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted (The China Study), we only need two supplements when adopting a varied WFPB diet. These are Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D (actually not a vitamin but a hormone that is made by the body itself). Vitamin D can be obtained by 20-30 minute exposure to sunlight a few times a week and is not always necessary to supplement. For further info on Vit. B12 and Vit. D including recommended daily amounts, see our Vegan FAQ section.

Celebrate and spread the word!

Enjoy the feeling of eating healthy, wholesome and cruelty-free foods! Throw a plant-based brunch or dinner party with your friends and spread the word. Feel good about yourself and the changes you are making, one step at a time!

Millie recommends:

  • Connect with like-minded people in your area through social media, supper clubs, cooking classes, talks and workshops.

  • Take part in the daily dozen challenge and associated app from nutritionfacts.org.

  • Take a moo-ment and give yourself a big cow-pat on the back! 

Staying the course

Thank you!

It can take time to change eating habits and transition to a fully plant-based lifestyle. If you're just starting out, realise that you are on the right path! A good phrase to keep in mind is "progress, not perfection."

 

By becoming plant-based we open ourselves up to learning more about nutrition as well as the environmental impacts and ethical implications of modern day food production. With greater knowledge and awareness we become empowered to take control of our food choices and our health. There's no greater feeling than knowing that what you eat doesn't cause unnecessary exploitation and suffering of innocent and loving animals.      

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© 2019 Reconnect with Nature.

Artwork by Jon Gilbert

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