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6 common traps to avoid when going plant-based

1. Decide which type of plant-based diet to follow

It is easy to get confused by the many different versions of plant-based diets available today, such as lacto-vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian etc. so it is important to define what version interests you. Once you’ve defined your type of plant-based diet, it becomes much easier to learn more about it and successfully follow through with it.

Aerial view of Vegetarian Salad bowl with plant-based foods and ingredients, cut and prepared for cooking

2. Figure out why you’re making this change in lifestyle

Every diet comes with its own set of restrictions so it is important to understand the pros and cons of your motivation behind the diet. For example, if you’re going plant-based for health reasons then you can choose to avoid preservatives and opt for clean labels. Similarly, if your motivation is for environmental reasons then you can choose products or ingredients with a lower carbon footprint than others. Most importantly, focus on creating a diet that works for you and your goals even if it takes time to do so.

3. Start with plant-based alternatives to food you love

Take your ideal diet and then find the plant-based alternatives that best fit those dishes. For example, someone who primarily eats Indian food can focus on finding alternatives for ghee, curd or paneer, while their bread and pasta-loving friend goes for plant-based cheese instead. Remember, it may take time to adjust to the taste of these alternatives but soon you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

Spicy Tandoori paneer and grilled vegetables made from plant-based alternative to cottage cheese

4. Prioritise the foods that are worth spending on

While some western ingredients may be expensive, an Indian plant-based diet is quite affordable in comparison. Start by segregating your food into categories and identifying what is most important, such as the sources of protein or fortified products. If you try buying organic, premium ingredients for everything then your diet will become very expensive, making it that much harder to maintain over time. Instead, understand what your high impact foods are and spend your money there.

5. Make sure your nutritional needs are met

Many individuals adopt plant-based diets without checking whether their bodies are ready for such a drastic change in the nutrition it receives. Before making any changes to your diet, it is important to do a few routine medical tests to understand your body’s nutritional deficiencies. That way, you can ensure your new plant-based diet includes the foods and dietary supplements necessary to meet your body’s requirements.

Spicy Tandoori paneer and grilled vegetables made from plant-based alternative to cottage cheese

6. Enjoy the journey, one step at a time

More than anything, this is intended to be a positive experience for you and your body. Take every balanced, nutritious meal as a step towards your goal rather than pressuring yourself into making a complete transition to plant-based foods overnight. Gradually, your body will adapt to these newer foods and you can confidently follow a diet that satisfies both your body and mind.