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New Year, New Habits: 8 Steps for Change

Transitioning to a plant-centered diet? Here are 8 steps to make your change less overwhelming and substantially more successful:

  1. Know Your Purpose. Have a clear vision of why you want to make changes. Remind yourself of your purpose for change--you'll be much more likely to follow through with establishing new habits. (My purpose was I really, really didn’t want cancer to return!)

  1. Collaborate. Do you have a family member or friend to shop with, experiment with recipes, bounce ideas off each other, and provide mutual support? A like-minded partner will help you follow through with intentions and make your food journey more enjoyable. And this person will be valuable when you feel uncertainty, want to vent frustrations, or laugh at absurdities.

  1. Start Small. Do not expect to master the full scope of plant-based eating immediately. Begin with a concrete step that you can put into action now. Focus on something that’s practical and meaningful for you. For example, sautéing with water instead of oil or trying a plant-based milk. Concentrating on smaller steps will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed into inaction.

  1. Reflect. As you move along, think about what does and does not work for you and what you want to tweak. You are more apt to follow through with change if you are mindful of successes—and failures—and share these with others.

  1. Use Resources. A host of organizations, professionals, materials, and groups are committed to supporting your transition to plant-based eating. For example: 21-Day Vegan Kickstart from PCRM and frozen plant-based meals from PlantPure Nation.

  1. Anticipate Obstacles. Customs often work against maintaining a plant-based lifestyle. Expect that your dietary change will result in challenging situations. Think ahead to circumstances you’ll likely face during family holidays & celebrations, work situations, and social gatherings--this will help you feel prepared and emboldened. (You don’t want others’ expectations to weaken your dedication to healthy eating!)

  1. Find a Support Group. Face-to-face and online communities are great tools for motivating, educating, and sharing. Search for local meet-up events, nearby festivals, and adult ed. classes. Online support includes PlantPure Communities Pods and many groups on Facebook. Being part of a plant-based community (like Plant-Based Pgh.) can be key to sustaining your plant-based lifestyle.

  1. Enjoy! Celebrate any and all changes you make to better your health. And do be patient with yourself. Creating new habits takes time; accept missteps and then move on. It will be worth it!


On a recent chilly day, I made Susan Greenberg's recipe. It's tasty, easy, & satisfying!


(in Plant-Based Pittsburgh Cookbook, p. 10) Ingredients: • 1 red onion, sliced • 1 quart vegetable broth • 2 C. sliced mushrooms of choice • 4 cloves garlic, minced • 2 C. shredded Swiss chard, slice stems thin • 1 tsp. Madras curry • 2 tsp. each nutritional yeast & flax seeds • ¼ C. balsamic vinegar Directions: 1. Heat pan to medium-high heat. Sauté onion in 2-3 T. vegetable broth until wilted. 2. Add 2 C. broth to pan; sauté mushrooms, adding more liquid as needed. 3. Add minced garlic & Swiss chard; stir to combine. Lower heat to medium low, cover, let vegetables wilt, approx. 5-8 min. 4. Add curry, nutritional yeast, flax seeds, & balsamic vinegar stir to combine. Cover, cook gently on low heat for 5 min. If mushrooms aren’t soft, add more time. 5. Serve over grain of your choice. (I used barley.)


Best Wishes for a year full of health, joy, and lots of tasty plants!

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