Small steps create critical early momentum, they get us started, which is usually the hardest step of all. 45% of our daily life consist of habits, by committing small, we are able to establish positive restorative habits, sustaining change.
Small steps are attainable they are specifically designed to not overwhelm. Small steps help us avoid decision fatigue allowing us to better manage our cognitive load, meaning we have more headspace to deal with all of our other thoughts and plans, making new change convenient.
Even though 45% of our daily life consists of habits, our brain does not have the capacity to differentiate between what habits are good, bad or neutral. So, the key to creating positive habits and to live a conscious life is awareness. Once you become aware you begin to second guess the repetition and you begin to see the negative traits in your life. By practicing mindfulness, you begin to question your usual pattern, allowing you to interrupt your lifestyle and make a positive change. Creating the correct mindset to perfectly augment your new lifestyle.
So, what small changes can we really make to transition towards a plant-based diet?
Start with meals you have always enjoyed that just happen to be plant-based, start slowly and learn this new language of food without any pressure to be perfect.
Focus on your dairy intake, simply put the dairy industry is a female and her offspring forced through a cycle of cruelty that ends with their slaughter so please stop romanticizing dairy and pledge to omit as much dairy as you possibly can.
A good starting point is to cut 1 dairy product out of your diet completely. Make a sensible decision, purposely choose the one dairy product you don’t like or consume the least of. Be it, yogurt, cream, panner, or milk. I find milk to be the easiest dairy product to cut out. You can then avail yourself of the wide variety of plant based milks available, if you live in a region where plant based milks are not as readily available or are not a sustainable option, explore creating your own for a fraction of the price. When this feels easy, focus your attention towards cutting out another dairy product, once familiarized with the plant-based option continue to repeat this cycle.
Once you've tested the waters, you can take the next step by committing to eat at least one plant-based meal every day. This way you are building a strong foundation for yourself and you would have reduced a large fraction of your impact, without feeling overwhelmed.
Focus on foods, flavours and cuisines you like and ones that are easily accessible to you. If you feel as if you aren't skilled in the kitchen, stick to easier recipes. As you begin to incorporate new ingredients and establish different meals into your diet, it’s time to get organized and begin to meal prep.
Invest some time in exploring new recipes, ingredients, food blogs and restaurants, find like-minded people via social media, read books, listen to podcasts, watch films and documentaries on the subject to broaden your knowledge and seek further inspiration.
Be positive, rather than thinking along the lines of I’m giving something up or depriving myself, think of how many plant-based foods you’re about to discover, how many new cuisines and ingredients you’re about to try and most importantly how much pain and suffering you are about to end.
Much of this is about trial and error, finding out what works for you and what doesn't. So be gentle with yourself as you find your rhythm to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet. These important first steps will eventually lead to a greater dietary shift.