Diet. The very word is not appealing. A plant-based diet feels more kind. It feels more like a live-it when I hear that. It may well be that people lose weight when they start leaning into plant-based nutrition. But dieting is not what Black Girls Eat is all about. I became a plant-based advocate after making changes to my diet and that lead to more energy and less joint pain.
So does that mean you want to become a vegan or vegetarian? Whew! There are so many labels but none of them were helpful to me. Instead of deciding what I was going to be, I simply committed to getting more plants on my plate. That meant that I looked for opportunities to squeeze in a dark leafy green or bright orange veggies every chance I got.
Lots of people are trying to add more plants to their plate. I’ve shared honestly that in the past, my food vocabulary was limited. That was until I learned to explore new fruits, veggies and grains.
Clean Out Your Fridge
Before you can seriously remix your plate and create new diet habits, you have to tackle the fridge. Every fridge has a story. What would yours say if it could talk? My old refrigerator would tell great tales about all of the take out containers and packages of soy sauce found in every corner. The freezer would definitely have something to say about all of the sodium laced pre-packaged meals stacked on each shelf.
You can use a sheet of looseleaf paper or construction paper to draw boxes for food categories. You will need space for meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, etc. Or you can download a free refrigerator assessment and use it to take notes. No matter what you choose, once you empty the fridge you will have a true picture of your current diet. It’s up to you to decide if you are happy with what you see.
I encourage you to look at what’s there but really take a look at what’s missing. Is your space for fruits and veggies empty? Are you running out of room in the dairy section? It’s also a great time to take a look at patterns. Do you have 3 different versions of the same salad dressing? What has expired?
Do Your Plant-Based Diet Research
Because I didn’t want to start changing my diet without knowing what I was doing, I did talk about it with my doctor. We discussed inflammation and how it can wreck havoc on your joints. Once I learned more about inflammation and the foods that caused it, I started the research. I first landed at the Center for Nutrition Studies. Three online classes gave me a solid understanding of the history of plant-based nutrition.
Guess what? I learned that choosing a plant-based diet is not a new fad or a new thing. It’s been around for years. My favorite class was Diseases of Affluence. I basically learned that the more money you make, the more you have access to the foods that may not be so great for you. People are literally eating themselves to death.
Congratulations to you for taking the first step toward a plant-based diet. Here are some additional resources to help you gain a better understanding of plant-based nutrition:
LA Dunn is a plant-based advocate from the Bronx. You can find her on IG @blackgirlseat
Want to learn the basics? Sign up for the easy 5 Day Introduction to Plant-Based Nutrition Email Class today. Feel like shopping? Check out the Black Girls Eat Online Shop and don’t forget to sign up below for updates!