Another major reason people struggle, or quit, after trying a plant-based diet is not being prepared, says Palmer.
“You can’t just all of the sudden eat plant-based without some preparation, such as stocking your pantry and fridge regularly, knowing what your go-to foods will be, understanding what dishes and meals you will rely on, and where you can find products in your community,” she says.
Human beings are “starchivores,” he says.
Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University School of Medicine, runs the Barnard Medical Center, a primary care clinic in Washington, DC.
Many patients make the switch by following a simple process, Barnard says.
Step one, patients are told to make a list of their favorite foods that don’t have animal products.
“The patient comes back in a week and they’ve written down breakfast, like oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins,” Barnard says. “Lunch, chili instead of meat chili. Dinner, spaghetti with marinara sauce.”
The next step is for patients to eat from their list for 3 weeks straight.
“After 3 weeks, if they’ve actually done it, two things have happened,” Barnard says. “Physically, they’re changing, they’re losing weight, their blood sugar is down, their cholesterol is down, their energy is better, their digestion is better. But apart from the physical changes, their mindset is dramatically different,” he says.