How a Plant Based Diet Can Be the Catalyst for a Complete Lifestyle Change

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on Twitter.

make change, alan watts, health room

Change is a funny thing…

Even though it’s one of the few things on Earth that’s a given, our natural response is usually to resist against it. More often than not, it takes either an extreme low (like a health scare) or a particularly self motivated attitude for us to bring about change ourselves, rather than having it forced upon us by external factors.

When we do eventually get that itch to make changes, we often go to the extreme. One change is rarely enough, and we want to alter everything straight off. The usual pattern – we try a complete overhaul, it fails, and we’re back to square one.

Most of us realise that it’s better to make changes one at a time, starting slow, and building gradually. As boring as it sounds, it’s probably the most sustainable way of doing it.

But if you do choose the slow and steady route, which habit should you start with? When you want to eat healthily, meditate regularly, start your own business and run marathons, which one do you go for first?

The obvious answer is to start with the one that excites you the most, but if they all excite you equally, what should you do?

From my own experience, I advocate starting with the food on your plate.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I was going through some health struggles at university. Once I decided to start eating a whole food, plant based diet, a lot of those struggles went away.

But that wasn’t the only benefit I experienced. At the time I didn’t realise that this simple act of switching my diet would spark a whole load of other changes too. It had a knock on effect on the rest of my life, and opened up a whole load of pathways that were hidden before.

Hindsight is always 20-20. Looking back, it all makes sense now. But when you’re in the midst of the storm, surrounded by fog, it can be difficult to see a way out.

So here are a few ways that turning plant powered had an impact on the rest of my lifestyle. 

If you’re feeling a little stuck and you don’t know where to turn next, hopefully these ideas will reassure you that the path ahead can be one full of opportunity, even if you don’t know exactly where it’s heading…

1. I’m healthier.

Now that I’m healthier, I generally function better as a human being. I feel more like myself, and I’m more able to focus my attention externally on other things that are important, rather than wallowing in my own self pity.

I can’t promise that eating plant based will solve all your health problems, but it’s a good start.

2. I’m more active.

Eating properly and being healthy again has allowed me to get back into training properly. Because of all the alkaline forming plants I munch on, I feel like I get less inflammation. I can recover faster and I have more energy, so I’m back out there moving freely and reaching my athletic goals.

The diet and exercise feed off each other. Once I’m done working out, I crave healthy food. I want to refuel with a clean energy source. It’s a two way system.

3. I’m more mindful.

Changing my diet forced me to be more conscious of what I put in body. I think this awareness translates to the external world too. I’ve definitely got work to do still, but I feel a bit more conscious of things going around me, and I recognise the benefits of being more mindful.

This has helped me with forming the mediation habit, which has been a catalyst for even more positive changes. It’s reduced my stress levels, improved my relationships, increased my focus and generally made me happier. And it all goes back to the diet.

4. I’m more open to the alternative.

Even though it’s becoming increasingly accepted, a plant based diet still isn’t really considered normal.

Taking this path less trodden and feeling the benefits has made me more open to an alternative. I’m less likely to shut a idea down that doesn’t conform. I’m less likely to accept something just because it’s been done that way for a long time, whether it’s the way we eat, the way our economic systems are set up, or the way we treat the environment.

5. I have more self esteem

Moving to a plant based diet was a big change for me. I was the boy who had to have meat with every meal. Chicken was my absolute favourite thing, once upon a time.

Making such a big change (through a series of small changes) raised my self esteem. I realised that if I set a goal, I could go out and achieve it. It gave me the confidence to start my own venture and build this site, rather than going the traditional route into a career I didn’t care for.

It was scary, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But I had the belief that if I worked hard, eventually I could make it work, just like I did with the food.

6. I understand habit forming a bit better.

I made a shed load of mistakes when I first changed my diet. I hit a load of stumbling blocks, but they all taught me a little bit more about what makes a successful habit change.

I learnt how important it is to have accountability and community, and how useful reminders and triggers are. I learnt that although it’s great to have a big goal, it’s the baby steps that will get you there. I learnt that failure is an important part of the process, rather than something to be scared of.

So if you’re unsure where to turn next, perhaps consider your food choices. Make the gradual transition towards eating more whole, nutrient dense, plant foods.

Maybe you’ll experience all the benefits I have (and perhaps more!). If you persevere with it, I’m sure it will open up pathways that you didn’t know existed, and make forming other healthy habits a much more enjoyable process.

Have you noticed any knock on effects from changing your diet? 

Do you have anything else related to this post you would like to share? 

Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you!

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones is a mover, blogger and wellness enthusiast. He spends his time exploring and sharing ideas in mindful movement, healthy living and adventure.

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