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5 Tips to Adopt a Plant-Based Diet

Kollins Ezekh, a vegan personal trainer, shares advice for eliminating animal products from your diet.
Photo: Shutterstock

As more people become familiar with the health, climate, and ethical reasons associated with eating a plant-based diet, many are making a conscientious effort to either eliminate or reduce the amount of animal products they consume. Studies show that plant-based diets help lower the risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, colon and breast cancers, obesity, and more. Such diets also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by livestock. Unfortunately, industrial agriculture has a large environmental footprint, requiring immense resources, such as grain, water, land, and more.

While plant-based options are more readily available than ever before, it can still be a challenge to give up meat and other animal-related products. That’s not to say it isn’t worth the effort. When celebrity trainer Kollins Ezekh decided to go vegan, he proved you can still achieve a chiseled physique while relying on a plant-based diet.

Intrigued by the plant-based movement he saw happening in Los Angeles, Ezekh was inspired to give it a try. “As a fitness professional as well as a nutrition consultant, I felt it was my duty to explore potential benefits as they were claimed by so many others,” he says. “It was a challenge for me at first to see how many days I could go, and then how many weeks and months. Now, six years later, I think it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my health and for the planet.”

Research shows that following a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plants is associated with a wealth of potential benefits when done correctly. It’s important that you get all the nutrients you need, which means meeting all your protein, mineral, and vitamin essentials. Fortunately, there are plant-based sources, such as beans and lentils that can provide you with protein, dark leafy greens that contain calcium, and fortified foods with other essential nutrients to ensure you’re nourishing your body properly.

Here, Ezekh provides five tips on how to adopt a plant-based lifestyle.

1. There are so many amazing plant-based restaurants around the country, and I strongly suggest trying one to open your mind to plant-based eating. It’s easy to find inspiration among the different ingredient and recipe combinations. You may be surprised by how many non-plant-based eaters frequent vegan and vegetarian restaurants just because the food is so good.

2. Education. education. education. Accessing the right information is key. There is so much misinformation nowadays about how much protein we need to consume and what we should be eating. Find a way to learn that suits you. If you don’t enjoy reading, there are tons of YouTube videos as well as Netflix shows that can help you learn about the plant-based lifestyle. 

3. Develop a support system. It’s helpful to have a buddy when you want to make healthier choices. Learn with somebody who is also trying to achieve the same goal or possibly is already eating a plant-based diet. That person can guide and support you through difficult times. It’s also fun to cook and share a meal together.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail. You don’t need to be perfect. Even if you start eating more plant-based meals and still have some non-vegan products here and there, you are still taking a step in the right direction. All vegans/plant-based individuals began somewhere, and most of us start by being vegetarian first and then slowly eliminating other animal products that are more challenging to give up.

5. Start simple. Quite often people wonder where they should they start, and I think the best way is to write out all the foods that you already like, and if they are vegan, start eating those. 

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.