It's early January which means one thing: Resolution Season. Time to get in shape and eat with a purpose: To finally once and for all change your waistline and save the planet. It’s a new year, time for a new you, there is no better time to try eating a plant-based diet this month.

Here are seven easy steps so you can start eating plant-based, right now, and still love the food you eat while cleaning up your diet, getting healthier, losing weight, and helping the planet. These tips are brought to you by Suzannah Gerber, an executive chef, nutritionist, and medical researcher living in Boston, Massachusetts. Every kitchen needs a copy of her recent book, Plant-Based Gourmet, which will help elevate you to a master vegan home chef with 150 delicious, inventive, restaurant-quality recipes.

1. Take the Plunge!

While hundreds of swimmers take the Polar Bear Plunge on Coney Island on New Year’s Day, you can take a much more sane plunge into eating plant-based foods, which can actually benefit real polar bears. There are many month-long plant-based and vegan diet challenges that can help you along the way, including the famous “Veganuary” that had over 400,000 people participate in 2020 alone. Make the decision to give plant-based eating a go this January, since it can have a big impact on your health and the planet! (We may be biased here at The Beet, but we're partial to our 28-Day Plant-Based Plan, which you'll be able to sign up for soon. Keep an eye out!)

2. Gather Your Inspiration

Going plant-based is so much better with the proper tools and inspiration. Below are a few of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow.

For vegan food inspiration: @lisamyaf @vegandemocracy @veganheroes

For vegan living tips: @beetsbybrooke @veggiekayla @plantfitrecipes

For vegan recipes: @onegreatvegan @thevegansara

For vegan healthy living: @healthmylifestyle @nutrition_facts_org

3. Take One Step at a Time

Going plant-based is pretty simple–remove all the animal products from your diet–but don’t push yourself into a rabbit-food corner. If you have a craving why not try and grab a Beyond Burger, some Daring Fried Chicken, some Tofurky Sausages, and those yummy Chao Cheese Slices–just a few of our favorites. These alternatives are healthier than the original, for both you and the planet! Just going plant-based will save you a ton of saturated fat, cholesterol, calories and bring in tons of fiber. Then, if you want, you can work your way healthier step by step once you’ve got the hang of it.

4. Find Vegan Swaps

Let your creativity flow, and use this resolution season to cram some more plants into your diet. This can be using creamy mashed avocado instead of cheese or mayo on a sandwich, or baking cornbread muffins with applesauce and flaxseed instead of eggs. Go on a tasting test of all the fun plant-based products and recipes you can find. This new diet can be a fun adventure, and some fun recipes can help curb those cravings.

5. There’s a Plant-Based Diet for Everyone

If weight loss is your short term goal and you want to see results in no time, consider a plant-based keto diet month this January. Keto isn’t usually thought of as a plant-based diet, but a month on vegan keto can jumpstart your weight loss goal before you shift into a healthier, more balanced diet. Ready to jump straight into a super healthy balanced vegan diet? Learn the best evidence-based tips from Dr. Greger in his book How Not to Diet.

6. Don’t Sweat the Details

There’s a learning curve to living plant-based, reading food labels, and learning how to pick and cook new food. If you make mistakes, don’t sweat it! Soon it becomes second nature, but stay positive and keep on trying during the process. While the pounds come off, your carbon footprint shrinks, and the animals thank you, buying the wrong dark chocolate one time at the store doesn’t undo all the good work you did last week, or will do next week.

7. Get Ready to Eat!

Most people find they have a stronger appetite when they first go vegan. As the pounds start coming off and you shift away from processed plant-based alternatives, you’ll be craving more food! Stocking up your favorite veggies to roast is a great way to pile on plants and fill your plate and belly. Eat your fill of fruits and veggies without counting calories, and get the burst of energy we all feel when making a positive change.

With the right positive approach and these handy tips, you can have a great time going Plant-based for your resolution. You’ll feel so good you’ll want to keep going all year long– and you probably will!

Suzannah Gerber  (Chef Suzi) is a vegan executive chef, nutritionist, and medical researcher living in Boston, MA. Her recent book Plant-Based Gourmet debuted as #1 Gourmet Cookbook December 2020. Find out more about her on IG @chefsuzigerber and on her website www.plantbasedgourmet.com