Cheated? No Problem. Here’s What to Do to Get Back on Track

|Updated Jan 30, 2020

No matter how many times you slip up, whether accidentally or when tempted by your favorite foods, you should get back on track and keep going. The 21 Day Challenge is not technically a diet but a way of thinking about food. Your approach is to seek out as many whole-food plant-based meals as you can, but of course, you can't be expected to do it perfectly all the time.  Remember that no matter how many times you slip up, you can always get back on track and keep going.

Did your local coffee shop accidentally slip you some dairy milk in your latte? Don't beat yourself up about it, and don't let it allow you to spiral back into your prior eating habits. Focus on having well-rounded, plant-based meals for the rest of the day, and keeping a positive attitude. Because it happens to all of us, especially when we're just starting out and trying to unlearn something we've done our entire lives, three times a day.

Sometimes you get mistakenly served a dish cooked in butter at a restaurant, or you eat a piece of candy not realizing that it contains gelatin (an animal product). Although you can't rewind the clock, you can control your response, and maintaining a positive mindset and persevering will help fortify your actions into a habit.

Even when, if everyone at the table is enjoying calamari or tuna tartar, you reach for it out of habit and sheer desire, it's not a major deal. In fact, the healthiest way to eat is to aim for 95 percent plant-based foods or more, according to T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, the most comprehensive study ever between diet and health, and one of the major scientists behind the whole-food plant-based movement. Campbell says that the body gets used to eating plant-based and our microbiome changes over from producing bacteria to metabolize animal protein to one that is designed to metabolize plant-based foods. Once this happens, a small slip-up will not throw your body back into the state that you started in; quite the opposite. Your body will basically ignore the small animal product and stay geared toward plant-based food.

So understand that slip-ups happen, temptations are part of life, and you can still be on track for your 21 Days of Plant-Based eating, even if every now and then you are not perfectly plant-based. Think of it this way: Every time you choose a plant-based meal you are better off than before, and every time you skip animal product you are making a choice for your health. Those small victories add up. Keep track of your progress on the log that is part of the Sample Week of Healthy Eating. Print it out and put it where you can write down your progress. You'll be surprised at how far you have come, in such a small amount of time.