Starting a new plant-based diet can be intimidating. Where do you begin? Now there is a three-hour course, taught online by The Beet's regular contributor, Elysabeth Alfano, to help answer all your pressing questions, like where do I get my protein? And what can I eat for dinner? Alfano has interviewed major vegans like Chef AJ who lost 100 pounds on a plant-based diet, and now she is ready to help you get started on your healthy eating journey.

The course, Jumpstart Your Plant-based Life, helps Zoom attendees get started on a plant-based diet. As a Food For Life Instructor with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and with a Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell, Elysabeth helps students understand the relationship between diet and chronic disease and ultimately gives them the tools to take back their health.  From figuring out fiber to developing a personalized meal plan and strategy, Elysabeth’s 3-hour, June 20th on-line class ($46) is for beginners and flexitarians alike. 

Since we have an ‘in’ with this vegan thought-leader, The Beet asked Elysabeth to share her Top Ten Tips for Jumpstarting Your Plant-based Life.

  1. It’s never too late! Your body is trying to be healthy. Even after decades of not eating exactly what you should, with the right high-fiber foods, daily exercise, and avoiding processed foods, your body will show significant health improvements within 4-12 weeks of making the switch. Don’t think it’s too late or you are too set in your ways.  There truly is no better time to start a plant-based diet than now. 
  2. Get on your own side. Be positive! Banish any negative thoughts. Don't worry about what others will think or say, and don't overthink it. Just tell yourself you are going to eat more plants, be plant-leaning, plant-forward or mostly plant-based for your health. Get ready to commit to giving yourself a new lease on life.
  3. Don't give yourself an ultimatum. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Go ahead, just dip a toe in!  After all, Megan Markle keeps it vegan during the week, so tell yourself you're trying something new and you can do it for a few days a week or more. it might soon become a habit, and you'll want to keep going. 
  4. Get to know your protein and fiber and figure out which one you care about most.  “How many people in the U.S. ever died from not enough protein?" she asks. The answer is virtually none. Yet millions of people die yearly from heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer, all related to not having enough fiber.
  5. Read labels. If it contains sugar in any form in the top 5ingredients listed on a label,  skip it. And if it has more than 7 ingredients on the label, put it down and keep walking.  Elysabeth adds, to eat healthily, “You can’t be soft on sugar!"
  6. Plan a menu.  Start planning your plant-based meals in advance. Pick recipes that are easy and if you love the taste of meat find substitutes that mimick that (Beyond, Impossible and Gardein do a great job of this).  Who can argue with plant-based Italian Stuffed Peppers?  You might not even miss the meat.
  7. Make a grocery list.  If you are going to make the recipes, arm yourself with the right stuff and remember, when at the grocery store: take a lap. 
  8. Clean out your kitchen. Don’t work against yourself by having chips, ice cream, cookies, eggs, cheese or meat around! Give yourself a fighting chance!
  9. Plan your travel snacks.  A great one is stick a salted cashew in a date! It’s the original protein bar!
  10. Cocktail Parties. Be the guest that every host wants! Bring your own vegan deliciousness: hummus or guacamole to be sure you are covered and get extra points from the host.

Ultimately, finding your path to plant-based eating is about taking back your health and your power: your power to feel good and to be your best self.  An unhealthy you is a weakened you.  A healthy you can take on the world…or just go jogging.  Either way, it is your right to feel good and to live a life without unneeded medication. So, we raise our glasses of sparkling Kombucha to you for having the courage to fight for your health.

For more information on Elysabeth’s June 20th Jumpstart Your Plant-based Life class, click here.