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Turning Plant-Based

Updated: Oct 8, 2022

Having suffered with chronic Irritable Bowel Syndrome for the best part of 30 years and reading a lot about the effects of animal products on an individual’s health, the environment and of course the animals, I decided to remove these products from my diet and see what happened. Roll on five months later and my IBS had pretty much disappeared and my skin had improved, my mood was much more positive (from a decrease in processed foods and subsequent sugar) and my purse was a lot fuller by not buying animal produce (which can be pricey) and being more conscientious about the ingredients that I planned and bought for meals. I also found a new love for cooking again!

Here are my tips to consuming more plant based food:

1. Shopping preparation - plan meals in advance so you know exactly what to buy and make a shopping list. This makes the shopping much cheaper as you only buy what is on the list and quicker to whip round the supermarket also!

2. Meat alternatives – try to cook as much from scratch and avoid the meat alternative options (unless you love meat and miss the look and taste of it!) These can be expensive and contain lots of extra ingredients to make it look or taste like meat and stabilise the product (which actually affected my IBS and made it worse anyway!)

3. Meal preparation - cooking meals in bulk is good for regular carnivores. However getting a variety of nutrients in the diet is important when no animal products are being consumed. Cooking larger portions of dinner and then using the leftovers for lunch the nect day gives you a different lunch every day and different nutrients. I found that this also stopped me getting bored of eating the same lunch every day.

4. ‘Eat the rainbow’ - a very informative source told me to always make my meals look as colourful as possible. This enhances the nutrient intake and ensures that I get variety in what I’m eating. It also makes plants look appealing to eat!

5. Buy a spice rack and fill it- not only does this make visitors think that you can actually cook, it can make food really tasty! My favourite at the moment is a powder made from dried Shitake mushrooms. Mushroom is a natural food enhancer which when applied to the dish can allow the flavour of the ingredients to come out. It has also been known to bring out the Umami taste bud. Cheap to make and completely natural.

6. New foods - choose a different veg every week to use in a dish and experiment with the range that’s out there. Sometimes going away from the usual big supermarkets is key to find ‘specialist’ veg to add. Jackfruit is high on the list of foods to try as it is quite versatile for cooking (having a meat like consistency to it) and contains no fat or cholesterol!

7. Cooking for meat eaters – it can be difficult to change your diet and stick to it when others around you haven’t changed. I cook for a meat eater and find the easiest way to accommodate this is to cook the meal without animal produce first and then add the animal products at the end just before serving. This means that I’m not cooking two separate meals every day.

8. Omega 3 – this is prominent in nuts and seeds so ensure that these are added to foods when you can. Milled seeds can also be easier to digest (I find that Lidl do a cheap range for this!)

9. Supplement - if you are removing animal produce from your diet don’t forget to supplement if you need to. Although Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal produce, many fortified foods (milk and cereals) have B vitamins added to them. Boots do a cheap supplement for B12 that I take once a day and they are also veggie/ vegan friendly.

10. Small steps – you don’t need to completely change everything that you consume or change your diet all in one go. Just changing one meal a day or even once a week can make a difference. It’s a lifestyle change and not a diet, so little and slow modifications will reduce the risk of relapse and increase longevity.

Lasting tip….remember that the changes you make in your diet are for you and no-one else. Feel empowered with the choices that you are making to better your life.


I have been plant-based for nearly three years now since originally writing this blog and can honestly say I don't feel the urge at all to go back to animal-based products (I can't even remember now what meat and dairy tastes like!) Best decision I ever made!

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