So, you want to make some big changes. Congratulations! That first step toward a new lifestyle can be the hardest to make. Let's not lose that momentum. Whether you want to eat less meat, cut out dairy, think you're gluten intolerant, (or ARE gluten intolerant), or have chronic health problems impacted by nutrition, you're here. Pat yourself on the back. Awareness of the issue is vital. From here, it's all in the details. Let's figure this out together!
First, let's reframe our minds. Instead of taking an I can't approach, focus on the things you can do. It may help to rephrase by saying, "I choose not to _____." Food allergies excluded, try to avoid the negative mindset that we fall victim to. This phrase also causes us to take some responsibility for our own actions and decisions.
Second, set yourself up for success. Surround yourself with supportive people, healthy foods, and people who have good habits. What kinds of things will help you to succeed in your new lifestyle changes? Anticipate the challenges you may be dealing with. You may be in a habit of getting lunch out with co-workers. Look at some menus online and see what your options are ahead of time (if it's a small business, email the manager/owner if there is no info on their website). Anticipate what the modifications might be and ask specifics. "Hi, I am planning to come for lunch and I was wondering if the soup contains chicken stock." Then, let your co-workers know about your choices and remember that you're not asking for their permission or opinion. "Hey, I'm not eating dairy anymore, can we go to XYZ for lunch instead of ABC?" should suffice.
Finally, I'm going to give you some homework that combines step one and two. Let's get back to that positive reframing. Instead of focusing on the foods you can't eat, let's take an hour or so to brainstorm the foods you can. Make a list. Create a Pinterest board. Whatever speaks to you. Start basic. What are some fruits you like? What about vegetables? Nuts and seeds? Grains (or gluten free sources of complex carbohydrates)? Now how about some plant based proteins? Bonus points: make a list of foods you've never tried, but are willing to test out! Keep an open mind, even if you've tried something once and didn't care for it. When you're done, we'll move on to building meals. Right now, focus on just the individual foods. We want this to be easy (and diverse).