1) Choose WHOLE FOODS - not packaged, processed items. Pick items as close to nature as possible, so as grown!
Items such as crisps, chocolates, bread, doughnuts etc are heavily processed and much of the positive nutrients have been stripped, along with the natural fibre from the food. Avoid these aisles in the supermarket and stick to the fruits/veggies section for the main part of your shop. Add in legumes, pulses, high quality starches and you can easily make delicious and nutritious meals from them . They are also much more economical ingredients - so it's a win, win!
2) Improve absorption of nutrients - chew your food properly and be mindful when eating. Try not to rush and actually take time to enjoy each mouthful!
Eat fruit on an empty stomach and allow about an hour after eating before consuming anything else. This is just to help avoid unwanted gases from the fermentation of the fruit as other food items will slow down the digestion of the fruits.
3) Optimise the nutrient quality in food - this means soaking your beans prior to cooking, or adding lemon juice to greens to aid iron absorption.
Cook tomatoes and mushrooms for better nutrient quality, but keep other vegetables raw (or cooked on lower temperatures, for as little as possible) for higher nutrient content.
Zinc is better absorbed around garlic and onions - so saute your vegetables (ideally in water) with them.
After cutting cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower leave them sitting for a few minutes and this will allow more phytonutrients to develop.
Let mushrooms sit outside for about 30 minutes in the sunshine prior to cooking and they will absorb extra vitamin D from the sun!
4) Ensure Iodine is within the diet (or supplement) - Iodine is essential for thyroid health - so ensure you add some sea vegetables to your diet - these can include wakame, nori or dulse - just add some to soups and stews. Be careful with kelp as it contains a LOT of iodine and you do not want to flood the thyroid.
5) Find foods and recipes you absolutely adore and learn how to make them well. This will set you up for success and mean you will love preparing and creating these delicious and highly beneficial meals. You will start to feel fantastic and your taste buds will change to crave these healthy and low processed flavours!
6) Find support and sources to learn good practices - make sure you stay educated and keep learning and growing your knowledge base - the more you improve, the easier it will become. If you need support to start find resources online, youtube, blogs, or a nutritionist that you can speak to and plan some basic structure to your meal plans to make sure you meeting your nutrition requirements.
Remember it's a marathon - not a sprint - it takes time to learn and build and grow!
But ... you've got this!
Peace & Love & Kale!
Partial Reference: Dr Michael Klaper - 4 rules for thriving on a plant based diet