When transitioning to a plant-based diet in accordance with Thistle’s nutritional philosophy, your body will undergo major change. Each week, we’ll check in with you and let you know what you can expect.
Week 1: The Body Resets.
Physical: You may feel bloated! Your body is being flushed with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients in volumes it’s not used to. Thistle is also high in fiber — something your body may not be used to and is taking a longer time to digest.
If you’re reducing your sugar or caffeine intake, you could experience crashes — substitute more healthy fats like nuts and avocados to feel fewer midday slumps.
🔥Tip: Try cooking your meals. Applying heat to the food will begin the breakdown process even before it reaches your stomach. Chew! Chew! Chew! Chewing your food more up to 20x before swallowing helps improve and speed up your digestive process. Try a digestive enzyme and/or up your probiotic intake.
Mental: Mentally prepare to embark on a new journey as you introduce something new into your day-to-day.
💭Tip: During week 1, setup visible reminders for each new healthy behavior. Encode your behavior in something you already do — studies show this increases likelihood of success by 45%. For example, if you have a coffee within 20 minutes of waking each day, eat your healthy breakfast immediately after. The action of pouring coffee will become your trigger to feed yourself!
A study from Yale University shows that habits are automatic and determined by our environments. While doing away with bad habits can be difficult, they can be disrupted in two notable ways. The first way is by shifting your environment, making healthy food more accessible and present in your life. The second way is through pre-commitment, making a decision on a future course of action, so that present choices become void. At Thistle, we tie in both of these habit-changing necessities: accessible food that you can commit to. We do away with decision-making and temptations by filling your fridge with healthy, nourishing meals.
Week 3: A Battle with Cravings.
Physical: Customers often report shedding pounds towards the end of week 2 as their body inches closer to their natural weight. Your body may enter an alkalized state as it flushes out toxins and re-hydrates. A more alkaline, and less acidic body, will mean a stronger immune system as well as an easier time digesting foods. You’ll likely feel more energetic, mentally clear and physically lighter! However, this week may feel trickier than week 1 as cravings for familiar comfort foods sneak in and the excitement wears off. The key here is to increase healthy fats and reduce carb intake for less intense cravings.
🔥Tip: Prepare for these cravings by planning ahead — if you’re used to reaching for a post-dinner sweet snack, stock up on a healthier alternative. Remove temptation from your life by cleaning out your fridge and cupboards. Don’t restrict yourself completely — treat yourself to dessert, a favorite comfort food or a celebratory treat — but do so in a modified, healthier way. Drink lots of water this week to aid the natural detoxification process. Take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2 — that’s how much water you should be drinking in ounces.
Mental: Connect with your motivations and intentions. Why did you embark on this journey? How have you benefited thus far? This is the week to make real commitments, you are not fooling around anymore. You have taken your health into your hands — now it’s time to commit to that.
💭Tip: Grab a paper and pen and write down the following questions. What is your intention behind feeding yourself a plant-based diet? You may be striving towards a goal, acting out of self love, opening time in your schedule for a specific activity or testing a new lifestyle. Feel into that intention — especially at meal time!
Week 3: Start glowing!
Physical: This week, you hit your stride! Your skin is the largest detox organ — you may notice brighter, more evenly toned and blemish free skin this week. You’ve been feeding your gut a plethora of nutrients and beneficial bacteria. With a healthy gut, comes radiant skin. One study states, “there appears to be more than enough supportive evidence to suggest that gut microbes, and the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract itself, are contributing factors in the acne process.” A strong gut also has the ability to fight disease, reducing your body’s overall inflammation levels too.
Plus, this week, your sleep will be more regular and you’ll be able to pop out of bed in the morning! Standard mid-afternoon crashes are less powerful or non-existent.
🔥Tip: Supplement your Thistle meals with fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha, or try out taking a daily probiotic pill. While probiotics on their own won’t encourage the growth of new advantageous bacteria, they will act like fertilizers for your healthy foods, promoting their beneficial qualities and encouraging a balanced gut environment.
Mental: Express gratitude. Spend a few minutes in gratitude before each meal. Appreciate yourself for caring for your body and life. Think about the care that went into them — from local farms that grew the vegetables to the chefs that carefully chopped and cooked each component.
💭Tip: Practice love and kindness meditation. One study showed that, “meditation practice produced increases over time… in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms).” By creating a daily practice that encourages positive thoughts, you can reach greater life satisfaction over time.
Week 4: Clarity Sets In.
Physical: If you’re new to going gluten-free, this week you will start noticing its biggest effects: bloating will disappear and brain fog will clear. Your body is relearning and recharging — this is the time to sit back and watch all of the good effects come to be. Clients have reported that extra pounds have begun to melt off at this point again. Studies have shown that healthy weight loss is supported by a healthy gut. It’s not just about calories in and out, but about the larger composition of your microbiome.
🔥Tip: Get outside and reap the benefits of all your hard work! Try out a new hike in your area or just go for a quick walk during your lunch break. It’s important to get active at least 30 minutes a day, so you might as well enjoy it out in the sunshine.
Mental: It’s important to celebrate! Congratulate yourself. Reward yourself with something that makes you feel good — it’s all about balance. You deserve this. Plus, your brain has begun to make new pathways connected to healthy eating, which means the hard work is behind you. Eating well is becoming you.
💭Tip: Do something special for yourself this week! Whether that means buying a new good book, grabbing some fresh flowers at the local market or heading out for a solo adventure over the weekend, give yourself some kind of gift as a thank you. Commitment is hard, and you deserve a reward.
Week 5: Your Best Self.
Physical: You’ve been nourishing your brain and mind with omega-3s, which support the synapses in the brain that boost memory and learning. Your mood stays balanced throughout the day since whole grains promote slow-releasing energy. Plus, leafy greens protect against depression and other mental illnesses.
🔥Tip: This week, make sure you’re spending time with friends or family. Feeling nourished emotionally is a huge part of having a satisfying life. You are doing an amazing job nourishing your body, now nourish your heart.
Mental: Remind yourself that this isn’t just a ‘cleanse’ that ends after a few weeks! This is truly a lifestyle. Toss the dieting mindset out the window and continue to make adjustments to your lifestyle, instead. You’ve already gotten this far.
💭Tip: Exercise your mind this week! Sometimes, we find ourselves in a rhythm of life where we feel that we are no longer learning. In order to keep our minds fresh and vibrant, it is important to keep exercising our brains. We recommend spending a Sunday morning tackling some sudoku or crossword puzzles. Studies show that exercising the mind increases thinking skills and improves memory.
Want to give Thistle a try? Sign up for your first week for 20% off with the code LIFEWITHTHISTLE.