We all know that eating more fruit and vegetables are good for us. But, sometimes it can be quite intimidating and daunting to switch to a majority, or full-on plant-based diet. It doesn’t need to be that way and transitioning to a plant-based diet can be made so easy. There are so many resources and ideas out there, these are just some of my tips and what helped me adopt a plant-based lifestyle.
There are so many benefits to eating a plant-based diet. Some of these include lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure, decreasing your risk of cancer, building a better immune system and aiding in digestion. The benefits are endless, and I really found that eating plant-based has changed the way my body functions. (in the beginning it was the main reason why I went vegan) I have more energy than before, my digestion has improved dramatically, I have lost weight and overall I feel “lighter”. Not necessarily just lighter in weight, but lighter in the sense of eating better quality, high fiber living food, makes you feel energetic and alive! I know all bodies are different and might require different things, but adding in more whole plant-based foods can only be beneficial to your diet and lifestyle.
Often people have the concern, of how do you ensure that you get enough protein in your diet? You know what, in my experience, if you eat enough calories from nutrient dense, whole, plant-based food, you are more than likely getting in enough protein. I love making sure I get enough protein in by adding plenty of the following foods in my diet; Quinoa, lentils, black beans, hummus (chickpeas), tofu, tempeh, broccoli, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Bulking up you meals with enough food will fill you up and sustain you. I also like having a plant-based protein powder in my house, to add to smoothies (making it creamy and delish and it also gives a little protein boost) And also seeds! Seeds in and on everything! Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds! Sprinkled on breakfast, salads and pasta!
When I started to eat plant-based I would walk in the grocery store and roam around the fruit and vegetables section. I would see what I was drawn to and what looked good to me. I would also take note of what was in season and more available. I would buy colorful food and start experimenting with it. I never enjoyed cooking, and was not comfortable cooking meats. When it comes to cooking plants, there is no fear of eating raw food, getting sick or under-cooking my broccoli. Now, I really enjoy making food, trying out and creating new easy recipes. It is amazing to me how much I can do with plant based foods! Filling up my plate with sweet potatoes, stir fries, brown rice and beans is so tasty, eating food in their original form and feeling it nourish and sustain me is so rewarding. Enjoying every flavour!
Making the transition try and focus on one meal at a time. See what foods you enjoy to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and see how you can adjust, change or incorporate more whole foods to them.
For breakfast, I really enjoy smoothies, which can be packed and filled with whatever you want. Fruit based, veggies based, dessert for breakfast (think cacao nibs, dates, frozen bananas and berries) and even loaded with superfoods. Experiment with that you like, make sure smoothies are packed with nutrient dense foods and some healthy fats to keep you satiated. I like smoothies because they suit my lifestyle and climate I live in, but sometimes one also feels like something more wholesome, warm and comforting. Oats is such an awesome and versatile base for any delicious plant-based brekkie. Overnight oats with plant milk, chia seeds and berries, warm oats with nut butter and cinnamon and bananas. I also love making oats -based pancakes with berries and fruit on the weekends when I have time.
For lunch I like to have a greens and leaves as the base of my lunch. Lots of lettuce, spinach, rocket with some broccoli, cauliflower or beans. I load it up with quinoa cooked with some carrots and potatoes. Maybe add a wholewheat bun to make a sandwich or yummy burger or some rice spaghetti or pasta to make a pasta salad. I always make sure I have some fruit and berries if I am craving something sweet, and right now I am indulging in granadilla (passion fruit).
For dinner I enjoy experimenting with sauces and stir fries. I love making fresh tomato sauce or a creamy cheese sauce. ( Easy week night dinner idea – Creamy Rosé Sauce , Vegan Cheese sauce ) I love making curries over a bed of spinach and lentils. I use quinoa as a base as it is so versatile and I can use it to add substance and bulk to any veggie plate. I really enjoy sweet potatoes, and sometimes just eat them with some tahini and a big salad. Nutritious, satisfying and packed full of flavour. Creamy carrot and pumpkin soup with coconut milk is also one of my easiest and favourite go-to dinners.
For snacks, I love to bake. (2 years ago I would never have said this!) I really enjoy making afternoon treats and really putting some time and effort into making enjoyable healthy snack that can tide me over until dinner time. A quick banana and nut loaf, seed crackers or homemade granola. I also enjoying making energy balls that are so handy and easy to make, carry around and enjoy. ( Easy Energy Balls ) Another easy snack is some crackers with hummus. Super filling and packed with protein.
Eating plant based is anything but dull or boring, and for sure not just a diet consisting of leaves and fruit. I have been eating more food than ever before, experimenting with different types of plant-based foods and learning to cook and make food that is delicious and healthy and nourishing for my body. Our food should feed us, nourish us and help heal our bodies. I am so passionate about this and get really excited to see more people adding a bigger variety of plant based food to their diet!