I woke up one day this summer with a different disposition. Change was definitely in the air and it really hit me when I went to the grocery store and got a nauseous feeling in my stomach walking through the meat section. Ugh.
Oh yes, I’ve had this feeling before. Suddenly the idea of eating animals completely grosses me out and I must adjust my food to being plant based. In the past I have quit eating all animal products for experimental and environmental reasons so when this feeling hits me now its not so bothersome because I regularly transition in and out of a vegan diet and would say 90% of my food already comes from plants.
Eating mostly plants takes practice because many of us have been raised to eat animal products as the main source of protein in each meal. Not only that the majority of food choices when you eat out are animal based: Bacon and eggs, hamburgers, hotdogs, grilled cheese, salmon dinner, steak and potatoes. If you are striving to eat less meat and more veggies, the following list is for you.
Plant-Based Foodie Tips:
- Eat the Rainbow. Fill your plates and smoothie glasses with colorful plants at each meal (green, white, red, orange, purple…). Each group of colors brings to the table a different set of vitamins and minerals essential for healthy body function. Variety is key to achieving balance while avoiding food boredom.
- Plan for your meals ahead of time so you never find yourself starving and without an idea of what to eat until your plant palette is expanded and not eating animals as a staple becomes easier. Think about what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks this week and stock your fridge and pantry with those foods.
- Prep your fresh vegetables to be used for snacks when you bring them home so they will be readily available to grab anytime. Spending 20-30 minutes to prep and cook your food every few days can save time and money, if you eat the food.
- Eat whole fruit. Make sure you are getting the fiber by eating the whole fruit and skipping the fruit juices or watering them down to reduce the high sugar content.
- Be hydration conscious. Try flushing your kidneys and your digestive system with water and lemon juice upon rising in the morning for a month. Pour your water the night before to set you up for success. Eating more plants equals more fiber that needs to gets moved through you. Aim for a good 1.5 liters of fresh water per day.
- Freeze or juice foods you won’t likely be able to eat before they go bad.
- Stock up on protein staples like hemp, rice, beans, lentils so you can put together a meal in minutes.
- Boost your gut microbes with probiotic rich fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kefir, etc. or alternatively take a regular probiotic supplement.
- Explore new vegetables and different ways they can be eaten. Most people will tell you they hate Brussels sprouts but many have never tried eating them raw before, its like a totally different food.
- Emphasize the whole food part of a plant based diet. You can be an unhealthy vegan by eating processed food products and not enough actual vegetables, it happens all the time.
- Stock up on plant fats. Think nuts, seeds, avocados, olives…foods that add texture and balance to the meal to provide long lasting energy.
- Treat yourself and explore the vegan restaurants in your area for new inspiring recipes and innovative ways to eat plants.
- Think about being the kind of plant based foodie who leads by example. There is nothing worse than that chick at the party going on about her superior way of eating but when she could be changing minds sharing amazing food.
- Put herbs on everything. Not only are they cleansing to your organs, herbs add the flavors that will make you forget that you don’t have delicious animals on your plate. Condiments are your best friend at the dinner table.
- Don’t limit yourself. This is not a restrictive, calorie-counting diet that gets you nowhere. Eating a plant based diet is a conscious choice to feed and nourish your body on a cellular level so you function at peak performance.
- Ask for the Vegan menu when you go out to eat. More and more restaurants are accommodating this ‘trendy’ demographic and the more you request it, the more they will serve it.
- Pat yourself on the back for being a conscious human on this planet.