5 Steps to Becoming Powerfully Plant-Based
If you didn’t know this already, I am writing my second book Plant Based For Dummies (my first book is Fermenting For Dummies). Plant Based for Dummies is due to be published in the spring of 2014. Below is a little taste of what’s in the book and gives some great advice on how to start the year off with some healthy plant based habits!
I think my intuition knew sooner than my conscious mind that I was going to become a vegetarian one day. After all I am an animal lover and have always been an advocate for healthy eating through whole foods, so if becoming a “vegetarian” meant eating more veggies then I was in.
Now that I am immersed in this world, not only by personal choice but professionally, I’ve realized many people are hesitant about the labels Vegetarianism and Veganism. There are many reasons for this. From my observation, when the majority of people think vegan they automatically go to the extreme and think malnourished hippie. This stereotype is far from true and in time will change, as people realize that being Vegan or Vegetarian is simply a choice to eat more plants or what I like to call Plant Based. You don’t have to label yourself either, but you can certainly add more plants to your diet for a happy, healthy and most importantly fully nourished life.
In essence my philosophy is that plants are powerful and everyone needs to eat a lot more of them. So whether you decide to be Vegetarian, Vegan or simply want to eat more healthy whole foods that are plant based, I have some steps to help make the transition effortless. Because in the end we all want to feel good about what we are eating, while most importantly enjoying every bite!
Do it in stages- it will last longer
This is the best way to get started unless you are willing to go “cold turkey”, which sometimes doesn’t stick. Ease your way into a plant-based diet by beginning to eliminate heavier meats first. Then eventually you may feel ready to cut out lighter foods like chicken, fish, eggs and dairy. If your goal is to be fully Vegan, however long you hold on to eating each food will be entirely up to you. You may hover for a while with a certain item before moving along and remember that is okay.
If you don’t have alternatives to the recently eliminated animal products, you are more likely to slip back to those foods or eat foods that are void of nutrition to fulfill a craving. It’s important to get to know the different options for plant-based protein from legumes, beans, nuts and seeds along with whole grains, green leafy veggies and fruit. And believe me, these animal-free foods can all be used to create your favourite meals like burgers, lasagna, pizza and sandwiches. This my friend, is the basis of a whole food plant-based diet!
Get your friends and family to support you
You will only truly feel great about your decision if you have the support of friends and family. They don’t have to fully agree with your choice but as long as they are willing to accept you for who you are the rest is meaningless. This way you can bring your own meals to dinners with friends and family, as well as feel comfortable making certain restaurant choices when dining out. At times this may not be as easy as it sounds, but if you stay true to what you believe in at the end of that day you’ll be proud and happy that you stuck with it. You may find that many will likely be inspired by you.
Become part of communities and networks on and offline
Whether you have the support from your friends and family or not, you can truly succeed by joining community groups, potlucks and online chat rooms that allow you to share, ask questions and get insight on what others are doing. By joining these communities you can hear success stories, get advice, listen to testimonials and most definitely you will receive amazing recipes.
Do your research – Read health & wellness books, nutritional articles, cookbooks and join hands-on cooking classes!
The best part is that there is a plethora of content available online through various websites, such as this one. These knowledgeable resources full of studies, industry trends, recipes and tips will enlighten and inspire you. Through health books, blogs and cookbooks you will receive so many ideas and likely lots of validation that you have made a decision that is right for you. Lastly, I would suggest going to plant-based cooking classes where you will receive both information and community support. During class you will learn new things from the instructor, while connecting with like-minded people and enjoying delicious plant-based foods. All the magic happens in the kitchen with an educational fun feast of friends.
Plant Powered Salad
Yield: 8 Servings
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Ready In: 30 mins
This plant powered salad will infuse your body with essential nutrients for health. Each bite will provide you with a balanced dose of quality protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat, leaving you feeling fully nourished.
2 Cups quinoa
1 Cup chickpeas
1 Head Kale Chopped
1 Cup Carrots Shredded
1 Cup red beets Shredded
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 Cup olive oil
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Sea Salt to taste
Prepare The Quinoa:
Rinse quinoa well under running water. Place in pot and dry toast until all the water has
evaporated. Add 3 cups of water to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for
15 minutes. Set aside.
1. When the quinoa has cooled, add the chickpeas, chopped kale, and shredded carrots & beets.
2. In a blender, mix salad dressing ingredients.
3. Toss salad with dressing and top with sunflower seeds.