Keep It Stupid Simple!
Maybe you read my post last week called “How To Be Plant-Based” and are thinking “Cool… but now what?” Well, start small, one baby step at a time. It’s not about quick fixes or what works for the next 2 weeks. Think about your entire life! Think about what is sustainable. You can easily lose weight on any diet program, but odds are not usually in your favor for keeping the weight off. This is where a whole foods plant-based diet comes into play. Not only can you lose weight but you can reverse chronic disease, get off medication, sleep better, think clearer, and get your energy back! Check out the videos on How Not To Die for more inspiration! Your ancestors lived long and healthy lives eating mostly vegetables and beans! This is how we should eat, too. A low fat plant-based diet full of beans, vegetables, whole unprocessed grains (quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.), fruits and some seeds or nuts.
The Meal Plan:
Go ahead and start looking through my recipe index or search through other plant-based websites or cookbooks you enjoy. Look for a few simple recipes that are similar to foods you already like. Look for recipes that are easy and doable. Try out a few recipes that interest you. You don’t need to worry about protein as long as you’re eating beans most days, a handful of nuts or seeds, and lots of vegetables, potatoes, and whole unprocessed grains. If you would like a more specific meal plan then check out the simple 3-day meal plan on this website. If time is the issue, try a meal delivery service like Purple Carrot.
Just dive in or start small. Do you like stir fry? Burritos? Vegetable pizza? Great! Try eating those foods more often. Try limiting the amount of oil and cheese on top and maybe start choosing whole-wheat crust, corn tortillas, and brown rice over the less nutritious alternatives. When you get comfortable with that transition then start adding more whole plant foods and take out more of the processed foods. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Sometimes just aiming for 50% or 60% or 80% is a good goal! One step at a time. Don’t feel guilty when you mess up, just pick yourself up and do the best you can!
It’s All About The Sauce:
It’s ALL about the sauce and spreads and seasoning. Believe me, you’re not going to last if the food tastes gross! You wouldn’t eat pasta naked, you wouldn’t eat bread naked, you wouldn’t eat a piece of meat naked! Then why do most of us think we have to eat our vegetables naked? When you’re trying to cut back on cheese or sour cream food tastes boring and bland. Cheese and other dairy products add fat, salt, and flavor to the food which means that when you remove those items from the menu food will not taste as good. Our taste buds are wired for that salty cheese hit! This is where experimentation and creativity come into play! One helpful tip is to have a good sauce on hand! Instead of using typical garnishes, start playing around with flavorful alternatives like hummus, guacamole, salsa, sriracha sauce, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, and vinegar (just to name a few). If you are brave, you can start making a few of the oil-free sauces and salad dressing recipes from this website. If you have a great sauce to pour over your food then you won’t have to worry about flavoring the vegetables, beans, grains or potatoes. Food will taste great with minimal effort! Make life easier, not harder!
Here are a few of my favorite sauces:
- Creamy Chipotle Taco Salad (with home made corn tortilla chips)
- Spring Chard Rolls with Ginger Peanut Sauce
- White Bean Alfredo Zoodle Bowl
- Tammy’s Spicy Tahini Mayo
- Simple Hummus
- Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing
- Tahini Miso Sauce
You can do it! It’s worth it! I know it feels foreign, and maybe even a little bit scary! Soon you’ll start finding recipes you enjoy, get in a routine, and start finding your stride. In no time at all you’ll look back and laugh at how hard, silly, or scary it all felt at first. Cheers to you and your new health!