Want to eat a more Plant based diet? Here’s a few great ways to start.
Plant-based foods are becoming more and more popular in people's diets today. More and more individuals are looking for ways they can include aspects of the plant-based lifestyle in their own everyday lives, even if they don’t want to go completely vegan. This is certainly true for me and my family. I eat a pretty much vegan diet but we still eat a small amount of fish and mainly poultry.
For those who don't know, a plant-based diet is about eating mainly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Animals or animal products are consumed only in small amounts, if at all. It’s a perfectly acceptable way to get all the nutrients you need and there are even top athletes and iron Men eating a purely plant based diet.
If you're curious about adopting a plant-based diet yourself, here's a few tips to help you start:
1. Know your plants.
There are lots of vegetables and fruits in the supermarket, farmers market and market stalls today, but some are more popular than others. Educate yourself on different vegetables and fruits that you might not know much about to expand your horizons. I recently bought a black radish from a French market in Peterborough – an unusual location for a French Market I know, but it remained me of those French coleslaws I so love to buy when I’m over there. A bit of googling and I had a recipe which was delicious. Knowing how to prepare different fruits and vegetables properly helps too. If you’ve never been particularly keen on a certain vegetable, preparing it in a new way could completely change that. I find boiled Cauliflower quite bring but cauliflower rice and couscous are now favourites in our family.
2. Limit processed foods and meat.
I advise his for anyone even if they’re not looking to adopt a plant based diet. Limiting your intake of processed foods and meat will significantly improve your health. Processed foods are often high in artificial sugar, fructose corn syrup, sodium, and other chemical additives which your body doesn’t need but once introduced your body craves them. As the saying goes, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.”
3. Start adding more plant foods.
Start incorporating plant foods into your daily meals – hummus and vegetable sticks as a snack instead of crisps, fruit with a handful of nuts to slow the absorption of fruit sugar into the blood stream, vegetable soups or a plant based protein smoothie or shake for breakfast, lunch or as a post workout snack. By gradually adding plant-based foods into your diet, you're getting your body and mind used to it.
4. Start gardening.
You know how I love to get my hands into the soil. Well starting a garden, even a small one in a quite border or window box can create a gardening bug. If space is very tight then plant what you love and us every day – fresh herbs or salad leaves in containers. If space is readily available consider starting a vegetable garden and perhaps even planting a fruit tree or two. They won’t fruit this year but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts in years to come
Simply choose your vegetable and herb varieties and make sure to follow the instructions that are included in the pack. Planting your food makes it readily available anytime you want. I love to go into the garden a cut fresh parsley or crop salad leaves and know they are on the plate 2 minutes later. You can’t get much fresher than that. You'll also know they're free from chemicals.
So what would a typical day in a plant based diet look like?
Here are some examples of the food that you can eat when you're on a plant-based diet.
Fruit smoothie – use fresh seasonal fruit or vegetables. Here’s one of my favourites
I love to add my favourite plant based protein too to help fill me up for longer and improve my mood. Here's my favourite
Daily protein boost is a great way of boosting a sweet or savoury dish without adding additional flavour. It's my go to protein on a daily basis.
Green smoothie with fresh spinach or kale. What's your favourite addition to make a smoothie green? I'd love to know.
Chocolate peanut butter smoothie – I add my favourite chocolate protein powder
Avocado on gluten free toast
Raw energy bites made with nuts and dried fruit
Fresh salads and soups
My favourite plant based supper recipes are:
Butternut squash curry with cauliflower rice
Black and Kidney bean chilli
Cauliflower pizza with your choice of toppings - here's my favourite recipe
Sweet potato and chickpea stew
Most days we don’t really do dessert opting for a peppermint or detox tea instead but on the odd occasion when something sweet is needed a raw chocolate bite is my staple from the fridge or freezer . I always have a box in the freezer for when unexpected guests turn up too. They can be whipped out and by the time the tea is made they have thawed enough to sink your teeth into! Delicious.
I run a 30 days to healthy living class and work with individuals to assess their lifestyle and goals and bring the two together in a healthy living plan. I walk you through the plan and have created meal plans and shopping lists for each week to help you get started and to make things easy to start and stick to. If you’re interested in adopting a more plant based diet but struggling to know where to start please get in touch.