What’s about to change in your life? Everything. The staples in your house, the ingredients in your house, what you eat, your conversations, your experiences out with friends, your experiences when you go out to dinner, when you’re on the road, when you’re on a break at work, when you’re doing any activity and everything in between. But I don’t want that to scare anyone from trying a plant-based diet because my life changed drastically in the most amazing way possible. The day I turned vegan was truly the start of the best part of my life.
What’s nice about transitioning to a vegan diet is that you can take it day by day. It doesn’t have to be something you dread sticking with. Each day, each meal be conscious of what you’re putting into your body. If you eat more cleanly, you crave more clean and living foods, and when you find yourself falling off the wagon, you want nothing more than to get back on to that incredible feeling you felt while eating clean. Or at least that’s been my experience. It has also been the experience of my sister and best friend Meaghan.
The first step is obviously changing the things you eat. This can be easier for some over others. For me, I hadn’t even tried most vegetables or fruits, and if I had tried them, I didn’t like them. My diet was meat, cheese, mayo, refined carbohydrates and more mayo. I tried to make a lot of the same meals, but with vegan substitutions. These substitutions are a great and healthier alternative to the real thing, but they aren’t as great as whole plant based foods. There is a whole other world of food that you now get to start a journey discovering!! How exciting is that!!
In my previous blog I break down morning smoothies, and I’m still a firm believer in those being the best change you can make. Sometimes I will have gluten-free chia bread with organic almond butter and tofu scrambled with turmeric (less than a teaspoon a day of turmeric appears to significantly lower the DNA mutating ability of cancer-causing substances). Or sometimes I will eat chickpea pancakes. In the summer I also loved eating steel cut oats with almond mylk, bananas, frozen berries, hemp hearts, and cinnamon. I sometimes eat that for lunch and dinner too! But most of the time a smoothie is the way I start my days.
So now we just have lunch, dinner and snacks. You can make very delicious salads for lunch. I know the words salad, appetizing and filling don’t go together. But they can!
My favourite salad thus far is cut up kale, spinach and any leafy green you’d like (romaine, cabbage, green leaf, red leaf). Throw in some walnuts, pecans or other yummy nuts. Buy a cutter that can cut raw veggies into thin strips. Mine is a Microplane Adjustable Slicer with Julienne blade (10$). I put raw sliced beets, raw sliced carrots, raw sliced zucchini and any other vegetable you have on hand! Add some seeds, avocado and anything else that tastes good in a salad. On top of the salad I put a bunch of quinoa salad (quinoa, lemon, peppers, red onion, anything) and oil-free hummus. For a dressing my favourite is a no oil-tahini dressing that I first bought from whole-foods and now try to create on my own based on the ingredients (there’s no whole foods in whistler 😦 ). You could put any dressing on though!
I promise you this salad will be the tastiest thing you’ve had in years, it will be extremely filling and very satisfying! The fat in nuts, tahini, chickpeas in hummus and the carbohydrates in the quinoa, hummus and veggies make for a filling salad.
You may have noticed I said “anything” a lot. That’s because when eating plant foods, you can put so many different things together! My meals are rarely 1 or two ingredients. It makes me so happy when every ingredient in my meals is providing me with so many good nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
For snacks I will eat tablespoons of almond butter, grapefruits, my raw vegan brownies, celery dipped in hummus, protein shake, my healthy muffins that I mention in my fav recipes post, and anything else tasty and healthy.
Its dinner time and if you’ve snacked and eaten enough during the day, you shouldn’t be THAT hungry. In this scenario I usually eat a light dinner, sometimes a kale salad, smoothie, just vegetable stir fry or almond butter with celery. Sometimes life gets in the way though and you haven’t eaten enough during the day. Or maybe you just did so much activity that you’re starving. Or even maybe you’re a huge dinner person and would prefer to eat your biggest meal then. I have discovered so many dinner recipes that are amazing, filling, satisfying and healthy! Check out my post on my favourite recipes for a few of them.
Last night my friends and I made a veggie chilli that was soo good, and soooo filling! We put 5 different types of beans, lentils, quinoa, carrots, zucchini, onion, pepper, hemp hearts, tofu, oregano, cumin, garlic, chilli powder and cans of organic crushed tomatoes. It simmered while we all went to yoga and we came home to a bowl full of healthful deliciousness. I also got to walk home with leftovers for day’s! thanks tom!
Here’s a Sample Healthy Vegan Start-Up Grocery List:
Eventually I want to be growing and cooking my own beans, but that’s unrealistic for me right now. When I do buy canned products, I make sure to read the labels to ensure it is only beans, or with seaweed.
I usually have to go to the grocery store every few days for fresh produce because I don’t like when some go to waste and I also use up things like kale very fast. If i’m making something with guacamole ill need avocado, tomatoes, onion, lime, optional cilantro and in my house I will usually already have garlic and cumin. I can’t buy that in advance, so ill stop by the grocery store after work.
|Organic Fresh Produce||Canned items||Grains & Nuts||Frozen Section|
Other items: Unsweetened vanilla almond milk, hummus, cocoa powder
My kitchen now looks like this:
Mason jars filled with nuts, seeds, beans, and powders like cocoa.
Like I said above, take veganism day by day. Start off with a vegan recipe here and there and eventually your kitchen will be well stocked. Things like cooking, chopping vegetables, preparing meals in advance will become way more enjoyable with veganism. You start to think before leaving the house about what food you’ll have for later. You start eating all the time ( and I love eating so its great! ) There are so many positive changes that come with being vegan, to me its almost like its our human destiny. I’ve never seen so many good things come out of 1 change in a person’s life.