What's On My Plate
Hey friends! I think the number one question I get asked is: what do you eat? There are so many theories and diets out there and people are generally at a loss, so it makes sense that as soon as I tell someone what my passion is, they ask that question. Also, we actually are what we eat – food breaks down and our cells absorb the nutrients (or lack there of). So, it is really important that we think about what we put into our bodies =)
I really hate to pigeon hole myself under one diet or lifestyle because I really believe that we are constantly evolving and learning about our bodies every day, but I am excited to que you in on where my health journey has led me…
Right now, I consider myself plant-based. For me that means no meat, no fish and no dairy. I also tend to stay away from eggs (that is more so a personal dislike for them!) and I also prefer to not eat gluten or soy. Now, I know most of you reading this your head is probably already spinning with things like, “Why and how do you not eat meat?!” “Where do you get your protein?!” What DO you eat?!”
I get it, a plant-based diet goes against the standard American diet, so it is hard for most people to wrap their heads around. But I am going to share the benefits of eating mainly plant-based and how you can easily incorporate this into your life. Before moving on, I want to say that I do not think you have to be 100% plant-based or 100% anything. If something you read here sounds interesting, you can introduce small bits and pieces. I fully believe in eating with what intuitively feels right for you!
Let’s talk plants…
Some of the benefits of eating plant-based are:
Lower the risk of heart disease (one of the number one causes of death in the U.S.)
Lower the risk of diabetes
Weight loss and stabilization
Can help with digestion/digestive issues
Full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and healthy fats
It is better for the environment
That being said, it is important to note that just because a meal is “plant-based” does not mean it is healthy or checks off one of the above benefits. The term “junk food vegetarian” came about because people believed that just because a meal did not have meat, it was healthy. For example, a grilled cheese on white bread is “vegetarian” but is definitely not a healthy meal full with nutrients.
So, what do I eat?! Gluten free grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and legumes. I also love healthy fats like olive oil. My biggest rule of thumb is to eat whole foods in their most natural and organic (when possible) form. Staying away from foods that come in a package, and crowding your diet with a variety of whole foods.
Before moving on, I also want to address protein because as soon as I tell someone that I do not eat animal products, it is usually the next question to come up. Whole grains (like quinoa!), beans, nuts, seeds and leafy greens are foods that can provide you with plenty of protein. There is also plant based protein powders that are a great source, as well as protein bars (I like to stay away from bars generally speaking, but here and there is fine!). Once again, it goes back to the quality of what it is your eating. Ensure you are cooking with high-quality grains and organic veggies. Look at ingredients of protein powders and bars, and even check the nuts and seeds you are getting are raw/whole.
Now I am sure you are ready to find out how YOU can try and incorporate more plants into your lifestyle. Here are some ways to get more plants on your plate:
Shift the mindset around meat: when cooking a meal or going out to get food, think of the meat as the side dish and your veggies as the main. Doing this for one meal a day, or every other day, can open your mind to eating more plants, without too big of a change.
Try a meatless day: pick one day and see if you can go all day without eating meat. It may be difficult at first, but I am sure after your first meatless meal you will see that it is not as hard as you think! Plus, I am sure most of us have done this at least once before so you can do it again!
If a whole day is too much, try making one or two meals one day plant based – then go on to try an entire day!
Plan ahead: if you decide to try a meatless day or meal, simply plan ahead to make it easier for yourself. Meal prep and store your plant based meals in nice looks containers so it is super easy and looks appetizing.
Grab a friend: find someone you are close with to try this with you! It will make it more fun, plus you can hold each other accountable and support each other along the way.
Ready to eat more plants?! To make things even easier, I have outlined a full day of plant based meals so you can give it a try!
Chia seed pudding with fruit and nuts
Green smoothie with protein powder
Leafy green salad with other veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and radishes, as well as a protein like lentils or chickpeas (for salad dressing I usually use olive oil with lemon)
Avocado toast on gluten-free bread
Hummus wrap with raw veggies on gluten free tortilla
Carrots and hummus
Trail mix with raw nuts and seeds
Green juice (***when having a juice make sure it is organic, and mainly veggie – a juice with a lot of fruit will be very high in sugar)
Cooked quinoa and veggies (spinach, zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower) seasoned with olive oil, turmeric and pepper
Veggie burger (I love Hilary’s brand at Whole Foods) over arugula (arugula is my favorite raw green, but can be over any green!)
Cauliflower pizza with veggie toppings (can add vegan cheese)
Dates with almond butter
Vegan ice cream or popsicle
Before I finally stop talking here, I just wanted to reiterate that I do not think you have to go plant-based, or that it is the right lifestyle for everyone. What I will say is that if you do eat meat, just be mindful about the type of meat you are eating. Grass fed beef and poultry, free range eggs and wild caught fish are recommended because if you think about it, whatever they feed the animal you are going to ingest. So once again, consuming foods in their most natural/organic state and not what has been genetically or chemically altered is always best.
For now, I think we can all agree you can’t have too many veggies – so why not try to put some more plants on your plate?!