If you didn't make it one of your resolutions, it's never too late to add "eat more plant-based" to your list. Yes, "be more patient with the kids," "work out more", and "take time to smell the roses" are important, but to do all of these things you must be ALIVE! The best way to stay that way is by eating a plant based diet. I read a new piece of research every day that confirms this is the way to go, yet, there are burger places packed on every corner and tons of people still on the diet du jour bandwagon. Paleo, cough... hack .. hack. People would rather pop a pill, go on a fad diet, or have surgery than change the way that they eat, but it is never too late to start. A new study just showed that people who start eating plant based even in their 60's can have huge benefits. I also see people killing it at the gym working out two hours a day for their New Year's resolution and not changing their diet. They lose no weight whatsoever and in my opinion waste a lot of their time. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the gym. But spending two hours a day there and not seeing results is a shame.
I have people tell me every day that they wish they could go plant based, but they wouldn't even know where to start. My advice is either to go slow. Take baby steps. Or, swear off meat and hit the ground running. Cold tofurkey. Both work. You have to figure out your personality and what works best for you. If you are the type who sticks to anything you decide upon, then jump into it full force, if you like easing into the water, make a few changes now, revisit in a few weeks and add some more every couple of weeks.
How about a 2 week challenge!!! Pick how many days a week you want to eat a plant based diet and stick with it for 2 weeks. Extra points for doing it everyday! Let me know how it goes! Ask questions. Ask in the comment sections here or go to Chrissy's plant based challenge on facebook and join the group. We can all share recipes and stories of our journeys. A lot of you email me and I DO love that but we can help others if we do this together!
2 week Veggie Challenge....suggestions....
1. Eat some fruit and healthy grains for breakfast. Try some fruit and some whole grain pancakes made with almond milk. Or try a greens and fruit smoothie, take some berries, banana, almond milk, a handful of spinach or kale, with 2 T ground flax or chia added to it. Or hot oats with apples and cinnamon are easy and delish. See breakfast recipes on my recipe link for more options.
2. Snack on fruit or a fruit smoothie before lunch. Berries are a great antioxidant source and should be consumed daily. A smoothie is a great way to fit these in. If you didn't have flax or chia at breakfast, fit these in your smoothie. They are loaded with omegas at the perfect ratio for helping to prevent breast cancer and prostate issues.
3. For 2 weeks have a salad or a sandwich (alternating days would be fine, or have salad more and a sandwich when you tire of salad.. is that even possible?) Make the salad with lots of different veggies, some type of nuts, or seeds, and 1/2 - 1 c beans on it daily. Stay away from dressing loaded with oil (most store bought brands) and have lemon juice, hummus, salt and pepper as dressing instead. Or experiment with making your own dressing and cut down the oil. I love 2 T lemon juice, 1 T of really good olive oil, 1 t maple syrup, pinch of sea salt, pepper, 1 t dijon mustard and shake it up in a jar. You will get used to your salad not drowning in dressing. I promise. For the sandwich, I like super grainy bread toasted and loaded with roasted red peppers, lettuce tomato, sprouts, avocado, and veganaise,
4. Try hummus and rice crackers and raw or steamed veggies as your afternoon snack. And don't go eating the whole tub of hummus. Measure out a couple of tablespoons and leave it at that. Also, steam some kale and have it in the afternoon with the hummus. Side note: I have had more people tell me that they were trying to lose weight on a vegan diet but couldn't do it, and when I quiz them it turns out that they were eating entire large tubs of hummus daily. Hello 3000 calories. A whole food plant-based diet needs to be diverse and colorful.
5. Experiment with hot veggie and bean or tofu dishes for dinner. Stop being terrified of tofu already. Buy organic, sprouted and it will not be GMO. You can have 3-5 servings a day, so if you have it a couple times a week you are barely hitting the minimum of what is ok. If you have estrogen sensitive cancer, this is a different story and you know the deal with soy. Try a vegetable curry and add some organic sprouted tofu and garbanzos to it, try roasting some veggies and making veggie tacos with homemade guac, make a big veggie, bean and brown rice burrito, make a bowl with quinoa, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pumpkin seeds (which have been doused in tamari then dried) and serve the bowl with a side of steamed kale or spinach, or make some pasta and instead of meat sauce serve it with lentils and spinach, or Beyond Meat beefy crumbles in your favorite red sauce . The possibilities are endless. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I am loving bowls right, now because there are so easy and you can be so creative. Here are some pics of veggie bowls for a little mouth watering inspiration! There are lots of dinner recipes on my recipe page as well.
If you don't eat this way at all, you may feel a bit funky for the first week. Can you say DETOX??!!! Get through it, because the reward of how awesome you will feel once you get over that is AMAZING.
Get creative. Step out of the "I'll just pick up a rotisserie chicken" comfort zone and try something new! It will take planning, so sit down and figure out your menu for the week. Part of eating better is meal planning every week anyway. Winging it usually equals takes out, or something out of a box, can or freezer and that equals too much oil, salt and/or meat. And enjoy the low grocery bill. Meat is $$. Veggies are cheap in comparison.
Let me know how you are doing! Send me some pics of your dishes. Eat well, my friends.