I think that the biggest mistake and misunderstanding we have about plant-based diets is that it has to be complicated. That taking this lifestyle on means complicated recipes, long hours in the kitchen, thousands of dollars at the grocery store. Never eating out, not going to parties, or everyone looking at you like you are a freak!
(Ok the last one might happen until they hear about your results)
Now, I love to cook (most of the time) so sometimes it does mean all of those things to me, but that is a personal choice.
Oh, and I should mention that I don’t have a million dollar kitchen. I live in a hundred year old home with an outdated kitchen, very little counter space, actually very little space at all! A stove, an oven, a fridge, some place for spices, cans, bags..no fancy kitchen required to turn your health around.
There maybe some up front costs to get stocked up on staples that you may have not used prior to embarking on a healthy kitchen. But, in reality your grocery bill should go down when you stop buying meat, dairy and eggs. Meat especially of any kind is very costly per pound vs. the pounds of produce or whole grains you can buy for the same price.
Plant-based diets can be made as complicated or simplified as we decide to make them. There are many quick and easy meals with no more effort than you are probably doing every day for your current diet.
I like to first talk about what a typical plate might look like for someone who is eating meat at most of his or her meals.
Your plate: A piece of meat, hopefully a vegetable and a starch (potato, rice, noodle, etc.).
My plate: ½ a plate of vegetables, a starch, and maybe a legume and at our house always a salad!
Pretty simple, you can continue to cook your vegetables and your starch as you do now. Start to make sure you are using whole grains. For example you were using white rice switch to brown. You were using pasta use whole grain or wheat free pasta. Add some legumes and seasonings and you are set!
So you can easily build a plant-based meal. The formula looks like this:
The basic plate that my 6 year old can explain to you:
½ plate vegetables +¼ plate whole grains, + ¼ plate plant-based protein such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh. Then enjoy fruit for dessert and feel free to add vegetables as needed = Whole foods Plant-based Diet
Have some extra time on the weekends or weeknights or just love to cook. Sure, there are lots of great recipes out there (to include mine) that can take you a couple of hours to prepare (my kids beg for the veggie pot pies!) But, realistically we can’t do this every day.
I always have some quick staples stocked up. Pastas, low/oil free sauce, canned beans, frozen veggies. I even stock things in my freezer like pre-made veggie burgers, hotdogs, pizza. Things that can quickly be thrown together and still provide great nutrition and taste.
Sometimes you may still feel overwhelmed not sure what the staples should be, not sure what your family will eat, and in a hurry. That is what our meal plans are for. To simplify the transition. Take the “thinking and planning” out for you. Shopping lists and meal plans that are tested and loved by my own family.
What makes my meal plans different? I have a family with four kids under the age of 11. We haven’t always eaten healthy. We made the transition and so can you. It won’t happen overnight but baby steps even just 1 night a week is a step in the right direction. Any change towards healthy eating is a good one.
Think you need more help than meal plans or shopping lists? Complicated medications, diet restrictions? I also offer individual and family meal planning, cooking instructions, shopping excursions. I have it covered.
Go ahead – jump we are here to catch you!
Happy & Healthy Eating!