Achieving a Plant Based Lifestyle
Updated: Apr 15
These days it’s much easier to go plant based. I‘ve been vegetarian/vegan for twenty years and have learned a lot on this journey. On occasion I do eat seafood but it’s more for a special occasion, a holiday or a restaurant meal, my home kitchen is vegetarian. Going plant based has been proven to lower bad cholesterol, lower body mass index, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. It’s also much better for the environment, so many rain forests are destroyed to have more land for cattle to graze, among other things.. Here are my best tips for achieving this healthy lifestyle:
Don‘t load up on carbs: yes we all love carbs but it’s crucial to eat lots of natural protein, fresh vegetables and fruit,
Snack on healthy protein rich options: nuts, seeds, nut butters (within reason) and healthy snacks made from lentils, beans and quinoa.
Don‘t be totally rigid: you can waver between vegan and vegetarian there’s no vegan police watching you so on occasion dairy and eggs are ok, I just don’t make it a daily practice.
Which vegan milk is healthiest? Soy milk is the closest to dairy with the most protein but if you prefer nut, oat, hemp, rice milk they are completely fine just be aware of added sweeteners and artificial flavors, natural is always best.
Meat substitute, yay or nay? I say yay but with moderation. Meat substitutes have come a long way and while delicious they are highly processed. I use them on occasion but a better source is always natural vegetarian protein: beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, whole grains. I try to use the meat substitutes maybe once a week, don’t eat them every day.
Vegan cheeses, which are best? I’ve tried so many some are delicious and some dreadful. I prefer the vegan cheeses made from nut milk/cream especially the ones made from almond and cashew, they have a smoother texture but also have more fat content so eat with moderation. The same goes for vegan butter, ones that are nut based are much better/healthier than anything made from hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Cook with good quality extra virgin olive oil: I think it’s the healthiest and has the best depth of flavor. Lots of fresh herbs/spices, chili peppers, garlic, ginger and citrus are excellent ingredients to make a vegetarian meal delicious.
Lastly, get enough protein in your diet every day, health experts say 45-55 grams of protein is optional and these can be obtained from a wide variety of non meat sources. I’ve included a chart that shows protein content from vegetarian sources,