How to Go Mostly Plant-Based (& My Favorite Resources & Recipes)

via Minimalist Baker

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to try out a plant-based diet for a week. I’d heard amazing stories from some of you how switching to a plant-based diet supercharged your energy and improved digestion.

I’ve always struggled with energy, even more so after having kids, so I was excited to see if it made an impact (hint, it did!). In a few short weeks, I’ve noticed that I have more energy, I’m sleeping great—something that did not happen when Owen was a baby—and my digestion is pretty amazing.

My Thoughts on Going Plant-Based

In general, it was easier than I expected! I think it’s because I didn’t set out to go 100% plant-based. I was obviously in the right headspace to do it, so I know that helped, and having Rob join in for dinners that first week made it a lot easier too.

The hardest part is planning. Plant-based dinners often take longer to prep because there’s often more chopping and more ingredients, but I personally don’t mind prepping! I did a semester of culinary school and it’s sort of relaxing for me.

We ate some really awesome stuff! Owen tried a lot of new foods too. We now have “green meatballs” aka falafel in the regular rotation and Owen loves them!

Plant-Based Meal Ideas

Breakfasts

  • Green smoothie (I make this one with a banana instead of prunes just about every day!)
  • Avocado toast
  • Seedy granola with fresh berries and almond milk
  • Vegan waffles with almond butter and berries
  • Breakfast tacos with sweet potato, black beans, avocado and pico de gallo
  • Oatmeal with berries
  • Chia Seed Pudding (dying to try this!)

Lunches

  • Grain Bowl with quinoa, roasted chickpeas, sweet potatoes and a small salad
  • Big salad with arugula, cabbage, sprouts, tomato, chickpeas, avocado, pepita, carrots—basically I’d throw in whatever we had in the fridge
  • Pinto bean and rice tacos with pickled cabbage and avocado
  • Veggie sushi and miso soup
  • Leftovers! I made lots of extras so I’d have easy lunches the next day

Dinners

  • Lentil Bolognese with brown rice pasta
  • Cauliflower and chickpea curry over rice
  • Veggie, white bean and farro soup
  • Veggie fried rice or fried quinoa
  • Cuban rice bowls with cabbage, guacamole, black beans, pico de gallo & plantains (this was a fave!)Day Five
  • Minestrone Soup with sourdough bread
  • Falafel with hummus and Greek salad
  • Mushrooms in marinara over rosemary, garlic polenta with sautéed greens

Snacks

I also had at least 1 snack every day, usually in the afternoon and here were some of my favorites:

  • Cava Spicy Hummus with carrot chips and simple mills crackers
  • Apple with almonds
  • Peanut butter energy bites (I need to post this recipe!)
  • Dried fruit (mango and apricots)
vegan pizza recipe

Moving Forward

Since our plant-based week, I’ve stuck with it for every breakfast and lunch, and about half of our dinners. I don’t plan on giving up animal protein completely, but right now I’m aiming for 70-80% plant-based.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been doing lots of house projects and I swear the extra energy is coming from these diet changes! I used to get so tired after lunch and now I just feel energized to keep going.

Resources for Going Plant-Based

Whitney E. RD: She reached out to me when I first talked about going plant-based and sent over some awesome resources! She’s predominantly plant-based which was a good fit for me. All or nothing stuff just doesn’t work well for me. She also has an account called Plant-Based Juniors dedicated to plant-based eating for kids!

Everything she provides is evidence-based, which I love, and if you want to know why eating mostly plant-based is so good for you, I highly recommend you check out this post.

Minimalist Baker: Most of her recipes are vegan, and every single one we’ve tried is delicious! She also uses minimal ingredients, which is so nice because some recipes are so dang complicated!

“Fiber Fueled” Book: I read this book on the suggestion of several followers and LOVED it! It’s all science-based and goes into detail on how plants and fiber are the keys to improving your gut microbiota, and in turn completely overhaul your health.

This was the science-y book I needed to really get me on board! He promotes a diverse plant-based diet, so it’s not just about eating the same stuff, but really trying to get in as many different plants each week (aim for 30)—it’s a fun challenge!

This also completely changed my view of gluten, the Paleo diet, Whole30 and carbs in general. Turns out the people who live the longest eat lots of plant-based carbs and whole grains.

“Forks Over Knives” Documentary: There are so many bad documentaries trying to scare you into being vegan (namely, “What the Health”), but this one is largely based on one of the largest cancer studies ever done. In short, it showed that animal protein turned on cancer genes, while removing it from your diet turned them off.

This one is especially close to my heart because my dad had cancer almost a decade ago and going vegan was his saving grace. He’d had surgery and radiation that didn’t get rid of his cancer. His doctors said he would likely always have some cancer, so he went vegan and blew his doctors’ socks off. Within a few months, they were unable to detect any cancer cells and he’s been cancer-free ever since!

VeganBowls on Instagram: I’ve followed them for a while and it’s one of those accounts that compiles other people’s content, but I’ve gotten so many good ideas from them!

That was a long one, but I wanted to include as much info as I could to make it easier if it’s something you want to try! For now, I plan to continue eating predominantly plant-based and hopefully I’ll be closer to 80-90% plant-based in due time!

BTW, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”, and vegan butternut squash pizza.

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