What is a Plant Based Diet?
A plant based diet or lifestyle is a way of preparing and consuming meals that only contain Whole Foods. By eliminating toxins and dead foods (animal products, more on this below) we allow our bodies to heal naturally and thrive in an alkaline environment (more on alkaline here). Plants such as root vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and leafy greens are all alkaline or neutral on the pH scale. Our metabolism is sometimes referred to a fire because it involves a chemical reaction within our bodies that breaks down a solid mass. Simply put our metabolism is what converts food into energy. When we are consuming high vibrational living foods we are allowing our bodies to absorb those nutrients and minerals, convert them and release them back out. Taking in the good both physically and as it absorbs into our cells affecting our spiritual and mental health as well.
Acidic vs Alkaline Foods
When foods are acidic they interrupt our bodies natural functions, cause blockages, and leave heavy residue. Since our bodies job is to survive it begins to take other routes to ensure it’s getting what it needs. This can lead to osteoporosis, cancer, arthritis, migraines, acne, candida, bloating, and other diseases or illnesses because that organ now has to rely on a different route than it’s natural function. For example, when the body is highly acidic it begins to reach for calcium from your bones to buffer the acidic toxins causing osteoporosis. Acidic foods include meat, dairy, poultry, eggs, and alcohol. Now onto alkaline foods. Alkaline foods are either neutral or basic on the pH level. They have the power to strip the body from toxins and begin the healing process from the inside out due to their micronutrient and vitamin content. As I said above, acidic foods essentially strip the body from nutrients and minerals because it’s being rerouted and siphoning from another source. When we consume higher quality foods we are not siphoning but instead flooding our systems with what it needs. Think of your body as a diesel truck. Alkaline foods are the diesel you need to keep running. But once you put gasoline (acidic foods) into your truck it begins to break down. Alkaline foods include fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, leafy greens, natural fats, natural sugars, legumes, and starches.
Health is wealth, invest in yourself.
Okay so now that the basic nutrition is out of the way, time for step 2! You’ve done your research, you’re ready to take your health to the next level and heal from the inside out. I’m here to help. It’s important to keep in mind that everyones body is different so you have to do what works for you. You know the background of a plant based lifestyle but past eating history can cause your bodies internal environment to be completely different than someones you found on social media or even your doctors. Nowadays there is far more information on healing through plants and holistic health than there was 20 years ago but it’s still so new that is not quite fully accepted yet. So do your research but also listen to your body.
How to Adopt a plant based lifestyle
You have two options here- go all in overnight, or ease into it. If you are used to a highly processed, low fiber, animal product diet (the Standard American Diet) then I would suggest easing into it. Swap out dairy for non-dairy alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, oat milk, or soy milk. Decrease your meat intake to just one meal a day, then maybe three times a week, to eventually eliminating meat altogether and choosing plant based sources such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, lentils, and beans. There are a ton of ways to do this so it’s really just based off of your personal needs.
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six simple steps
Step 1: Do your research. Watch documentaries, read scientific articles (not random blogs), and listen to podcasts. Some of my favorite resources Plant Proof Podcast, Cowspiracy, What The Health, Gut Health MD, as well as Pinterest for all kinds of recipe inspiration.
Step 2: Clean out the pantry. Throw out anything that has animal products, dairy, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, low fat, low sugar, low carb, fruit flavored, artificially flavored, etc. Or anything that has ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
Step 3: Make a list and go to the grocery store. You can download my plant based grocery list here and print it out or screenshot on your phone for easy use. Shop local, shop in season only, and buy in bulk. I am blessed to live in an area where I can have everything I need just by driving down the road. I am surrounded by wholesale bulk stores, farmers markets, grocery stores, health food stores and since I live in the US we get a lot of our produce imported so if I want guacamole in the winter- I can have it. I understand this isn’t everyones situation. However, if you are shopping for in season produce it will be much cheaper than imported produce because it’s widely available at the moment. If you are shopping local you are not only supporting your community but also eliminating the middle man, keeping cost down, and getting quality eco-friendly produce. Most grocery stores have bulk sections. I buy all my nuts, seeds, rice, legumes, quinoa, oats, nutritional yeast and other seasonings, flours, and coconut or natural sugars from the bulk section.
Step 4: Swap all dairy products for plant based alternatives such as almond milk, coconut yogurt, non-dairy cream cheese (my favorite brand is Kite Hill), vegan butter (I use Smart Balance), etc. You would be surprised how many plant based alternatives are available nowadays. Since most of these products are considered processed make sure to check the labels for high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, added refined sugars, flavors, and colors. If these products are not available where you live- check out my guide for tutorials on making tons from scratch!
Step 5: Decrease meat intake to just one meal a day then maybe a few times a week and eventually eliminating meat altogether. To keep it easy try some of my favorite one pot meals here. You don’t have to be a master chef to be vegan you just have to know how to substitute alternatives.
Step 6: Eliminate all animal products from your diet. Swap meat and chicken for tempeh and tofu. Eggs for tofu, flax meal, chickpeas, chia seeds, or garbanzo bean flour. Incorporate milk alternatives for drinking, cereal, coffee, yogurts, ice creams, cream cheese, and sour cream. Check out some recipes here.
Sample Meal Plan of What I Eat in a Day
Breakfast - I always start my morning with 32 oz of filtered water. Sometimes I will add lemon or a drop of apple cider vinegar to get my system going. Breakfast is usually a big bowl of oatmeal, smoothies, or a tofu scramble. In the summer I will occasionally have a ‘mono meal’ which is just choosing one fruit and eating until you are full. Watermelon is my favorite in the summer. When I know I have an early morning or have to travel the next day I will prepare some overnight oats the day before.
Lunch - Mid day meals are almost always different. I eat whatever I’m in the food for and whatever I have prepared in the fridge. Some days I’ll make a big salad with baked tofu or chickpeas or if I want something warm I will make a quick curry with rice or stir fry with some noodles.
Dinner - Dinner is similar to lunch but usually higher in protein. Big salad, veggie or bean burgers, curry, stir fry, baked tofu, or soup. During the hotter months it may even be a big smoothie bowl.
Snacks - I love to snack! Protein balls, carrots and hummus, fruit, rice cakes, apples and peanut butter, nuts and seeds are all my favorites.