Eating and living on a plant-based diet is not about deprivation. It’s not a diet regime or a big set of rules, it’s intuitive and open. It’s what you want to make of it.
How do you incorporate more healthy food choices into your day?
Well, firstly you should try to avoid thinking about what you have to “eliminate” and start thinking more about what will be open for you to explore – there’s a whole wide world of delicious plant-based foods to add to your diet! You will encounter new ingredients, spices, methods to prepare things and food combinations once you dive into the world of plant-based foods. There might be things you have never heard of or eaten, like a Tropical Chia Pudding, velvety banana ice cream, spicy hummus, nourishing Avocado Chocolate Smoothies and lots and lots of more inspirational recipes out there!
Everybody is unique and special, just like the personality that belongs to the body. What works best for you is something that you will need to find out for yourself ultimately. However, it is a fact that the body loves whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods. Simply put: Everything that grows in nature and only goes through minimal processing (if at all) is there for you to enjoy in abundance. Think vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, and all their possible preparations!
What does this mean?
I recommend eating a nourishing breakfast every morning and drinking a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon to gently encourage digestion and strengthen your immune system. Breakfast could include oats(soaked or cooked to promote digestability) with fresh fruit and nuts, smoothies (maybe topped with some homemade granola and fresh berries) wholegrain pancakes, sourdough bread…
I really love to snack and strongly believe this is beneficial to feel happy and full of energy throughout the day! It also good to avoid blood sugar crashes and hunger attacks and helps you eat more mindfully because you are rarely ravenous and therefore less inclined to overlook your body’s signals for when you are full.
Typical snacks could include fresh and dried fruit and nuts, homemade snacking baked goods, some muesli or granola with plant-based milk and fresh fruit, hummus and crackers and veggies, a small soup, a smoothie, banana ice cream… Really, there are so many options and there’s a lot of things that are very portable so having something on hand for in between couldn’t be easier with a little preparation!
For lunch and dinner, don’t forget your veggies as they are essential for giving you lots of nutrients!
This could mean a salad with all the toppings and sides that you can think of, a big pot of chili, a soup, crepes… And it doesn’t have to be fancy every day, I don’t know how often I have relied on healthy “fast food”: some quick-cooking grain like millet or quinoa paired with some steamed vegetables and big spoonfuls of hummus or avocado! So simple yet incredibly yum and ready in 15 min flat.
If you love bread, try switching the white flour, uber-fluffy wheat bread for it’s wholesome yet darker counterpart of whole-grain rye or spelled, maybe even sourdough. It is divine toasted with smashed avocado on top!
If you have a hard time digesting gluten, maybe you can try and cut it out for good as there are so many great gluten-free options out there. I do not eat gluten-free 100% of the time, but I am mindful of my consumption and try to choose the naturally gluten-free options whenever possible.
Remember that hydration is super important, so try to drink lots and lots of natural water and tea throughout the day.
If you are not consuming any animal proteins (eggs, dairy, cheese, meat, and fish,…) then yes, protein and vitamin B12 is something that you will need to look after more carefully, but it’s actually not at all a big problem to get enough protein with various plant-based sources and you can get a good B12 supplement in every pharmacy. You should, however, get your blood tested regularly and contact a nutritional expert or health care provider if you have any serious deficiencies!
Does this mean I have to change everything about eating all at once to benefit from plant-based foods?
No, absolutely not! You don’t have to become a health foodie to make small changes to your diet, you don’t need to buy any fancy superfood powders, never eat any regular cake, you don’t have to be a full-time vegetarian – every small change makes a difference! What I want to inspire and encourage is openness, a sense of fun and interest and giving healthy food a chance to change something!
This could mean you try out one meat-free meal a day, or a week, swap certain regular dairy products for delicious plantbased alternatives, try out a new piece of fruit or vegetable … Whatever might suit you. It’s important not to feel like you are suddenly forced to eat a certain way because this usually doesn’t stick with you for long. Just trying out something new one step at a time is enough – maybe you will be surprised at how much you might like it.
Being healthy really just means that you feel good about yourself and that you are feeling balanced and energized. Eating a natural, whole-food diet, regular exercise that you enjoy, relaxation and good-quality sleep are definitely cornerstones of your well-being.
Do things you enjoy, don’t feel you have to be a certain way. Listen to yourself and be open to taking care of your body and mind.
And don’t stress too much about living a “perfectly healthy” life. There’s more to health than food and more to life than health.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or look in the resources area, where I have put together books, films, websites that I find inspiring and informative!! Lots of love.