Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tips for Going Plant Based - EAT!

I love food, truly.

Just look at the photo! It's slices of Tofurky roast, stuffing and gravy with potatoes and carrots. YUM.

I find it both frustrating and sad that people think I suffer and eat less than amazing food because I'm vegan. Meat eaters think I spend  my life eating food that is gross, boring, unsatisfying or fake faux replacements for their 'real' counterparts (which makes no sense whatsoever) and that couldn't be further from the truth. The food I eat is delicious and nourishing. I eat all the foods I love and I don't eat anything that causes me any sort of guilt (either because it's cruel or it's fattening) or makes me feel yucky physically  - just those sugary desserts I try to only have once in awhile! Sugar is so evil.. but.. man, I like it.

I often get asked 'what do you eat?' or 'how many times a day do you eat?' I've noticed that meat eaters think that you should only eat three times a day and that whatever you eat should keep you full until you eat again. I don't live like that. I eat every 3 hours and I love that. I eat small meals and snacks. My body is never over full. Eating 6 times a day means I get a variety of foods and I am always satisfied.

When you follow a whole food, plant based diet you are eating foods that are healthy and nurturing for your body so you can eat as much as you want. As long as you eat a variety of foods and eat enough each day you won't need to wonder about how much protein you'll get - you'll meet those needs easily! You'll also get the fiber you need along with the vitamins and minerals! Whole plant based foods are naturally low in fat too!

Skip the processed crap and you can eat all day long and enjoy it!

I try and eat a variety of fruits and veggies. Of course, it depends on what is in season, what is on sale and what I'm in the mood for. In the summer I eat more snap peas and green beans because I can find those at farmer's markets but not always at the grocery store. The month that rainier cherries are available, I eat them like an insane person. I love them. We do a garden so in the summer I'm eating more tomatoes, zucchini and strawberries during that time. It's good to have favorites but you should also buy unfamiliar things to eat too. I like to rotate my greens. Some weeks I'll be into romaine lettuce and some weeks I want mixed greens.

Listen to your body. If you're at the grocery store and the spinach is calling your name.. answer the call!

Like most people, I have many non-produce things that I eat on a regular basis. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, lentils, beans, oats, whole grain cereals, tortillas, soups, re fried beans, pizza, pancakes and nut cheeses are all in rotation!

On the weekends, I don't always follow my main eating schedule since my husband is home.. sometimes I'll wake him up to have pancakes and then we'll both go back to bed or we might go out for dinner with friends. We tend to graze a lot on weekends so I try and have things available that are easy to grab and heat up - like black bean burgers, dips, spreads, and salad fixings. I try and do at least one structured meal each weekend day if I can. We like to watch movies or catch up on TV shows and my husband has computer games he plays while I nap. We tend to veg out at home on the weekends.

Here are some examples of my daily meals:

1st breakfast (4am to 7am)
I always have a big glass of ice water with barley grass powder and spirulina mixed in. Then, I usually have fresh fruit since fruit is best on an empty stomach. I'll have a red grapefruit, a kiwi and a handful of berries. Other times I may not be that hungry so I'll have my water and some miso soup to kick start my digestion and then have fruit an hour later. Once in awhile I wake up wanting something specific and if that happens I will have whatever it is my body wants as long as it's healthy.... if it's fried rice or a salad or soup or a big plate of roasted veggies. I don't care that it's 5am.. I take my cravings seriously and I feed them.

2nd breakfast: (7am to 10am)
I almost always have old fashioned oats here as I try and get a serving of oats in everyday. I'll mix in a diced banana (depending on my hunger level, it will be a whole or half banana .. if I use half, I'll freeze the other half for a smoothie), walnuts and cinnamon. The banana is sweet enough that I never add any sugar or anything.

1st lunch: (11:30- ish)
My husband usually comes home for lunch around 11:30 so I try and eat at the same time. Lunch can be anything from fried rice, rice & beans, tacos, soup, salad, veggie burgers, panini, veggies.. honestly, I just never know. I try to make it easier and quick recipes that I can have ready at that specific time.

2nd lunch: (1pm to 2pm)
This is based on hunger. If I'm really hungry I'll have a tortilla with some re fried beans in it, soup, salad or a protein shake (homemade almond milk, protein powder, frozen fruit, cacao, maca

Afternoon snack: (3pm to 4pm)
I usually need something around this time just to get me thru until we eat dinner. Most often it's just a handful of veggies or nuts, maybe fruit or something else that is quick. I might make some guacamole or have half an english muffin with nut butter on it. I might have a Tofurky deli slice sandwich.

Dinner: (5:30)
Most nights I try and have dinner ready at 5:30 when my husband gets home from work. I may use a recipe that takes a little more effort here since there isn't a huge time issue. Dinner is most often the biggest meal of the day for us. I'll usually have a side salad, a cooked veggie, a grain (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa) and a protein (beans, lentils, seitan, soy)

Evening Snack: (7pm to 9pm)
I don't always have this snack. If I feel hungry then I might have popcorn with nutritional yeast on it, a spoonful of nut butter, a serving of fruit, veggies with hummus, chips and salsa or a side salad. I just go with what my body needs.

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