What does it mean to eat a whole food, plant based diet?
To me it means planning and cooking! This lifestyle does mean planning your meals and doing meal prep. Meal prep = your own “pre-packaged” foods to work with for the week. You will know what is going into each of your recipes . Your meals will be filling and satisfying. You control the amount of fats and sugar that goes into your body.
Let me rewind. I started paying closer attention to my diet after my stroke. (I seriously NEVER want to experience that again nor do I want anyone else to have to go through that trauma). I was already a fairly healthy eater and worked out 5 – 6 times a week when “it” happened. Post stroke I started counting my saturated fat grams, working to keep it to 12 grams per day. I also started counting my fiber. I aim for between 25-35 grams of fiber per day. During my recovery months the girl became Miss Herbivore – she went vegan, which encompasses more than just eating plant based. She is vegan for her health and for animals and the planet.
I began to research vegan diets to ensure that she is getting the nutrition necessary for a teenager. First and foremost I learned that living a plant based, whole food diet is not lacking in protein. Turns out protein is one of the easiest parts of this lifestyle. As long as you are eating “the rainbow” – and I don’t mean a bag of Skittles® – and including whole grains, beans and legumes along with a rainbow for vegetables and fruits in your diet the only vitamin you need to watch for is B12. Many products are fortified with B12 or you can take a supplement to ensure this is covered. Do your research and/or visit your doctor. Here are several articles to start you on your way:
- Forks Over Knives: Why Every Vegan and Vegetarian Needs Vitamin B12
- The Vegan Society: What Every Vegan Should Know About Vitamin B12
I began cooking more and more plant based meals, it wasn’t just “meatless Monday” any more. The webernet is full of delicious inspiration. I discovered that I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen –trying new things and techniques to achieve not only a healthier approach to what we do 3 or more times per day but to create food we actually enjoy eating.
Fast forward to today. I decided that for the next 2 weeks I am making 100% vegan meals. To help me – I am old school and actually prefer a hard copy to flip through and make notes in — so, I invested in some more cookbooks. I had been eyeing one of Thug Kitchen’s cookbooks for about a year now and so I took the leap and bought one along with the newly released Vegan Comfort Classics, by Lauren Toyota.
So far I’ve made a kick-ass Pad Thai recipe from Thug Kitchen and the seitan that goes on the Gyro Sandwich and Real Won-Ton Soup from Vegan Comfort Classics.
We all loved (including Mr. Fantastic) the Pad Thai, not only for the taste but the harmonies of textures and temperatures. The gyro had the best version of a tzatziki style dressing I’ve come across and the seitan was just as tasty as the mystery big blob on a skewer. The won-ton soup, for me was a lot of work and we just didn’t dig it. The broth was tasty but I flunked won-ton making. My ton’s held together but otherwise just didn’t work in my version of the soup.
My planning efforts got us through half the week…..Excuse me as I exit this to scroll through my Pinterest boards and flip through my cookbooks and plan out the rest of the week. I’ll make another list and go to the grocery store again. (FYI, meal planning is also part of this journey for me. Meal planning and organization in the kitchen does not come naturally to me thus the extra trips to the grocery. But! I keep working towards the once per week grocery trip)!