You probably picked up on the fact that my family is plant based. Then you may have asked yourself, how in the world did they do it? Because let me remind you, we haven’t always been plant based. In fact, this lifestyle change occurred in May of 2016.
Lately, with the exposure and conversation about the Netflix film, What the Health, people are jumping on board the vegan boat. Great! I think this is a phenomenal first step.
A couple days ago I was having a discussion with someone who is about to give up meat. During our discussion I pointed out that veganism and plant based lifestyles, though very similar, are actually different. Honestly, I think the reason why a majority of documentaries refer to people who don’t eat meat as vegans, is because of the familiarity of the term. It simplifies things, and everyone has a general understanding of what vegans don’t eat.
Anyways, back to how we made the transition… How did we do it?
The first food group we gave up was dairy. Pork was next on the list, which wasn’t difficult because we didn’t eat much dairy or pork to begin with. Slowly, we stopped eating red meat, which again we didn’t eat a lot of, but on occasion it sounded good, especially at restaurants and BBQ’s.
Most of our meals at the time consisted of chicken, sweet potatoes and salads/vegetables (meat, carb and veggie… typical mindset, right?). To further accommodate our transition, I picked up the Forks Over Knives cookbook. For some reason it was easier for me to have my hands on a book, than to bring my laptop/phone into the kitchen with me. I didn’t always want to print the recipe off in case it didn’t make the cut for our family. Forks Over Knives is such a great resource, not only does it provide recipes, it also provides reasonings to support choosing a plant based life.
As for our daughter, she was just over a year old when we made the transition, so it wasn’t quite as extreme for her. There were still some changes we had to take into consideration, because she had been eating meat, dairy and consuming bone broth.
At the time we were also living in Sonoma County, where there are a handful of restaurants that accommodate veganism. Just to clarify, we’re about 95% plant based, and 5% vegan. Why do I say this? Because when we eat out at restaurants that serve vegan dishes, the dishes don’t fit the same criteria as plant based dishes, i.e. the use of oils that are used to prepare the foods. A plant based lifestyle consists of foods cooked without using oils.
I am still getting the hang of cooking this way, another reason why I’m currently enrolled in the Forks Over Knives cooking course.
Some key factors I found important while our family made the transition to a plant based lifestyle include:
- Start restocking your pantry over time, no need to rush out and purchase six varieties of plant based flour in one trip. It is a process, slowly start replacing your baking supplies with plant based flours and sweeteners, and choose quality vinegars when a recipe calls for them. No need to feel overwhelmed.
- Embrace starches and grains. Yes, it is possible, even if you have a sensitivity. Remember there are alternatives for almost everything.
- Experiment with a variety of foods. There are variations of legumes (i.e. beans, lentils, etc.), quinoa and rice. Preparing food differently will allow you to taste the wide array of flavors foods offer.
- Go grocery shopping more than once a week. If you try to grocery shop only once, then you run the risk of forgetting necessary ingredients, fresh produce going bad by the time you get around to using it, and becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to stock up all at once.
These are a few tips that have helped us along, and I will cover more in my next post. I’ll also include a couple new recipes, such as a quick, yet filling salad. It’s perfect for summer, and a great dish to bring to a potluck or BBQ.
If you don’t already, please follow my Facebook page. I try to post articles on topics that I don’t always have a chance to write about, and that I find useful in contributing to a life full of vitality.