Back to Basics

Once upon a time, I started this little blog with the thought of introducing easy, vegan foods to my friends and family. I was always posting food pictures on Facebook (yes, I’m that person) and people loved it! After some encouragement from a friend, I started the blog so I could bring more ideas and inspiration to others. Over the past two years my readership has expanded from friends and family to people all over the world and I love it!
However, last summer I shared the news that I was taking a break from the whole “vegan” thing due to some personal shit. That was all well and good, but over the months I keep coming back to plant-based eating as the best choice for me and my body. Now – more than just “vegan” – I want to focus on a whole foods, plant-based diet (remember: diet as in how I eat not diet as in a way to lose weight).

So what is a “whole foods, plant-based diet” all about?

  • Whole foods – this just means REAL foods. Focus is on fresh produce, grains, legumes, nuts/seeds. All the good stuff that we know we should be eating
    Plant based – just how it sounds. Right now I’m eating a vegetarian diet as I do include occasional dairy and eggs. But the main focus needs to be on veggies and fruits.
  • Minimal processed foods – I want to really eliminate foods that come from a box or package. I am flexible in what processed means to me. Some people would eschew bread, whole grain pasta, tofu, etc as processed…but I consider those options healthy staples to my diet and will include them. By processed, I’m mostly talking about “non food” food items like crackers, cookies, chips, fast food, white rice/pasta/flour products, soda etc…
  • Eliminate junk sugar – this goes along with processed foods, but it’s well worth noting. I’ve been focusing on vegetarian eating for a while but have kept a ridiculous amount of sugar in my diet and it’s just not serving me. I’m not feeling as good as I know I can. Therefore it must go. I’m not worried about fruit intake – I’m going to eat as much of that as I need to in order to keep the sugar cravings at bay. After all, extra fruit is going to be so much better for me than candy or cookies.
  • Zero to no added oils – oils aren’t the best source of nutrients – they are concentrated calorie and fat sources and don’t give much in return. I can get my healthy fats from whole foods like chia, hemp, nuts, avocado. Oils can be great to add flavor or a certain consistency, but I’m going to do my best to keep them out of my diet. My one exception is coconut oil which has so many additional benefits that oils like olive and sesame don’t have. I’m definitely pro-healthy fats, I just think there are many better options than oil.  
  • Keep it simple – plant-based food doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple, fresh foods are the best fuel.

Where to start?

Perhaps you are new to plant-based eating and are a bit overwhelmed by the whole idea. An easy way to get started is with a set program that will take out all of the guesswork. The below programs are ones I recommend for a 3, 7 or 10 day vegan jumpstart. After all, it was a 7 day “vegan experiment” that turned me on to this way of eating and living and inspired me to continue for over a year!
  • Happy Herbivore has two great options for making the dive into plant-based eating. The 3 Day Reboot ($9.99) is quick and easy – you can do anything for 3 days! The 10 Day Immersion ($19.99) is a more involved approach to the world of plant-based, low-fat eating. Either plan can be labor/time intensive, but by doing prep work ahead of time you can save time day-to-day. There are different meals every day which is a great way to ward off boredom and keep your taste buds satisfied. You definitely won’t be hungry on either plan. You could always purchase both to have on hand for seasonal or yearly cleansing. ($24.99)  Plus these plans take it a step further with education of plant-based eating. Find them both here.
  • Happy Herbivore also provides 7 Day Mealplans ($5) which are not “cleanse focused” like the reboot or immersion but will do the job nonetheless. These plans include meals for 7 days as well as recipes, a grocery list and prep tips to minimize time in the kitchen during the week. They are set at 1200 calories which isn’t enough for my tastes, but you can easily bulk it up by increasing portion sizes or adding sensible snacks to your day. $5 ain’t a bad price for a week’s worth of no-fuss-necessary vegan meals.
  • Amber Shea’s Real Food 3 Day Cleanse ($14.95) is another shorter option that places the focus on whole, unprocessed foods. The meals look incredibly yummy, but I would have to increase the breakfast options in order to be satiated.
If you aren’t into buying a program there are tons of free resources online. Just google vegan recipes and you will be set. Some of my favorite recipe resources are the Happy Herbivore Blog, Daily Garnish, Oh She Glows, Mama Pea and of course my own Recipe Page!
Some plant-based meal ideas (just look how beautiful plant meals can be!):
Hot oatmeal
Cold overnight oats or muesli
Smoothies and shakes
Any bean+grain+veggie combo like Sushi Bowl or Quinoa Salad
Black bean mango salad
Buddha Bowl (from Oh She Glows)
Chia puddingFruit + nuts or nut butters
Veggies + hummus
Smoothies or juices
On my meal plan the next couple of weeks are oatmeal, smoothies, protein soft serve, buffalo chickpea salad, white beans and brussels sprouts with brown rice, miso-mustard tofu (I will post the recipe!), chickpea tacos, black beans & plantains and much more. I’ll be back posting mini-recaps of my meals with recipes/links to give you tons of ideas and options. Anyone want to take the pledge with me for a Back to Basics July?? I’d love your company!

One thought on “Back to Basics

  1. Pingback: Busy Bees | Mile High Healthy

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