Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Do you know that there are over 79 million vegans in the world? This means that if you are thinking about becoming one you are not going to be alone! It really is easier than ever to join the veggie train.
Now, if you are worried that it will be complicated to make meals that are healthy, or that you need a separate trip to a specialty shop I’m here to show you otherwise!
I’ve been following the plant-based diet for over 20 years, and I can tell you my friend that it is super easy to prepare tasty meals. And you can get all the ingredients you need at your local supermarket.
So, read on to find out why you should follow a plant-based diet, how to get started, and 3 ways you can create super tasty meals in no time!
But before we start, are you part of my community? Join my newsletter to get the latest action steps on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet, de-stress, manage your time better, prioritize yourself, and anything in between so that you INCREASE your energy, SAVE time and INVEST well in your wellness!
Why Follow a Plant-Based Diet?
You see it everywhere: eat more vegetables! What’s more, you probably have a friend or two, or more who already made the switch. But you may still ask yourself: why should I follow a plant-based diet?
I could be blunt here and repeat after others: to improve your health and look after the environment and animal welfare. And of course, those are very valid points but they are very broad and frankly not convincing.
For many, food is a social concept. You also have a very emotional relationship with food whether you recognise it or not. So, changing a diet may come with a lot of resistance.
But you see, the funny thing about humans is that we do things because we benefit from doing them. This is an old saying. But if you didn’t get a reward for doing something you wouldn’t even lift a finger.
And eating food is no different.
What Comes to Your Mind When You Think About a Plant-Based Diet?
Most likely you think about a pile of raw vegetables that you have no idea how to cook. Or even if you figure out what to do with them (hello Google!), it’s going to take you hours to put dinner on the table. And who’s got the time?
Our modern diet is fast and convenient. Most food is packaged and ready to heat up. No muss, no fuss. I hate to say it, but you have to peel that potato and wait for it to boil before you can eat it.
But let me ask you this. How do you feel in your body and mind?
Do you have pain in your stomach, bloating, or constipation? Or maybe you have headaches, sugar cravings, and lack energy all the time?
And how’s your emotional state? Are you easily irritated, worried, or stressed out? Do you have trouble concentrating, or sleeping?
How do your mental and physical wellbeing benefit from the food you eat? Would you want to be energetic, calm, and feel good? No more aches or discomfort.
You see, your mind and body send you signals all the time about the food you eat. And whether or not it benefits you the way you think it does.
How to Start With a New Diet
If you seriously think about jumping on board the plant-based diet train I want you to do it gradually. I know we live in a I-want-this-to-happen-right-now culture but trust me on this.
You are not only changing your habit of what you eat, but also your body needs to learn a new way of processing the food you deliver. As with anything, there needs to be a transition period to get the best results.
So, what do I mean by gradually?
Start with one plant-based dinner a week. And once you establish this habit increase the frequency. You can make it the same day each week, for example, plant-based Wednesdays.
This way you are not making a big leap. So you don’t need to obsess that you are missing out on something. Also, the change will be gradual so it will be easy to stick to it.
Meat or No Meat?
Now that you know why you should follow a plant-based diet and how to get started is time to actually get creative with your dinners!
The first step here is to think about meat. I know! But hear me out. Outside of taste, the main reason why you eat meat is to deliver proteins to your body.
Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. They are needed in your diet for building and repairing muscles and bones. Proteins also assist in making hormones and enzymes essential to your health.
On the contrary, proteins are not the main source of energy. Yes, your body converts proteins for energy but in smaller quantities than you think. The two main sources of energy are carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Therefore, you need to think about swapping your source of proteins. You still need to deliver them, but your body doesn’t care from what source.
Some of my go-to sources for proteins are lentils, pulses, chickpeas, tofu (which is made of soy), mushrooms, peanuts, nuts such as almonds, and quinoa.
One of my all-time favourite dinners is baked tofu with fried rice, and choy sum with tamari. You bake the tofu in the oven for 30 minutes. Cook the rice and fry with chopped carrot, onion, and green peas for about 5-10 minutes. And the choy sum needs only washing, chopping and blanching for no more than 5 minutes.
You can make this dinner in 30 minutes.
Make Your Vegetable a Star
As with a non-plant-based dinner you had a star on your plate. It is a good idea to make a certain piece a star of your meal. And this should be no different when you follow a plant-based diet.
Making a certain vegetable a star of your dinner is easy. It also follows the same pattern you used with your previous diet. Yes, you can still have the famous meat and three veggies dinners.
What’s more, you can prepare that star vegetable the same way you would prepare chicken, lamb or pork. You can bake it, fry it, or put it on a BBQ. You can add whatever spices and fresh herbs you want.
My always-go-to vegetable is pumpkin. It’s such a versatile vegetable and so easy to cook in whichever way you want. It is also relatively cheap no matter the season, and you can easily get it from your local grocer.
You can bake or grill pumpkin, with cumin, turmeric, and nutmeg. You can add quinoa on a side, or a simple green salad with seeds and nuts. This can be done in 30 minutes or less.
Spice up Your Life (And Dinner)
For many, the biggest roadblock to following a plant-based diet is that the food will be bland and no longer enjoyable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
All vegetables have their own unique flavour and texture. And if you find them uninspiring, there is always the option of adding spices. I am also a big believer in fresh herbs and I use them all the time.
Some spices are dry and keep well which means you will have plenty of opportunities to use them. And you can get all the most common herbs at your local supermarket. Or even grow your own and keep it on your kitchen benchtop.
Experiment, let your imagination carry you and don’t overthink it. Mix and match your textures and flavours, so you can develop a new pallet. Your taste buds are most likely looking to come out of their comfort zone anyway.
How to Create Tasty Plant-Based Dinners
I hope that by now you can see that following a plant-based diet is easier than you think. If you experience bloating, gut issues, headaches, or have problems with low energy levels or sleeping, it is a sign your body sends you. It means that your body and mind don’t benefit from the diet you are currently on.
It’s time to try something different. Start your new diet gradually by picking one day of the week increasing the frequency as you gain confidence.
Think about swapping the source of proteins, making your favourite vegetable a star of your dinner, and spicing up your meal. You want your new diet to bring you joy. But also energy so you can play with your kids, finish that important project, and ultimately follow your dreams.
Are you part of my community? Join my newsletter to get the latest action steps on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet, de-stress, manage your time better, prioritize yourself, and anything in between so that you INCREASE your energy, SAVE time and INVEST well in your wellness!