Six Serious Reasons to Just Ditch Dairy

Haven’t ditched dairy yet?

Here are 6 serious reasons to just do it:

 
ditch dairy1. As per Dr. Michael Klaper, the purpose of cow’s milk is to help a baby calf grow, grow, grow as fast as possible. Dairy is hormonally active…intentionally. But once we are full-sized adults, growth is not a positive thing…it inspires cancer growth and contributes to other health problems.
 
 
2. Upwards of 70% (or more) of the world’s population is lactose-intolerant. The fact that more people than not react with painful gastrointestinal symptoms upon consumption of dairy demonstrates the fact that the human body is not intended to consume it. Doctors and dietitians are now pushing the use of lactase enzymes and other symptom-relieving medications in order to ensure “adequate” intake of dairy products. Yet, if we have to force our bodies to accept something it doesn’t want, shouldn’t that be a sign that something is wrong?
 
3. You do not need dairy for healthy bones. There are excellent plant-sources of calcium that are alkalizing and support bone health. Broccoli, kale, bok choy, other leafy green veggies, sesame seeds, tahini, calcium-set tofu, almonds, aditch dairynd fortified plant milks/juices all have adequate amounts of calcium to meet daily requirements. In fact, calcium in kale is absorbed 30% better than from dairy!  
 
4. People are always concerned about the phytoestrogens in soy foods. Yet, dairy has estradiol, natural animal/human-based estrogen, which is 10,000 times more potent than environmental or phytoestrogens.
 
5. Dairy, particularly cheese, is the number one source of artery-clogging saturated fats in the diet. Remember, according to the American Heart Association, a heart-healthy diet contains no more than 5-6% of total calories from saturated fat, the amount found in a typical vegan diet.
 
ditch dairy6. There is a currently a wall o’ milks that are plant-based and delicious at your neighborhood grocer. Choose between almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, oat milk, coconut milk, flax milk, rice milk, chocolate almond milk, horchata rice milk, vanilla soy milk, almond-coconut milk, and the hundreds of other varieties now available. Exciting, decadent, creative, and much healthier….dairy milk is indeed jealous! So jealous that Big Dairy recently approached the FDA to intervene and make it illegal for plant milks to be called “milk.” However, consumers are not buying plant-based milk because they’ve been tricked into believing they actually came from a cow. They’re buying plant milk because it’s healthier, cruelty-free, and easier on our planet.
 
Eat plants. Drink plants. For your health.

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Six Simple Tips to Stay Healthy Through the Holiday Season

Don’t Just Survive the Holidays. Thrive Through Them…

Still battling a post-Thanksgiving Tofurky trance? A mashed potato murk?  A pumpkin pie high? Instead of waiting for January to climb back up on the healthy wagon and out of the food fog, why not start now? Mitigate the mayhem of the season and bump up the body love fest with these 6 simple tips:

  1. Persist with fitness. It is all too easy to let your routine slip to the sidelines with traveling, festivities, and busier schedules that are typical this time of year. But that is why it is even more important to stay the course and squeeze it in. However you can, make it happen. Turn social gatherings into bonding fit fests by going for a walk or taking an exercise class together, or doing yoga in the living room before a meal or first thing in the morning. Social support is superb in stick-to-it-ness. Try literally entering your workout onto your calendar weeks (or at least days) ahead of time to ensure it happens.
  2. Start with fruits or veggies at every meal. Since fruits and veggies both offer the fewest calories per gram than any other foods and are high in satiating fiber, these are the ideal items to preferentiate at every meal. Studies have found that starting your meal with a piece of fruit, salad, or soup decreases overall caloric intake at a meal.
  3. Prioritize the 6 daily 3’s:
      • 3 servings of leafy green vegetables (1 serving equals 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked and include options such as asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, dandelion greens, green beans, kale, any type of lettuce, sea vegetables, etc.)
      • 3 servings of legumes (1 serving equals 1/2 cup of any bean, lentil, pea, or soy foods)
      • 3 servings of fruits (1 serving equals 1 medium piece or 1 cup)
      • 3 servings nuts and seeds (1 servings equals 1/2 ounce or 30 grams)
      • 3 servings other colored vegetables (1 serving equals 1/2 cup)
      • 3 servings exercise (1 serving equals 20 minutes of activity)

     

  4. Predict, plan, and prepare. Know where your next meal will be and make arrangements to have healthy options wherever that may be. Traveling? Here are some Healthy Travel Tips. Dining out? Here are my Top 5 Tips for Dining Out. Visiting friends or family? Ask to bring a wholesome dish or two for yourself and to share.
  5. Opt out instead of pushing portion control. Sometimes just saying “no” is so much easier. Otherwise, that first bite of hyperpalatable food stimulates the hormonal cascade that kicks in and seduces you into “just one more bite”…and “one last one”…and on and on down that rabbit hole.
  6. Discover and experiment with healthier indulgences. Swap date paste or pure maple syrup for sugar in recipes, try aquafaba instead of egg whites in meringue-like dishes or other egg substitutes in any type of recipe, and use fruit and vegetable purées instead of oil.

Most importantly, embrace this special time of year and savor the love that comes from taking care of yourself psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually as well as physically…

Wishing you a very healthy, happy holiday season!

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Two New Papers Putting the Power of Plant-Based Diets in the Spotlight

The Power of Plant-Based Diets Validated Once Again in Recent Research

According to abundant scientific support, plant-based diets have consistently been associated with not only significant health advantages, but also nutrient adequacy. Despite headlines blaring out messages of deficiency and danger, the evidence continues to show otherwise.

Two brand new compelling papers were published expressing the safety, adequacy, and powerful health benefits of eating plants…

First, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the leading organization for nutrition experts, Registered Dietitians, updated their Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets. Here is the abstract:

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Here is the link for the position paper to share with your physicians and other healthcare practitioners, friends or family, or anyone concerned about a plant-based diet, which is actually the most health-promoting, disease-fighting, sustainable, nutrient-dense way of eating possible.

Secondly, this revolutionary new paper authored by Ray Cronise, BS, Andrew Bremer, MD, Ph.D., and David Sinclair, Ph.D. shows why plant-based diets are optimal for health and weight management.

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This Food Triangle is a tool to understand the energy density of different diet schemes:

  • Western diets are “bottom feeders,” consuming combinations of the most energy-dense foods: meat and potatoes, fish and chips, pasta and meat sauce, burger and fries.
  • Paleo diets, on the left side of the triangle minimize energy from starch, which is why they may lose weight initially (while still missing out on critical nutrients found in plant foods such as beans and whole grains).
  • Vegan diets, on the right side of the triangle, omit the energy-dense animal products and focus on nutrient-dense, disease-fighting whole plant foods. When leaving out oils, sugars, salts, and flours, this offers the most nutritional bang for the caloric buck with all the ingredients for easy weight management and long-term health.

This paper is disruptive as the authors debunk deeply ingrained myths, clarifying that:

  • Nutrition is not an emergency.
  • Our metabolisms are not broken.
  • Using the terms “carbs, fats, and proteins” is confusing.
  • Our obesity epidemic is due to chronic overnutrition.
  • You simply cannot out-exercise your diet.

Both of these articles validate all we know about the benefits of eating plants. It is simply the most health-promoting, disease-fighting, nutrient-dense diet and it is ideal for people across the lifespan.
Here is more information on how to implement a plant-based diet, The Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets for healthcare practitioners, and sample meal plans with hundreds of recipes.

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Say Cheese for these 20 Delicious DIY Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes

You can have your cheese and eat it, too!

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There are a plethora of paramount health reasons to ditch dairy – particularly in the form of cheese – from the high saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, and hormone content to the opiate-like casomorphins that encourage its addictiveness. Just the mere fact that approximately 75 percent of the global population is lactose intolerant is enough to reason that we have no business consuming the milk of another species!  Fortunately, there has never been an easier time to chuck cheese because there are infinite plant-based alternatives available both commercially and in the DIY format (a la delicious recipes).

To reduce calorie density and maximize nutrient density, I recommend minimizing or avoiding the use of oils. Thus, if you love cheese the way many people do, it is ideal to make your own without using oils.

Here is a collection of 20 whole food, plant-based cheese recipes that are easy to make, oil-free, and absolutely divine…

1. Vegan Feta (That Tastes Really Good!) by Dreena Burton

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2. Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce by Fat Free Vegan

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3. Vegan Cheese Sauce by Contentedness Cooking

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4. Nut-Free Vegan Nacho Cheese Slices by Vegan Richa

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5.  “Cheezy” Cashew Dip by Jazzy Vegetarian

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6. Sharp White Cheese Sauce by Veggies Don’t Bite

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7. 6 Ingredient Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce by Veganosity

cheese-6-ingredient8. Pistachio-Crusted Cheese Ball by Jessica in the Kitchen

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9. Veggie Cream Cheese Spread by Veggie Inspired

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10. Spicy Vegan Almond Cheese Spread by Vegan Chickpea

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11. Cheesy Smoky Butternut Squash Pasta from The Vegiterranean Diet via The Blender Babes

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12. Vegan Queso Fundido by Veganosity

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13. 2 Vegan Parmesan Substitutes: Brazil Nut Parmesan and Cheesy Sprinkle by Dreena Burton

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14. Walnut and Herb Vegan Cheese by Green Evi

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15. Jalapeno Cashew Cheese Spread by Cadry’s Kitchen

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16. Sundried Tomato Cashew Cheese by Loving It Vegan

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17. Vegan Cheese Quesadillas by Contentedness Cooking

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18. Ultimate “Cheese” Sauce by Veggies Don’t Bite

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19. Vegveeta Dip by Dreena Burton

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20. Roasted Garlic Cheese Fritters by Contentedness Cooking

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20 Plant-Based Experts’ Favorite Recipes

Delicious Nutritious Recipe Roundup

If you haven’t heard about Lighter yet, here is your chance to get an exclusive taste of their deliciousness! A powerful tool designed to help the world eat better, Lighter offers insanely useful grocery lists and flexible weekly menus based on the recommendations of plant-based leaders. To follow my eating recommendations – customized for you – visit my Lighter profile.

This recipe roundup features favorites of experts in the plant-based world, from physicians and dietitians to athletes and food bloggers, and offers a super sampling of what Lighter is all about.

1. Dr. Michael Greger’s Super Salad with Golden Turmeric Dressing

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2. Dr. Neal Barnard’s Tabbouleh

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3. My Green Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing and BBQ Tofu Wings

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4. Micaela Karlsen’s Salad Nicoise

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5. Kathy Pollard’s Potato Leek Soup

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6. Dr. Michael Greger’s Go-To Quickie Tacos

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7. My Hearty Nachos

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8. Marco Borges’ Moroccan Lentils with Sweet Potato (*Omit Oil*)

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9. David Carter’s Classic Crunchy Lentil Tacos (*Omit Oil*)

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10. My Japanoodles and Noritos

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11. Dr. Michael Greger’s Portobello Steaks With Mashed Cauliflower

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12. Christy Morgans’ Zucchini Noodles with Chunky ‘Meat’ Sauce

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13. My Holy Kale with Herbed Tahini Dressing

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14. Dr. Joel Kahn’s Tamale Pie

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15. Kayli Dice’s Yamadillas

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16. Matt Ruscigno’s Easy Spanish Rice & Black Bean Burrito

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17. My Fiesta Fantastica

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18. Dr. Michael Greger’s Collard-Ritos

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19. Kayli Dice’s Portobello Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Cream

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20. My Lentil Chili

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For more recipes, profiles, meal planning strategies and then some, visit Lighter.

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It Doesn’t Get Easier Than These 50 Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Less

In this previous post filled with meal plans and hundreds of wholesome recipes, there leaves no question that there are infinite delectable dish options on a plant-based diet. The other crucial part of this lifestyle is that eating this way does not have to be challenging. At all. In fact, it can be super simple. With a sprinkle of creativity and a twist of courage, you can whip up a meal that is healthy, delicious, quick, low in cost, and (yes!) made with five ingredients or less!

Here are 50 – yes 50 (!) – oil-free, sugar-free, whole food, plant-based recipes that can be made with five or fewer ingredients from breakfast through dessert:

***Note: I did not count herbs, spices, or other seasonings in this roundup because those are optional and the easiest addition to anything, as it is just a dash or sprinkle here or there. I also excluded other optional ingredients or garnishes in the “five” for a few of these because they were too good not to be included and still just as simple as the rest…

1. Chocolate Crispy Fruit Squares from The Vegiterranean DietVegiterranean Crispy Fruit Squares_2

2. Green Chia Pudding by Veggies Save the Day

3. 3-Ingredient Vegan Pancakes by Green Evi

4. Easy Oil-Free Granola by Feasting on Fruit

5. BLT Savory Oatmeal (*Omit Oil*) by The Mostly Vegan

6. Instant Pot Buckwheat Porridge by Veggie Primer

5-ingredient-savory-oatmeal7. Raw Peanut Butter and Jelly Collard Wrap by Lauren Vacula

8. Glamping: Easy Power Muesli by Champagne Tastes

9. Perfect Pumpkin Pudding by Garden Fresh Foodie

10. Sweet Potato Toast by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (*Top with oil-free hummus, mashed avocado, smashed banana, or nut butter*)

11. Lemon Vanilla Bean Rawnola by Feasting on Fruit

5-ingredient-carrot-soup12. Easy Vegan Carrot Soup by Contentedness Cooking

13. Kachumber Salad by Vegan Richa

14. 5-Minute Lentil Tomato Salad by The Garden Grazer

15. Basil Mustard Salad by Eating Vibrantly

16. Detox Broccoli Soup by Contentedness Cooking

5-ingredient-avocado-mash17. Chickpea Avocado Mash with Lemon by The Garden Grazer

18. Tuna-Less Tuna Salad by Rouxbe Online Professional Plant-Based Cooking School 

19. Warm Asian Bok Choy and Mushroom Salad by Carob Cherub

20. Creamy Tomato, Basil, & Rice Soup by Sprinkles & Saturdays

21. Simple Spaghetti Squash by VegAnnie

5-ingredient-thai-green-curry-meatballs22. Thai Green Curry Meatballs by Contentedness Cooking

23. Hummus Tortilla Pizzas by Dreena Burton

24. “Hungry Guy” Burgers by Jazzy Vegetarian

25. Quick Avocado Pasta by Green Evi

26. Crispy Baked Potato Wedges by Carob Cherub

5-ingredient-portobello-fries27. Oil-Free Baked Portobello Fries by Fat-Free Vegan

28. Smoky Spiraled Sweet Potato Fries by Strength & Sunshine

29. Perfectly Crispy Baked Tofu by VegAnnie

30. White Bean Artichoke Burgers by A Virtual Vegan

31. Tofu Sofritas by Rouxbe Online Professional Plant-Based Cooking School 

5-ingredient-rainbow-collard32. Rainbow Collard Wraps by Phruitful Dish

33. Spicy “Refried” Lentil Dip by Veggies Don’t Bite

34. Frijoles de Cabo by Fried Dandelions

35. Yellow Split Pea Dip (Greek Fava) by Veggies Don’t Bite

36. Jalapeño Hummus by My Plant-Based Family

37. Crock Pot Potato Soup…A Bowl Full of Comfort by My Plant-Based Family

Bowls of Red Lentil Ragu and Fresh Pesto Zoodles38. Blueberry Balsamic Mint Cauliflower Steaks by Athletic Avocado

39. Red Lentil Ragu with Zucchini and Fresh Basil by Garden Fresh Foodie

40. Oil-Free Vegan Avocado Pesto by Glue & Glitter

41. Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup by Sweets and Greens

42. Gluten-Free Baked Oat Bread from The Vegiterranean Diet

5-ingredient-truffles43. 2-Ingredient Blueberry Ice Cream by Vegan Heaven

44. Mango Coconut Ladoo by Vegan Richa

45. Baked Apples in Parchment by Jazzy Vegetarian

46. 5-Minute, 5-Ingredient Chocolate Gelato by Dreena Burton

47. Maple-Raisin-Date Truffles by Jazzy Vegetarian

5-ingredient-choc-ice-cream48. Mint Chip Brownie Homemade Lara Bars by Feasting on Fruit

49. Vegan Coconut Panna Cotta by Green Evi

50. 4-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream by The Vegan 8

 

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Vegiterranean Baked Oat Bread (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free)

Being gluten-free for many, many years, I find it almost torturous to witness people joyfully jumping into a basket of bread at IMG_3649-e1471754349458dinner, bundling up with a hearty sandwich for lunch, or just opting for a comforting breakfast of warm, crispy toast. I explored commercial gluten-free bread options, but many of them were not feasible, as they were either not vegan or the rest contained oils and/or other additives.

Thus, I was eager to find an easy, DIY version that meets all of my requirements so I could keep it on hand at home as a staple. When I was writing The Vegiterranean Diet and developing its recipe collection, I found the perfect excuse to develop my ideal recipe. And that is when this Baked Oat Bread was born…

Baked Oat Bread Recipe

Eating Vegiterranean would be incomplete without a staple whole grain bread to add to a meal. Enjoy this gluten-free, soft, and sentimental pure recipe guilt-free. Baking bread is the ultimate in science meeting art, so follow the directions carefully, ensure the yeast is fresh, and that you begin preparation several hours ahead of mealtime.

IMG_3648-e1471753407331Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 cups warm (not hot) water

3 1/2 cups oat flour

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons hemp, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, maple syrup, and warm water. Stir gently with your fingers, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until bubbles rise to the top, approximately 10 minutes.

2. Once the yeast become active, pour in oat flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring well. Add salt and stir until well combined. Cover with plastic and set aside in a dry, warm area and allow to sit for at least 90 minutes.

3. When dough appears puffy, and as risen, push it down, using the plastic wrap (it is very sticky) and cover again.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Transfer dough to a silicon loaf pan and shape evenly throughout. You can sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of seeds, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes or until bread appears lightly brown on edges. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

 

 

 

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A Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets

I am thrilled to announce that my article, A Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets, was just published in Kaiser Permanente’s summer issue of their medical journal, The Permanente Journal.

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Kaiser is leading the way in preventive medicine, increasingly incorporating plant-based nutrition on the front lines with their patients and employees. This guide was designed as a way to provide healthcare practitioners with the information about the benefits of eating plant-based diets, the details of the nutrition, and methods of implementing these ideas into their patient care plan. Please feel free to print this out as material to offer your own healthcare providers, friends, family, and colleagues if they have questions about your diet. Or use it as a reference for yourself. My goal is to make plant-based nutrition as accessible and easy as possible for everyone, which is why I am excited to offer this necessary new tool.

Here is the link to the online version: http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/…/2016/s…/6192-diet.html Print versions are also available for purchase here.

 

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What Vegans Eat…Sample Meal Plans Made Simple + Hundreds of Recipes

Eating vegan can absolutely be easy, affordable, and most definitely delicious. On the gradient between super simple and grandly gourmet, there is a ton of wiggle room to make eating plants an everyday, enjoyable experience for everyone. You definitely aren’t limited to munching on lettuce and carrot sticks all day because there is a universe of possibility out there.

what vegans actually eat

Because there are innumerable benefits (and even more) of a vegan diet for humans, our planet, and the billions of animals that can be saved annually, it is an extraordinary investment to accept the learning curve necessitated by facing up to the process of redefining your plate. Most of us were raised eating a standard western diet. That is how we were taught to prepare food and how we simply look at our food. Thus, taking meat out of the center of the dish and reworking the culinary repertoire (or meal ordering know-how) you have hardwired in your brain from years of experience requires a reset. I liken it to learning a new language. You begin by trying out a few new ingredients such as nutritional yeast or quinoa (as in learning the fist few words on a new language). Then you try some recipes out (like learning some phrases). Then you start connecting those meals and stringing them into days (initiating some conversational sentences). Before you know it, with plenty of practice under your belt, you become fluent in how to eat a plant-based diet.

Flexibility is key in making the transition simple. Allow yourself to experiment with an open mind. Explore and find recipes online, via friends and family, or in books and bookmark the ones you love. I print or write out my favorites and collect them in my cookbook cabinet in my kitchen so they are always there for me to refer to when I need some inspiration.

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Aim to follow the Plant-Based Food Guide Pyramid and Plate, emphasizing The 6 Daily 3’s, and pick your preferences. Mix and match any of your favorite foods that fit into your lifestyle.

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Here are hundreds of delicious, healthful, simple, creative, and absolutely practical meals you can use to build your repertoire:

Breakfast Options:

What vegans eat via The Vegan RD via UnCruel EatsLunch and Dinner Options:

What vegans eat_Vegan Sidekick

Snack and Dessert Options:

  • Hummus with crudite, whole grain crackers, whole grain bread, corn thins, rice cakes, whole grain tortillas, nori paper, rice paper
  • Air-popped popcorn with optional spices and nutritional yeast
  • Fresh fruit
  • Trail mix with your favorite combination of nuts, seeds, and fruits
  • Baked potato, sweet potato, or yam
  • Seaweed snacks
  • Steamed edamame
  • 25 Savory Snacks
  • 40 Whole Food (Sugar-Free, Oil-Free) Vegan Delicious Desserts

And this is only a small sampling….what is YOUR favorite meal plan or meal planning tip?

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30 Bountiful Breakfast Recipes Worth Waking Up For

No meal carries more controversy than breakfast. Skip it or prioritize it? Breakfast as a king or light and breezy? Grain-free or a hearty bowl? Smoothies and juices detoxifying or harmful? With so many questions, this one simple meal can be confusing. Well, what if you threw all the rules out the door and brought …

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