Transitioning to a Plant-Based Lifestyle Helpful Tips & Everyday Recipes
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHAT IS PLANT BASED?
IS PLANT BASED RIGHT FOR YOU?
10 STEPS TO PLANT-BASED 10 Tools you can use to help make the transition
HELPFUL HINTS Some things to be aware of when starting a plantbased diet
MYTH-BUSTER 5 Myths about plant-based nutrition
TIPS & TOOLS 4 Simple tips to make the transition easier
20 LET’S GET COOKING Plant Based Recipe Book (pgs 24 – 25) Some recipes from the Amrita Team
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
THE CONCEPT OF PLANT-BASED The idea of a plant based lifestyle has been gaining greater precedence in recent years. However, this ideology is one that has been with us for centuries. A quote by the father of modern medicine Hippocrates during the Age of Pericles is “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Through
transitioning, many grow a better and healthier view on the food that they eat as well as how to treat the body. It becomes clear that the food eaten is its fuel. Whether a business owner or mother, proper fuel for the day can set you up for success. This thought process has been recognized by more and more people, as they have acknowledged it as a healthier way of life. Celebrities, public figures, politicians, and dieticians alike have openly supported and adopted the plant-based vegan lifestyle. With this buzz, it has many asking, “what is it?” and “why do I need it?”
What is plant-based?
What is plant-based?
What exactly is a
PLANT-BASED lifestyle? A plant based lifestyle is just that. It is a way of daily life that aims at focusing all or a majority of the foods eaten on the delicious fruits and vegetables that are naturally found on our planet. Many of the other lifestyles that people most commonly follow fall under the plant-based umbrella, such as those who eat raw, vegetarian, vegan or raw vegan. Some plant-based eaters consume meat as well, whether they consider themselves pescatarian or flexitarian eaters. The purpose of this lifestyle is to prioritize the naturally growing fruits and vegetables in our meals as opposed to meat, and if possible, doing so with little to none processed or GMO foods. As best put by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, â€œA plant-based diet is not an all-or-nothing program, but a way of life that is tailored to each individualâ€?. 8
Who would benefit from a plant-based diet?
Who Would Benefit from a
PLANT-BASED lifestyle? The reasons behind transitioning to a plant based lifestyle varies for each individual that adopts it. However, there are plenty of benefits that many enjoy during their
transitioning period and beyond. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, a plant-based nutrition may help those with struggling with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, as well as those concerned with using food as medicine and add years on their lives2, which happen to be the five major health topics that people correlate a plant based lifestyle with. For those who struggle with obesity, a plant based lifestyle has been shown to help better control weight as opposed to one that includes greater amounts of meat. In Oxford Universityâ€™s five year study European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition they collaborated with the International Journal of obesity to report that a diet with little to no meat directly correlates to less weight gain throughout the course of a year. In this study those who consumed meat had a much higher BMI as opposed to those who do not3. This is something Iâ€™ve personally experienced and can attest when I became a vegetarian. Many people have noticed a drop in weight with the exclusion of meat in their lives.
A plant-based lifestyle is a great option for those who live with the difficulties of diabetes. The NBCI found that when a diet is based on low fat vegan foods, it not only can improve the sensitivity that some may have to insulin but also decrease the resistance to insulin as well 4. This, in turn, would make it easier for the body to regulate glucose that it intakes.
Who would benefit from a plant-based diet?
The foods associated with this lifestyle are high in fiber and fueled with healthy fats the body and heart can thrive off of. Akin to this issue, high blood pressure is a concern for many as well, and a vegetarian lifestyle may be the remedy. The NBCI has also stated that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee found a relationship between vegetarians and high blood pressure. In this case, those following a vegetarian nutrition have had lower systolic (top number,
pressure during beats) and diastolic (bottom number, pressure at rest) blood pressure6. In regards to “adding years to the clock”, the National Institutes of Health conducted a study where they found that over a six year period, those on a plant based nutrition were 12% less likely pass away from causes that stem from a non-plant based lifestyle7. This also correlates with the youthful appearance many older plant-based eaters have and maintain. Overall, truly caring about what goes on the inside of your body will later show on the outside.
The non-specific benefits of a plant-based way of life includes better energy and focus for the mind and the body. Many plant-based followers have found greater amounts of energy throughout the day without the use of sodas or energy drinks. The body transforms to become more agile and less sluggish, whereas the mind is much clearer and can better focus on tasks throughout the day. Personally, I’ve noticed a significant decrease in chronic issues that couldn’t be solved with help of my doctor. Eating plant-based has freed me from a being constantly tired regardless of sleep, regular headaches/migraines and stomach or body cramps.
The Amrita Health Foods blog offers great information for plant based eaters. Our blog offers inspiration from athletes, experts, various recipes, and detailed information on different super foods that can take any nutrition lifestyle to the next level in a delicious way!
LET’S GET STARTED!
10 Ways to Transition to Eating Plant Based
GET INSPIRED: Reading success stories of others who have been in your shoes not only makes you feel as part of a greater community, but can also give insight and perspective of your journey, regardless of where you’re at. Be sure to do your reading as well. There are many of blogs and books to read that can help get you through this transitioning period with tips and stories. Rich Roll has been deemed as “the world’s fittest man”, and his books and blogs provide rich and valuable information and inspiration! Never forget the timeless saying “there’s strength in numbers”. It always helps to take on new journeys like this with friends and/or family members. You can also reach out to others who are plant based along the process via meetups.
WRITE IT OUT: Make a list of all your favorite foods and meals. It’s fine if the list includes some with meat. When you’re done, circle the ones that go in hand with the new meal choices you want to adopt, whether it be vegetarian or vegan. You’ll be shocked at how many foods you already eat without feeling the need for meat and/or dairy, such as an easy substitution with tofu.
DON’T PUSH THE BANK: Meat is one of the most expensive items in the grocery stores. Eliminating them can help you to not just save money, but feel fuller and more energized at a major discount. A great resource is HappyCow.net. This site provides their own VegiMaps ™, which is a way to research restaurants or local stores that are vegetarian, vegan, or veggie friendly. As mentioned above, buying produce from a local farmer’s market and eating foods that are in season as well are also cost efficient.
COOK MORE OFTEN: It’s hard to figure out if meals at your favorite restaurant are truly vegan or vegetarian. The simple way to avoid this is to cook a bit more at home. This not only helps to avoid a setback but can help you become more comfortable with cooking without meat. If cooking happens to be an area that overwhelms you, there are many companies that will deliver recipes and the accompanying ingredients to your door for you to cook and follow on your own. In addition to being extremely convenient, many offer vegetarian or vegan options. Plated is an amazing option, regardless of your plant based lifestyle.
REDUCE MEAT IN INCREMENTS: Slow and steady wins the race. Start out with one plant-based meal a day, then try introducing more overtime. Eventually, you can try to go one week without red meat, continue for two weeks, the next remove poultry as well, two more weeks, no fish or dairy. Gradually changing old habits makes it feel less restrictive.
TRY OUT NEW RECIPES WITHOUT MEAT: Transitioning with changes to your favorite meals right away can sometimes make you feel unsatisfied if you’re not yet accustomed to the new lifestyle. Try a brand new and exciting recipe that works for you to avoid that feeling.
TWEAK YOUR CRAVINGS: You shouldn’t feel deprived or restricted during this process, and although many cravings can be unhealthy you should learn to tweak them to make them work for you. For example, if you’ve been craving a burger that day, try out a new veggie burger, either from a recipe or a local vegetarian restaurant.
WHEN IN DOUBT, FLEX IT OUT: A great way to adopt a healthier, meat-free lifestyle if you’ve struggled is the Flexitarian option. In a nutshell, instead of being vegetarian or vegan every single day, you can adopt this lifestyle part-time. This can help ease the stress with social situations and still be a great improvement on your current nutrition.
SOY ISN’T THE ONLY OPTION: As you get more comfortable to this new way of life, remember that you always have options. Whether you want a glass of milk with your breakfast or have a craving for a burger you don’t have to limit yourself to soy. There’s almond, coconut, or cashew milk options, and a soya burger can be very delicious.
TRY THE 21 DAY VEGAN CHALLENGE: If this seems like a stretch, alter it for yourself. Maybe only 7 days or two weeks is enough, but remember, gradual steps can help set you up for a lifetime of success. This is also a great way to challenge yourself if you want to further progress with your plant based way of life.
Some things to be aware of when starting a
PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE As with many good changes in life, there will always be aspects that one should look after and pay great attention to. The benefits of a plant-based nutrition are many, but there are also things to look out for to ensure that you can achieve them allâ€Ś.
VITAMIN B12: For one, make sure that you are getting enough of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 not only helps the metabolism work at its optimum speed but also forms red blood cells and helps the body maintain its central nervous system. If youâ€™re a flexitarian this may be less of a worry for you, as this necessary vitamin is found more often in animal meats. When the body lacks this vitamin it can cause anemia, loss of balance, and a constant numbness in the extremities. If you are plant-based, consult with your doctor about supplement options. Dairy offers B12, and nondairy milk such as almond, soy, or coconut milks can all be found with fortified versions that include it. 15
OVER-EATING:. Over-eating is a major issue that many are faced with during their transition to eating plant based, myself included. Meats are naturally very calorie dense as opposed to vegetables. For this reason, a meal that includes meat can make one feel fuller rather than one that excludes it. Many new plant based eaters struggle with finding fruit and vegetables that are just as dense, which leads to an excess of calories (namely from an excess of various carbs) to provide the same satisfied feeling. However, there are options to include within or alongside meals to give you that same full and satisfied feeling without having an excess of unnecessary and unhealthy calories. Avocado is a major one! Itâ€™s filled with not only a higher calorie count but also healthy fats that the body needs. Nuts are a great option as well. Many of the dark, leafy greens are also great to stay full and satisified. I love adding in chia seeds to salads, yogurt, and smoothies or juices as well to keep me full throughout the day and also increase the amount of fiber Iâ€™ve had
5 Biggest MYTHS about Plant Based Nutrition 1. You’ll only eat salads. This is something I hear even after having transitioned almost ten years ago. I love food, and my current lifestyle has made me respect and value it so much more. Salads are a great option for both omnivores and those who are plant based, and some can be so fulfilling you forget that it’s actually a salad. However, a plant based lifestyle offers such an immense amount of flexibility and options that I rarely eat them. (Below you’ll find a full day’s worth of recipes to try out that aren’t just variations of salad.) 2. Isn’t it expensive? A plant based lifestyle can be affordable on any budget. I always joke to my friends that the most simple and affordable vegan meal is rice and beans! As mentioned above in the “Top Ten Ways to Transition to Eating Plant Based”, meat and meat based products are sold at the highest amount, regardless of the supermarket or grocery store they’re purchased from. Buying fruits and vegetables locally, in bulk, and in season are three of the easiest ways to make this lifestyle as cost-efficient (and healthy) as can be. 3. But don’t you need to eat meat? Technically, we learn at a young age that the body needs water, food, clothing and shelter to survive. All food sources have a certain nutrient or benefit in them, and many fruits and vegetables can offer great amounts of these as a healthier option. Making sure that your body gets what it needs is most important. Meat, however, isn’t the only source for this. 4. You won’t get enough protein. This is one of the biggest misconceptions that are correlated with plant based lifestyle, and goes in hand with the above myth. There are plenty of plant based foods that aren’t meat with high protein. Although I find legumes and beans to be the easiest, dark leafy greens such as kale and even mushrooms are known to be high in protein as well. 5. It isn’t going to make a difference. Although there are plenty of articles that discuss how plant based eating is better for the planet, a short amount of time is all that’s needed for the body to begin to thank you for switching over to a plant based lifestyle as well. In the beginning of the article I mentioned how plant based eating can help with a few major health issues that many people feel plagued with. 17
TIPS & TRICKS 4 Simple Tips to Make the Transition Easier Buy in season and in bulk: Not only are buying fruits and veggies in season healthier, they are also more affordable. When produce are in season, they’re more readily available which in turn lowers the cost of them. Buying in bulk is also very economical, especially if it’s for fruits and veggies that you eat more of. Freeze produce that’s beginning to spoil: Fruits and vegetables can spoil rather quickly depending on how they’re stored and the environment they’re kept in. Whenever they are beginning to turn, chop them up and freeze them as opposed to tossing them away. They then can be used in smoothies to make later and help you in making the plant based lifestyle more affordable. This also helps you to prep your smoothies ahead of time. Fresh fruit is more affordable than ones that are sold frozen, and are therefore not processed as well. The classic strawberry banana is my favorite, but I also add in spinach and fresh orange juice for extra flavor and nutrients.
Invest in a blender: Smoothies are a fun, healthy, and delicious way to get in multiple servings of fruits and vegetables while also helping to keep you full. A blender of good quality can make a world of difference, and provide you with a great tasting, well blended smoothie. Many blenders today are also manufactured to double as a food processor to help with chopping, and some are created to also juice your produce. Whatever your needs, it’s a tool that can help you throughout transitioning and beyond. Our favorites include the Vitamix and Blendtec blenders! Both are amazing. Stocking your pantry well: A full meal isn’t necessary every time the stomach growls. Often times a good midday snack is enough to keep it at bay until it’s time for the next meal. Stocking the pantry with foods that will help get you through the day can set the path for success as well. Dried fruit and nuts are a great go-to and starting point!\
PLANT- BASED Recipes
BREAKFAST Apple and Spinach Creamy Green Smoothie Ingredients: ● 2 cups spinach, fresh ● 2 cups water ● 2 cup cut & cored apple ● 1 avocado ● 1 cup ice Directions: Just add all the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth. This pairs great with any of our bars to keep you full until lunch time.
LUNCH Vegan Lentil Soup Ingredients: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
2 tbsp. olive oil 1 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 inch fresh ginger, minced 2 tbsp. Thai red curry paste 1 10 oz can coconut milk 1 cup dried red lentils 2 cups water 1 zucchini, cut into half moons 1 10 oz can baby corn 1 4 oz can water chestnuts
Directions: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, and ginger until onions become transparent, about 4-5 minutes. Add curry paste and saute for a minute more. Add coconut milk and lentils and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine. Add zucchini, baby corn, and water chestnuts. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, adding remaining water as necessary. Serve over rice or quinoa. 21
DINNER Dinner Quinoa and Falafel Bowl with Tahini Tahini Ingredients: ● 4 cloves garlic ● 1/2 cup tahini ● 2 teaspoons white or yellow miso (I used GF white miso) ● Juice from one whole large orange ● Squeeze of fresh lemon juice ● Splash of apple cider vinegar ● 1 tablespoon agave ● 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil ● Splash of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos Salad Ingredients: ● 1 cup of cooked quinoa ● 1 cup of arugula ● half of chopped tomato
Falafel Ingredients: ● 5 cloves garlic ● 2 tablespoons cumin (I like a lot, you can always add less) ● Pinch of sea salt ● 2 tablespoons of olive oil ● Zest of 1 lemon ● Juice of 1 lemon ● 2 Medjool dates, pitted ● 1 small yellow onion ● 1 can of chickpeas or 2 cups of cooked chickpeas ● 1/2 cup of unsalted pistachios ● A bunch of cilantro ● A bunch of flat leaf parsley ● 1/4 of mint leafs
Directions: This recipe is super simple! Preheat the oven to 350, and place the quinoa on the stove to cook. While that is cooking combine all ingredient in the sauce together in a blender and then place in the fridge to cool. Then combine the garlic, lemon, cumin, salt, olive oil, dates and onion into the food processor. Once that is all mixed add in pistachio, cilantro, parsley and mint until the mixture is smooth. Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon portion out small balls on a baking sheet and let cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown! Assemble your salad and do not forget about your dressing in the fridge!
DESSERT Frosted Date Balls Date Ball Ingredients:
● 2 ½ cups of shredded carrots ● 1 cup of dates ● 1 cup shredded coconut ● 5 tbsp coconut flour ● 1 tbsp of fresh ginger ● 1 tsp cinnamon ● 1 tsp nutmeg ● 1 tsp cloves
● ● ● ●
1 cup of soaked cashews ⅓ cup of coconut oil 2 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Directions: Combine all the ingredients for the balls in a large bowl. Using your hands or food processor knead together the ingredients until that form an emulsified ball. Portion out smaller balls and place in the freezer while making the frosting. For the frosting combine all the ingredients into a blender or bullet. Dip or pour frosting over the bars and enjoy!
SNACK Dairy Free Yogurt Bowl Ingredients: ● 1/2 cup chopped Fresh Pineapple ● 1 cup plain full fat yogurt (I use coconut yogurt – if you are ok with a dairy yogurt, I would recommend a Greek yogurt) chilled ● 1/4 teaspoon Cumin Powder ● 1 teaspoon cane sugar (optional) or powdered Stevia ● 1 tablespoon finely chopped Coriander Leaves ● 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped Green Chill (optional) ● 2 teaspoons Pomegranate Seeds (adds color – but please use fresh) ● pinch of Salt Directions: Scoop your yogurt into a bowl and add cumin powder, sugar and salt, beat until smooth. Also add chopped green chili and chopped fresh pineapple pieces, mix well. Feel free to add in your other favorite fruits as well. Transfer it to individual serving bowls and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds. Serve and Enjoy! 23
Kitchen Staples: These are a couple of ingredients that I make sure are in my kitchen at all times. As long as these are available, I’m always able to whip up something delicious and healthy effortlessly. They’re easy to make work with other dishes or can great as snacks on their own! They’re separated into two main sections, foods that are dry and can be easily stored in air-tight containers to preserve freshness, and others that are
purchased fresh and stored in your refrigerator. This can serve as a great first step when grocery shopping but of course feel free to add in your favorites as well!
DRY ● Dates ● Onions ● Peanut (or Almond) Butter ● Legumes ● Red Kidney Beans ● Chickpeas ● Almonds (can also be stored in the refrigerator to last longer) ● Jasmine Rice ● Gluten Free Noodles ● Egg-free Noodles
FRESH ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
Celery Brussel sprouts Broccoli Spinach Romaine lettuce Apples Almond milk Coconut milk Lemons Strawberries Bananas
Resources to Help with your Transition
RECIPE BLOGS: ● Oh She Glows: http://ohsheglows.com/about/ ● Vegan Richa: http://www.veganricha.com/2012/01/aboutcontact.html ● 100 Days of Real Food: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/start-here/ ● Cookie and Kate: http://cookieandkate.com/about/
ATHLETES: ● Rich Roll: http://www.richroll.com/ ● No Meat Athlete: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/ ● The Iron You: http://www.theironyou.com/
SPEAKERS: ● ● ● ●
T. Colin Campbell: http://nutritionstudies.org/ Ingrid Newkirk: http://www.ingridnewkirk.com/ Neal Barnard: http://www.pcrm.org/nbBlog Gene Baur: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/living/
Written by the Nutrition Team at Amrita Health Foods, this guidebook provides information & advice about how one can make a smooth, steady a...
Published on Oct 27, 2015
Written by the Nutrition Team at Amrita Health Foods, this guidebook provides information & advice about how one can make a smooth, steady a...