Last week, I decided to go vegetarian and dairy free. I attempted a week of being plant based a few years ago when I lived in London and by day five I was lacking energy and gave in! However, this time it certainly wasn’t as hard as the last. To be honest I barely thought about it and found the exercise fairly enjoyable… and delicious!
Below are a few things that I did to help with the whole process. These little tips are for those of you who may be thinking of adopting a more plant-based diet.
1 –PLAN– Plan your meals for your week ahead. It is super important to eat a balanced diet to make sure you are getting in your daily macro (carbs, proteins, fats and fiber) & micro (vitamins & minerals) requirements. By planning ahead you can make sure you have all the ingredients for a balanced meal each day. Do your research, plan some delicious recipes and make sure to do your food shop for the week. I also believe meal prep really helped me this time round. On the Sunday prior to starting I made some of my delicious homemade hummus, I also cooked up a huge batch of quinoa, roasted some veg and made a large salad for the week!
2 – EDUCATEyourself! You can’t just eat leafy greens and expect to stay full, energized and satisfied! You need to make sure you’re getting enough plant based protein into your diet – think edamame beans, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, tempeh, tofu, almonds and walnuts etc! I have a full article on my favourite plant based proteins, so be sure to go check it out. Don’t forget to pump up your iron and vitamin D levels . Did you know if you eat something high in vitamin C whilst consuming ingredients with iron – the vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron! So, try to pair ingredients high in iron and vitamin C (beans and tomato, tofu and broccoli). Make sure you do your homework prior!
3 – RAINBOW– Eat a rainbow of vegetables and everything in between like your whole grains, legumes and heart healthy fats. Don’t focus on what you can’t have, instead focus on what you can have. Add lots of variety into your diet and experiment with things you have never cooked with. I’ve always loved tempeh but never knew how to cook with it up until last week. It ended up being so tasty that it will now be a staple in my weekly diet! I urge you to do the same – experiment with foods you’ve never tried before and eat the rainbow!
4 – SPICE up your life! Avoid eating a bland meal by adding a variety of herbs and spices into your dish. There are so many flavour combinations you can work with to make each meal pack a punch. Choose your spices by deciding on a cuisine – you can turn your dish into an Indian, Italian or even Moroccan feast simply by choosing specific herbs and spices to make your dish interesting and delicious. Herbs and spices really are an easy, healthy and cheap way to add a flavour to your meals all whilst adding a long list of health benefits to them too.
5 – RELAX– Forgive yourself if you slip up, it’s really not the end of the world! Have fun with it, get creative in the kitchen and get your family members involved – even if it’s just for one meal.
So now for the big question – will I continue to eat a plant-based diet?
I really enjoyed the variety of foods and the delicious recipes I created for this challenge, I also felt great throughout the week. I truly believe that everyone can benefit from eating more fruit, vegetables and plant-based foods. Moving forward I think I will try my best to maintain a plant-based diet at-least 70% of the time for various reasons (climate change, pollution, water supplies, deforestation etc) which I don’t want to delve into too much as I want to keep this light article light hearted with no biased opinions!
I really hope you enjoyed this article and will try your best to eat a few plant-based, wholesome meals a week!
Let me know how you get on and whether you found this article helpful.