Top tips for trying a Plant based diet.
I decided to eat a vegan diet for January. I don't normally go for the new year/new me type thing, and don't worry this is not a preaching post, but the culmination of everything this year has left me really needing and wanting a change
I was quite frankly eating badly, especially in the evenings, and sleeping terribly which topped with the pandemic Christmas farce just sent me into an anxiety spiral, and generally left me feeling a bit....meh. Something had to change and I realised that looking after myself should be priority. The basics of what I was actually feeding myself, was probably a pretty good place to start.
You can’t google a vegan recipe without seeing all the heralded benefits to the environment that a plant based diet creates. I already come at this from a fairly flexible diet, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals but we also enjoy a roast chicken. I try to be conscious to keep everything in moderation, but I had really let that slip for most of autumn, the cheese and chocolate consumption had reached an all time high.
Two weeks in to a vegan diet, I'm surprised at just how different I feel. I think, rather than being due to eating less meat and dairy, this has prompted a much needed change in my mind set to food. For too long it has just been something I grabbed to sustain me whilst running around after the kids or on the commute, a piece of toast here, a random kids fish finger there, skipping breakfast nearly always.... in hindsight non of which is conducive to feeling good.
Having to stop and actually consider what I could eat made me realise how badly I had been eating before. Whilst I don't think I will be turning to a plant based lifestyle forever I definitely want to keep the habits of being a little more mindful of what I eat. I could definitely be 80% plant based, but I dont think I could pass up on an oozy camembert forever more, For once I do actually feel fuelled by good food and I definitely want to keep that up!
I will be adding some favorites recipes to the blog this week. Satisfying, filling and most importantly to all parents out there, 15 mins to make (tops) and can be eaten with one hand, as we all know a one handed dinner shovel is a well practised parental art!
Top tips for trying a plant based diet
1. Prep your shopping! Plan your meals to help get in the swing of things and make sure you have some ingredients in the cupboard/fridge to help you make tasty exciting dinners. There is nothing worse than getting hungry and realising you don’t have anything you can eat. It also helped to plan ahead so we weren't making two different dinners a night.
2. Cashew nuts will be your new best friend. Who knew the cashew nut was so versatile! Blended (in a high powered blender) this nut becomes the perfect creamy sauce replacement for puddings, savory dinners, pasta and dips! Buy in bulk from a local wholefoods store or online to save some money (because lets face it.... we all bought one too many twisty candles this Xmas and we don't need Veganuary to be a expensive extravaganza!)
3. Don’t skip breakfast! I know this is the oldest rule in the book but having a good breakfast really does set you up for the day! Overnight oats and porridge have become total staples. Good old fashioned breakfast cereal (although watch the sugar content, as no one wants a sugar crash at 10am) is also great as its often fortified so helps you keep up your iron and B12, whilst eating less meat and dairy.
4. Make the most of leftovers! If you cook a little extra each night - you have a delicious, filling lunch the next day. We have been mindful to use up food before we do each shop and actually have been eating our leftovers for lunch each day. All our kitchen reusables have become absolute essentials! See our favorites here.
5. Don't approach this as a diet, or as a restriction. I found recipes that looked genuinely nice, and have enjoyed the food I have been eating. Just thinking outside the box a little made me realise a whole new realm of food and recipes I hadn't thought of before. Its been easier to eat plant based than I thought and that is probably what surprised me the most. It wont be for everyone but I think you could surprise yourself if you tried eating plant based one day a week.