I have been following a plant-based diet for 8 months. When people find out I don’t eat meat, eggs, dairy or fish the most common question I get asked is ‘so what DO you eat?’
I started my vegan journey eating mostly fruit but it turns out that I like fruit more than it likes me so I switched the focus of my diet to starches. Now my food centres around potatoes, rice, beans, corn, bread and vegetables. I still have fruit, just not as much. To give you an idea, here’s what I ate today.
After a sleep in (hey, its Saturday) and a big glass of water I had multigrain toast, peanut butter, banana, cinnamon and black coffee. I don’t drink coffee every day but I just felt like it today.
Sometimes I’ll have oats and fruit with almond milk or leftover dinner (like lentil curry and rice or mashed potatoes – whaaat?) or just an orange or something. I eat freely depending on how hungry I am and what I feel like. Because I eat plant-based mostly whole foods, I don’t worry too much about what I eat or when I eat it.
I spent the morning running errands (and drinking more water). For lunch I made a zesty green juice out of spinach, apples, ginger, cucumber, coriander, celery and lemon juice. I got the recipe from High Carb Hannah on YouTube.
Gosh they look beautiful don’t they? So fresh and vibrant.
I had half of the green juice for lunch with TWO helpings of homemade hashbrowns which I loaded up with capsicums and spring onions and served with sweet chilli sauce.
I made them in my sandwich press so I didn’t have to use any oil – yet another idea I got from High Carb Hannah. I generally try to avoid adding extra oil to my food as I find it lurks in a lot of foods anyway such as hummus and breads.
I was still a leeetle bit hungry so I cut up a sprouted grain tortilla, sprinkled it with lemon juice and salt, baked it in the oven and made chips which I scarfed down with a dollop of hummus sprinkled with paprika. And I drank more water.
The afternoon was spent in the garden painting my woodshed and then I did some housework. When that was finished I was pretty tired (and thirsty so I drank more water). I took a shower and then started dinner.
I was going to have pasta but I wasn’t that hungry so I sprinkled a corn cob with paprika and salt and roasted it in the oven. I love how the paprika makes my lips tingle when I eat it. I really enjoy the different textures and sensations that creative cooking offers. Anyway, I followed that up with an orange, the rest of the green juice and more water.
And that’s it folks.
But wait, what about protein?
The NZ Nutrition Foundation states that women between the ages of 19 and 70 should eat 45g of protein a day. Today’s food intake equaled 40.7g of protein. On Wednesday I had 72g (it was a big day for lentils and hummus) and on Thursday I had 55.6g. Over the week I averaged 44.8g of protein so rest assured people, I’m getting enough protein.
What I love about eating a plant-based diet
1. When I started eating this way I had to re-learn how to cook. And it wasn’t always wonderful. Some of the things I made tasted like, um, dirt, and I got distracted by vegan processed food. But now that I’m starting to get the hang of it I’ve discovered such a huge variety of interesting and amazing ingredients (yes, I’m looking at you, Nutritional Yeast). I’m eating foods I would never have considered before like flaxseeds and tahini. It’s such an exciting way to eat.
2. I get to eat comfort food…. all… the… time.
3. My taste preferences have changed. I used to have such a sweet tooth. I craved chocolate, cream, vanilla – all those unctuous, mellow, soft flavours. Now, I crave things like ginger, chilli and lemon. Oh and I just can’t get enough of oranges. I still like chocolate and vanilla occasionally, although I prefer medjool dates.
4. I feel great. I have so much more energy (probably because of all those carbs). I’ve pretty much stopped snacking between meals at work and I no longer experience the mid-afternoon energy slump.
5. My main motivation for doing this is simply because I do not want to eat animals. I love animals. Eating plant-based is in line with my values and that’s why it feels so good.
When you live true to your values, you’re happy!