What do you eat on a plant based diet, anyway?

This seems to be a popular question, so I thought I’d give it a go, with the caveat that I’m new at this and I’m not a registered dietitian, so for the love of your own health, people, don’t take this as advice. Rather, it’s intended as an illustration that I’m not subsisting off of salad.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal with smartbalance (it’s like butter, but plant based), cinnamon and almond butter; banana; COFFEE.

Cereal with almond milk; blueberry smoothie; COFFEE

Tangerine, protein bar, almond milk, COFFEE (always coffee in the morning. always).

Lunch:

Sauteed kale with mushrooms and pecans; quinoa; more almond milk

Bean and corn soup with spinach and tomatoes; tea

Avocado, walnut, hummus & tomato sandwich (I’m also fond of apple and almond butter as a sandwich combo)

Roast sweet potatoes; butternut squash soup

Supper:

Pasta (it’s quinoa based) with tomato basil sauce and mushrooms

Spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce on top! Or pesto! and yes, a salad.

Roast root veggies and a side of leafy greens

Homemade pizza with homemade pesto, portabellos and pine nuts (this is the BEST)

Quinoa with stir fried veggies, topped with soy sauce

Snacks:

I’m big on fresh fruit, dried fruit, hummus on veggies, guacamole and chips, and nuts. I have jars and jars of pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, almonds and pistachios in my kitchen, and they’re my go-to snack and favorite source of fats and proteins. They’re also kind of pricey, so pro tip: buy them in bulk at Whole Foods or another market with bulk foods. Keep them in mason jars for cheap easy storage that will keep them fresh longer.

Desserts:

It turns out that dark chocolate is often vegan, and very easy to find, in my neck of the woods. I have a stash of it hidden in our cupboard where the non-vegan husband won’t find it (he can fend for himself when it comes to dessert, for the time being). So far I’m still taking a break from refined sugar, but on the day that I just need chocolate, it will be there waiting for me.

Yesterday was my one meal out to eat this week, and I went to brunch with friends. Remember, I’m only adhering to a plants-only diet at home – out and about, I’m still eating some animal products, until I get the hang of this new way of eating. I’m easing my way into it. So I had an omelette, with brie, and I loved it – but no more than the stuff I’ve been eating at home. How weird is that? All week I waited for cheese (and eggs. and butter. The lacto-ovo trifecta!), and it turns out that if you eat enough kale, you can grow to like it better than cheese. I think it has something to do with the way I feel after the last six days – I feel really good, and happy.

Also – I think I’m keeping honey, y’all. It turns out I miss it the most (every night while I drink my tea, and don’t even talk to me about stevia as if it’s the same, because no.it.is.not), and it’s not like I consume it to excess, so…I think honey stays. Apparently, this is a huge debate among vegans. I’m interested in improving my health and the state of the planet, not hard line adherence to a set of principles outside my own. So I’m going to stick with the term “(mostly) plant based diet” and avoid labeling myself vegan for the time being, because I don’t want to mislead anyone about how far I’m taking this. For the record, on the day that I think it no longer serves my health or the planet’s, I’m going to try something else. Remember: I’ve only committed through January. When it comes to the end of the month, I’m going to reevaluate and decide whether or not to keep going.

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November’s Resolution: Minified Meals

Last week I got so hungry on my way home from work that I popped into the store (just to buy coffee, I swear!) and somehow made it back to my car with a bag of cashews and a chocolate bar. I ate them both. Needless to say, I wasn’t hungry for dinner.

There will always be room in my life for both cashews and chocolate (and coffee, for that matter). But they’re not exactly dinner material. My problem is that I’m in too much of a hurry to make a real meal some nights, so I wind up eating cheese. Yes, cheese. This month, that changes.

We’ve already covered habit change (devote at least a month to a single new habit, make it public, document it somehow), so here’s the plan: I’m going to make an honest effort to eat three real meals a day, every day (cashews or cheese is not, by the standards of this endeavor, a real meal). Since dinner is my downfall, I’m going to try out a bunch of quick (less than 10 minutes), easy vegetarian dinners that are also nutritious. I’m going to post them on the blog, with comments about whether they were good, bland, harder than I expected…you get the idea.

Suggestions are welcome! I’m definitely going to try out some of the dinners from over at The Stone Soup, since her whole schtick is 5 ingredient, 10 minute meals, but I’m more than happy to hear about your ideas as well! Nevermind. Stone Soup appears to be on a paleo kick, which I’m sure is awesome…if you’re a carnivore. I’m not, so I think I’ll hunt elsewhere for my simple vegetarian recipes…anybody got a good vegetarian site to recommend?

Happy eating, friends!