I have recently had some health concerns that have had me thinking about how my diet may be affecting my health. I was a vegetarian for years when I was younger. I felt better then and managing my weight was easier. Some of that had to do with my age, but thinking about what I ate made it easier for me to make better lifestyle choices overall.
A few months ago, I started making the switch to a vegetarian diet and in the last few weeks making strides toward a plant based or vegan diet. This has been an enormous challenge, but I am taking the steps necessary to change the staples in my diet to ones that are plant based instead of diary based. I am lactose intolerant, so this has always been a goal, but giving up cheese and cream in my coffee is hard.
I think this is a movement in itself these days. I know lots of people trying to get healthier and making life changes to get their families on the right path earlier in life. After doing research on what I should focus on for my health, I feel that eliminating meat and diary from my diet is the right decision as long as I take the time to be sure my diet is balanced and really helping me to be healthier. Ideally, this will set a good example for my children and their eating habits. I don’t want them to struggle with their weight or health the way that I have and I think that instilling better habits and ideas about food now will make it easier for them in the long run.
Some people I have shared this decision with have been very supportive, but many have had this reaction- “No meat? No dairy? Like, no cheese? What do you eat then?”
So, I thought that I would share what my new staples are. Most of these foods have always been part of my life, just in smaller portions. It hasn’t been toooo bad, but I do miss regular creamer in my coffee!
My new vegan staples:
- Fruits and veggies (fresh, frozen and canned)
- Almonds and other nuts
- Peanut and other nut butters
- Almond milk
- Soy coffee creamer
- Coconut milk yogurt
- Dark roast coffee ( much nicer flavor without the bitterness – makes the switch easier)
- Salsa and tomato sauce/paste
- Pita bread, Naan and Tortillas
- Earths Balance Buttery Spread (delicious and dairy free!)
- Whole wheat pasta
- Garden burgers and meat replacements
- Boca crumbles
I do enjoy honey despite it not being a “plant based” food. If you wanted to avoid that as well Agave Nectar is just as good. I use it in recipes all the time.
I do cheat a little. We have had a ton of events in the last month or so that included dinners prepared by a caterer. I did my best to stick with vegetables and pastas, but I know that those veggies were cooked in butter and there were often creamy sauces on things. But this is not an ethical issue with consuming animal products; it’s about making better choices for my health. I cheat here and there because of situational circumstances, it’s still better than not making the change.
If you are a sandwhich person or need ideas for a quick meal, my favorite go-to meal is Veggie and Hummus on Pita or Naan. Even a wrap is good.
- Spread a thick layer of hummus (whatever flavor you like) onto your choice of bread.
- Chop cucumbers, peppers, onion, tomato and lettuce to preferred size.
- Layer in top of the hummus and fold in half
If you take a look at my other blog, I post menu plans weekly and they have been Vegetarian and Vegan for quite some time. If you are curious about what I am eating or what you could replace a meal with, please check it out! I hate to cook, so these recipes are NOT difficult – I promise that 🙂