“You can’t eat ______?!” This is a question I have become accustomed to in the past four to six months. When I was ovo-lacto vegetarian it was “You can’t eat fish?!” or “You can’t eat chicken?!” Now that I am eating a whole food plant-based diet, people are even more bewildered and horrified. Everyone seems to focus on what I can’t eat when there are so many things that I can eat. I can eat any fruits or vegetables that I want. I can eat any nuts and legumes that I want. Balsamic vinegar? The best salad dressing I have ever had. Quinoa? You better bet I will eat it. Avocado? Give me all of the avocados.
Don’t worry, I still eat all of my favorite foods, but they are no longer guilty pleasures. They are now just pleasures. This lifestyle has already restructured my way of thinking about food. Tacos are no longer filled with ground beef and covered in shredded cheese. Instead, they are over cauliflower rice and topped with salsa and avocados. If you still use the taco seasoning packets, you are missing out. Seasoning food yourself is such an eye-opener. Tacos have never tasted this good. But what about mac-n-cheese? Don’t you fret. I have an amazing solution for that one and it is definitely a million times better than the ninety cent boxed stuff we used to make. I have learned to block out the thoughts of “I can’t eat that” and have started thinking about everything that I can eat.
So you’re vegan? Well yeah, technically. But there are a ton of vegan foods that are not whole food plant-based approved. For example, oreos are vegan. They are not, however, plant based. But trust me when I say that my sweet tooth is still satisfied on the daily. Not to mention that once you change your diet, foods taste so different. Fruit tastes so insanely sweet now and peanut butter is practically heaven on earth. My latest addiction has been bread-and-butter pickles and I’m not even sorry about it.
It’s time to get real with you guys. I sometimes struggle with the instances when we are out and about and I find myself hungry. My current solution is to simply keep trail mix, almonds, or a piece of fruit in my bag. If I start getting hungry (and am sure that I’m not just thirsty – more on that later) I will grab a snack from my bag and continue on my way. Planning ahead is such a savior. Additionally, I try to research restaurants local to where we will be. If I figure out what we will be able to eat there ahead of time, mealtime is so much simpler. This is not a big inconvenience since I used to figure out what I would eat at a restaurant before we got there anyway. I am way too indecisive to wait until we get seated to look at the menu.
Now let’s talk about meal structure for a minute. To me, a meal used to be a meat, a carb, and a vegetable. For example, one night we might have spiedie sandwich(es) with broccoli for dinner one night for dinner. I would find myself bloated and hungry a few hours later and would pig out on something in the cupboards (usually crackers and cheese or cookies). I had to break the thought process of meat needing to be a part of a meal in order for it to be complete. Now a night’s dinner may be a large bowl of creamy (dairy free) potato soup that will keep me full for hours. And what about when I get hungry at night? It’s okay! I just eat again. Smaller portions more frequently are not only good for weight loss, but also for digestion! I’d say that’s a win-win.
Do I have your attention yet? What if I said my next health post will include a whole food plant-based recipe that will have even you carnivores salivating? Well be on the look-out because deliciousness is on its way.