I was talking with a friend the other day and she was curious but skeptical about adopting a vegan diet. She had questions and I have answers.
Why did I decide to improve my better than average American diet to a plant strong diet?
The first and foremost reason is for the health benefits. Plant based diets reduce heart disease, cancers and dementia. These benefits are undisputed. I also have chronic pain from multiple injuries and I have had a profound reduction in my every day pain, probably because plant diets reduce inflammation and animal proteins and fats increase inflammation. Easy weight loss, feeling good about eating cruelty free and reducing my carbon foot print are vegan bonuses.
Where do you find the time to cook vegan meals?
I’m retired so I have more time available to prepare meals but believe me, I don’t want to be a slave to the kitchen any more than you do. Eating a vegan diet takes no more time than eating a healthy animal protein diet. Think about it as just swapping animal protein for plant proteins. It’s that simple.
It takes just as much time to eat poorly!
Eating out and eating highly processed foods takes time, and unfortunately, it also takes years off of your life. You have to decide how you want to spent your time. Prepping healthy meals now vs. feeling crappy waiting in your doctor’s office for another test and another pill.
The best use of your time in the vegan kitchen:
– I plan our weekly meals in broad strokes based on my CSA basket ingredients. I take inspiration from the freshest ingredients and I rarely waste any produce. I have reoccurring dinner themes: Thai, Italian, Mexican, Indian, comfort food, TACOS, salad nights, pasta, and most important “I’m sick of cooking” meals.
– I batch cook plant proteins and I always have canned legumes in the pantry and frozen shelled edamame in the freezer. I may soak and cook chic peas, pintos or lentils on Monday and we eat them all week. Lentil neatballs, lentil neatloaf can be made from one batch of lentil “meat”. Chic peas can become hummus, roasted as salad croutons or mashed for breakfast scrambles or sandwiches. Pinto beans can be used in burritos or added to taco salads. It really is no different than planning and preparing chicken for two meals a week or making shredded beef for tacos and burritos.
-I batch cook grains weekly, brown rice, quinoa, barley or wheat berries are almost always in my refrigerator. Add these to salads, toss with legumes, serve with curries or soups.
– Wash and cut up vegetables in advance. I wash my lettuce and greens when I pick up my CSA basket. I cut up carrots, cucumbers and red peppers for snacks and quick stir-frys. I cut up melons and pineapples as soon as they’re ripe and store them in the refrigerator for easy access. Bake white and or sweet potatoes while roasting carrots, beets, or Brussels sprouts.
Real Life Whole Food Plant Based Menu
Easy Tofu Tacos, all the flavors of Baja Fish Tacos:
Crumble extra firm tofu into small pieces, toss with 1/2 cup diced onion, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and taco seasoning to taste. Let marinate at least 30 minutes.
Cook tofu mixture in a skillet until lightly browned and the onions are soft, about 15 minutes.
Assemble tacos in a corn tortilla; combine taco tofu, mango salsa (or salsa of choice), shredded red cabbage, thinly slice red onion, and drizzle with almond yogurt “sour cream”.
Vegan sour cream: Combine 1 cup of unsweetened almond or coconut yogurt and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon or lime juice. I use this on tacos and in salad dressings.
Taco seasoning: Equal parts smoked paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, dried minced onion and chili powder. Adjust by adding salt and more or less chili powder. I used California chili powder but you can choose a hotter chili.
More recipes from the Web to try.
This pizza was delicious and so rich with the cashew garlic sauce. I used Walla Walla sweet onions which are buttery and sweet. Definitely a recipe to keep.
Cook a double batch of lentil “meat” for Italian meatballs and zoodles and “meatloaf”.