Yes “You Were Born to Thrive”!! And your New Vegan Lifestyle starts here, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 uhh 4? Hi, I’m Marcella, a Vegan of 30+ years here to share much of my experience and knowledge I’ve accumulated in my years living this remarkable way of life. During that time I’ve raised four beautiful children and now have six wonderful grandchildren, so we are now in the third generation vegan. Veganism is somewhat different than many diets because it is a way of life. While there are many reasons you may decide to walk this road, whether it’s for health, weight loss, environmental concerns, animal protection and/or political/social concerns. Whatever your reasons may be, you can make the transition in a smooth and enjoyable manner. I usually suggest taking your time with the process and adding on favorites as you move toward your goal. Remember compassion is the key here, be gentle with yourself and don’t berate yourself if you find you still crave that delicious pound cake. Because the body is a living organism, it has memory. So naturally, you’ll find yourself craving past favorites from time to time. Don’t worry we’ve got that covered. Compassion and trusting in yourself will help make the process feel less burdensome. Ok, that said let’s get started.
The main steps to adopting a plant-based diet are:
- Kitchen Preparation
- Shopping & Terms
- Meal Planning
So let’s get started. The importance of Detoxification…
“Neither do they put new wine in old wineskins, lest the wineskins burst and the wine is spilled and the wineskins are destroyed, but they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Needless to say in order to get off to a good start we must dispose of the old to make way for the new. But just in case you think I’m just referring to a build-up of old food from your past diet, think again. It is an unfortunate truth that all of our environments have been compromised (through the use of all manner of products containing chemical compounds unfriendly to the human body). Many of these products contain heavy metals and other substances that over time can lead to declining health and/or diseases. So how do you turn the tide? Natural cleansing can be as simple as drinking a juice glass of prune juice daily, to embarking on a full-blown detox program with a licensed practitioner, to eating the good old apple a day (Note: please consult your physician before adopting any new dietary or cleansing programs). Please note you can begin your transition while implementing your detox program. Once you have found the program that fits your needs, you will begin to notice some positive changes such as increased energy, clearer skin and/or a greater sense of well-being.
Preparing the Vegan Kitchen
On the road to your new Vegan lifestyle, you’ll need a few items to make your kitchen complete. Start out with upgrading your cookware and add additional appliances along the way. Stainless steel is a great go to when purchasing pots and pans. Many are unaware of the dangers of aluminum, aluminum foil, and cookware. This element can wreak havoc on your health and the health of your family. Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dissolves into food while cooking. Cast iron cookware is a good consideration as it is durable and adds iron to the diet. A good set of Stainless steel cookware is a great investment as well. Please take a few moments to watch the video below as it provides more information on the dangers of aluminum foil and aluminum cookware.
Because Vegan/Vegetarian diets depend on grinding an array of different foods, a Blender and/or Food Processor can come in handy. To grind seeds and some grains a coffee grinder can be very helpful. They are fairly inexpensive, I purchased mine on Amazon for about $ 15.00. When we consider preserving our health another consideration is our oil intake. You know those good old onion rings, french fries, and other battered vegetables. Yes, we love our crunchy crispies so much. So Hooray for the Air Fryer that helps in lowering the amounts of oil we consume, every kitchen needs one. So take time and visit your favorite store to explore the kitchen utensils you’ll want to incorporate into your New Vegan Kitchen. Below I’ve also provided a basic list of must-have appliances/utensils, as well.
- Set of Stainless Steel Pots/Pans and utensils
- Vegetable Juicer
- Food Processor
- Seed/Coffee Grinder
- Fruit Juicer
- Air Fryer
- Garlic Press
- Good Set of Knives
Shopping & Terms
You may sometimes find the shopping experience to be a bit confusing. Should I buy Organic or Conventional foods? What is the difference between Lactose-free milk and Non-Diary? What sweeteners can I use now? Where can I find aluminum-free products?
If you are not sure whether to buy organic or conventionally grown foods let me provide some clarity. Conventionally grown foods may contain synthetic fertilizers to assist with plant growth while organically grown foods use natural fertilizers such as compost or manure. While Whole Foods is a first go to for those exploring their organic options, Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s grocers also carry both everyday and gourmet organic products. Other grocers have begun to feature some interesting international sections to their stores where you can explore an array of Asian, Mexican and Mediterranean organic food options as well. So, do your research as other grocers now carry relatively inexpensive lines of organic products, shop around and ask your grocer what organic products they carry.
When it comes to milk, all are not created equal. Non-diary milk strictly originates from plant sources such as almonds, cashews, hemp, rice, coconut or soybeans. Lactose-free milk is dairy milk that does not contain lactose, to accommodate those who may be lactose intolerant. Only non-diary milk is used in the vegan diet and can now be found in most grocers as well as local chain stores like Walgreens and CVS.
Below I’ve provided some must-haves for the well-stocked Vegan kitchen. You may prefer different brands, this is just a sampling of items needed.
When you have questions (and they will arise) I’ve found the staff members of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to be a valuable source of knowledge. At Whole Foods if they don’t have an answer for you they will actually check with the manufacturer to provide as much information as possible to assist you on your journey, so don’t hesitate to ask.
So now let’s explore cost and information. Many feel that adopting a plant-based lifestyle will be an expensive undertaking. While some products can be pricey, there are many options to assist in keeping costs low. For example, Whole Foods provides its own monthly sale paper called The Whole Deal, available in-store and online. Trader Joe’s provides more of a newsletter that provides details of new products and also includes dietary information. On this blog, I publish links for online printable coupons twice monthly to help you save money and make your month a delicious one. ***Note: sales are published at the beginning of and at mid-month.
Ok, ok, blah, blah, blah. Enough dialogue I know everyone wants to know, “So, when do we eat?” Well, the short answer is anytime you want, there are so many quick options out there. Yet we want to remain consistent with eating for life. To achieve balance in planning your meals it’s important to know a few basics. One: Fruits cleanse. Two: Vegetables build. The Vegan Platform is built on, fruits & vegetables, grains, and legumes. Preparing a meal that includes grain, green vegetable, and legume can help to achieve balance. A good food chart is another way to learn how to balance meals. So let’s look at some suggested mealtime options.
Breakfast the first meal of the day. Some have to have it, others skip it. Well, my suggestion is to definitely consume something first thing to prepare your body to meet the new day. If you’re not much of a breakfast person, grab some fruit or make a delicious shake. It will take you a long way and help to discourage the grab some junk syndrome. But if you are going to sit down for a tasty bit, here are some meal suggestions.
- Delicious hot oatmeal topped with toasted wheat germ
- Granola with non- dairy milk and fruit, topped with toasted wheat germ
- buckwheat cereal with sauteed veggies
- bulgar cereal with sauteed veggies
- brown rice cereal
- scrambled tofu with toast and steamed broccoli
- Fruit salad
- Sandwich and salad or soup
- Soup with crackers or whole grain bun
- Salad with sliced avocado, olives, whole grain bun
- Brown rice with your choice of beans, avocado, and salad
- Spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread
- Baked potato with your veggie choice (salad/steamed broccoli)
- Greens, your choice of beans and brown rice
- Spaghetti, battered tofu, salad, and garlic bread
- Mac & cheese, green beans, BBQ tofu, swiss chard greens
- Chili with Tofurkey chunks and crackers
- Smothered potatoes, grilled Brussel sprouts, battered eggplant with avocado slices
To get started with some of these great receipes preview my new book. Go Vegan offers quick and easy recipes for the new aspiring Vegan or anyone looking to improve their health. Check out the FREE reading sample and share with your friends, just click below.
We live busy lives and many times approach, mealtime as a grab and go situation. Try to steer clear of processed foods as much as possible. Even too much of healthy processed foods is not the ideal. Look to adopt more fruits and vegetables into mealtime, preparing meals yourself as often as possible. There, that is a basic guide to how you can get started on your way to a plant-based lifestyle in 4 easy steps. I hope this article proves helpful to you. Remember to share with your friends and as always “To Your Health”.
“My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.” -Leonardo Da Vinci