I love when people reach out and let me know that what I’m cooking and posting to instagram has inspired them to want to eat more plants (and in turn, less meat!). This is literally the best, most flattering compliment I can hear! So keep it coming.
I thought I would put together a beginners guide that will help you eat more meals that are plant-based and incorporate more plants into your diet in a delicious way. It can be overwhelming when you decide to make a change to your diet, especially when you’re eliminating something that is typically the staple of your meal (meat). When I first went vegetarian, I was honestly worried I’d be left hungry, not satisfied with a bowl full of vegetables, or turn into a carb-loading, pasta eating blob. I am a CARB girl! And don’t get me wrong – there is NOTHING wrong with eating carbs, not at all. But, you have to make sure they’re the ‘right’ Carbs and not loafs of baguettes and bowls of pasta every night….which sounds amazing!
The purpose of this blog is to put, in one place, recipes, resources, tips and blogs to follow to get you pumped about eating more plants, trying new recipes, and getting some science behind the benefits of eating less meat. In no way do I want to judge, shame or preach – that’s not my style. I feel this lifestyle (and I truly believe it is a lifestyle) works really well for me and if you can come away with some tips that will help you feel better, than I’m all for it. Here we go!
I’ve written countless blogs about recipes I’ve created, altered or tried. I like to cook things that use whole, plant-based ingredients, that can be found in a regular grocery store (where the hell do you get halloumi!?) and don’t take hours to make (I’ll buy my almond milk, thanks!).Here are a list of some of my favorites, plus some Pinterest recipes I’ve tried that have been spot on!
*To note, I often alter recipes a bit based on what I have on hand….I know a lot of people like to follow a recipe to a T, but the more you cook, the braver you’ll get about knowing the tastes that go well together. Feel free to follow me on Pinterest where my Work Hard Cook Hard board has all kinds of plant goodness.
Tips & Pantry Essentials
Eating this way is definitely an adjustment at first. It can seem that things take a bit longer to prep – with all the chopping, dicing, roasting. But once you get the hang of it, set some time aside for meal prep, it becomes easier and more fun! Here are a few tips I’d suggest as well as some pantry essentials that make cooking easier.
- Homemade sauces are the way to go – less salt, sugar, weird stuff! Use fresh, simple ingredients to spice up your dishes.
- Drain your tofu! Use a plate with a heavy book on it, a cast iron skillet, anything to get the water out.
- On nights you have time, meal prep. I’ve written a number of blogs about meal prep and it truly makes a difference. Batch cook, cut veggies, roast a few things you can throw in the fridge for a meal later that week.
- Best ‘faux meat’ I’ve found: Mornignstar black bean crumble, Tofurkey Sausages (great for BBQs), Field Roast Sausages, Sweet Earth Protein Breakfast Burritos,
A few pantry essentials (some affiliate links below on products I’ve bought):
- Spices: cumin, red pepper flakes, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder
- Bragg Natural Liquid Aminos 16oz
- Bragg Organic Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning, 4.5 Ounce
- Sriracha & Chili Garlic Paste
- Full fat coconut milk (in a can)
- Coconut Oil – high heat index!
- Flax seed – you can make flax eggs!
- Raw pumpkin & sesame seeds – spices up salads and are so good for you
- Almonds, Cashews and walnuts – these are expensive, but I try to have at least one on hand
- Vegan mayo – not the most healthy thing for you, but makes a great aioli for chickpea tacos!
- Rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar
Resources & Blogs I follow
There are so many resources out there, it’s truly awesome the amount of information and people on board the veggie train. Below are some I follow and find inspiration from!
- Rich Roll – great podcast!
- Dr. Michael Gregor – an amazing resource for a scientific look at how plants and nutrition affect us in a positive way. He runs Nutritionfacts.org
- Dr.Mark Hyman – another Dr. who’s spreading the veggie love & truly believes in the power of transforming you health with nutrition
- The First Mess – a beautiful blog full of gorgeous pictures & recipes
- Forks over knives – a great website with recipes, positive success stories and resources to inform ya on the plants – there’s also a great documentary you should check out
- What the Health – a documentary that looks at our food and how it’s making us sick
- Cowspiracy – dives into the sustainability of eating plants
These are just a few tidbits of how you can ease into (or jump straight in) to the plant-based lifestyle. I would love to hear your story, if you’ve tried any recipes, or where you are in your nutritional journey. Hope you find this guide helpful – happy cooking!