For some reason, the word ‘vegan’ seems to get peoples defences up.
This unfortunately results in a turning away, or a closing off, from the many benefits of integrating more plant based meals into your life. (Benefits for us and for the many beautiful animals we share our planet with).
I think ‘vegan’ also often conjures up images of tasteless raw/ plain fruits & vegetables and therefore… very limited options when it comes to nurturing and honouring health and wellness as our MOST precious resource.
A common (even unconscious) fear that might rise up within us, is that we will be left unsatisfied by this way of eating; but this honestly couldn’t be further from the truth!
I want to be clear that the purpose of this blog post is not to suggest you become vegan (although it’s fantastic if that’s what you’re aiming for!) but to encourage you to incorporate more nutrient dense plant based foods into your diet, no matter what it might currently look like.
Eating well is also about moderation. We all need (& deserve!) treats!
Overall though when it comes to that pesky word ‘diet’ we should not need to constantly chop and change our eating habits. How exhausting!
The best approach is to aim for slow consistent, meaningful changes to your diet that are easily incorporated and gradually become your new PERMANENT and healthy way of eating.
If you love the food you’re eating AND it’s providing your body everything it needs to thrive, isn’t this much more fulfilling than yo-yo dieting or unsustainable ‘diet’ meal plans?
So release any pressure of needing to be ‘perfect’ and let’s look at the small gradual steps you can take towards the maintenance of a diet that TRULY serves you + your taste buds!
I would like to first encourage you to pause… and spend a moment to imagine what better health would actually look like or mean, for YOU? What would it enable you to do or achieve in your life? How would you feel?
This ‘WHY’ needs to be so alluring, that it calls you into action, so that each time you put something in your mouth, you begin to ask yourself the question: Is this choice taking me closer, or further away from what I want for myself and my life?
I know that is a little deep, or even harsh, but it is true. You need motivation to ‘stay the path’ and importantly, you need to know that you ARE 100% worthy of whatever it is you can see for yourself. (You may even like to close your eyes for a minute or two, focus gently on your breathing, and see what pops in for you here… before reading further).
Have you heard of the theory that the reason we over eat (aside from thirst/ dehydration or ‘emotional eating’) is because our body’s cells are just not satisfied?
If you think about it this makes sense- the nutrients in the majority of processed foods are few and far between.
So when we STILL feel hungry after eating foods we KNOW aren’t good for us, and find ourselves reaching for more of the same, this is actually what’s happening on the inside.
Or in other words, it’s not that our body wants us to eat more ‘junk’ but that it is literally calling out to us for the nutrients it needs to function at its most optimal levels.
Our cells really are that wise it’s just that often:
Clarity + self-belief is key here.
(This is why I completed additional study to become a certified Success Coach and offer an “Intuition In Wellness Success Package”: where I share how to tune in and honour your body’s unique wisdom as part of a comprehensive 3 month+ process).
Our body wants us to be happy, whole and complete and learning how to trust its wisdom is an INTEGRAL puzzle piece for anyone on a wellness and happiness journey.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
On my journey so far, I’ve encountered amazing & simple, nourishing recipes and would like to share a few of my favourite delicious, nutrient dense finds with you here.
You have probably noticed the growing selection of wholefoods café’s/ restaurants and juice bars popping up everywhere.
If you feel time poor, or are a little sceptical of JUST how incredible this food can taste, this would be a great place for you to start. You’ll also find many of these places have a great range of healthy treats and deserts!
For inspiration locally, check out this blog from The Green Goodness Co on the 12 Best Veggie/ Vegan Cafes in Perth. http://greengoodnessco.com.au/article/12-best-vegetarianvegan-cafes-in-perth.html.
A few to add to the above list are Health Freak Café (locations in Perth and Sydney: http://www.healthfreakcafe.com.au/#); The Little Bird Café (Northbridge/ Perth: https://facebook.com/TheLittleBirdCafe); Nood (Leederville, Perth: http://www.nood.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NOOD-Cafe-Menu-.pdf) and one of my favourites Vegie Mamas (Mount Lawley, Perth: https://www.facebook.com/veggiemama01/).
To make your visit a success, select the most appealing options for you and take it from there.
Eating at these restaurants will also help/ educate you:
If budget is an issue, then it is much more economical to source and prepare the food yourself, at home.
For online inspiration, check out the Meat Free Mondays website at: https://www.meatfreemondays.com/recipes/ for hundreds of FREE recipe ideas. (I also encourage you to go meat free more than once per week!)
TIP: In the past where I would finally have the courage (& time) to introduce a new meal or two, I would often pick these long winded recipes. I diligently completed all the prep, followed all the steps & 90 or so minutes later produced a great dish. Even though the meal would be gobbled down in appreciation, I couldn’t help feeling disheartened over the amount of time it had taken to source/ prepare the meal. This in turn put me off trying another new recipe anytime soon as I just was not THAT enthusiastic about cooking! So my first tip in encouraging you to regularly choose & try new recipes, is to start with ones that are simple + quick.
If there’s ingredients you don’t recognise, like quinoa, cacao, or coconut oil don’t be scared!
You’ll easily find these ingredients in the ‘health food’ section in your local supermarket. (And on quinoa, I recommend always cooking it with stock to add extra flavour. You can also batch cook it and freeze in portions for later use- a massive time saver!)
The best wholefoods cookbook I have ever been introduced to is ‘The Oh She Glows Cookbook’ by Angela Liddon, released in 2014.
Some of my favourites include her tangy ‘glowing mojo-ito green monster’ (p. 59) – a green smoothie with mint, avocado, lime, & frozen watermelon that I have regularly for breakfast; and her ridiculously delicious ‘soul soothing African peanut stew’ (p. 129) – a combination of sweet potato, spices, peanut butter, chickpeas and more that leaves your stomach (+ your cells!) singing.
Everyone I’ve introduced to her recipes has loved them to bits – more often than not they ask for the recipe too! Angela also has a heap of recipes on her blog: http://ohsheglows.com/
More recently (and after having her first child) Angela released her second cookbook ‘Oh She Glows Every Day’ which I excitedly received just last week!
In it, Angela explains all recipes “were tested by many kids from one year old to teenagers.” Resulting in over 50 recipes being identified as ‘kid friendly’ PLUS ‘make it kid friendly’ tips are included for many additional recipes. Both books are available for around $30 each (including postage) from Booktopia (https://www.booktopia.com.au/).
You can also search their websites for more great ideas!
Dairy is known to be mucus forming, so if you have asthma, a post nasal drip, or regularly feel like you have a level of nasal congestion that just will not shift, dairy could be one of the culprits. Dairy has also been shown as a contributor to acne.
Personally, I never really liked milk but would indulge in ice-cream even though I noticed my body produced mucus in response – something I just got used to. (Hello coconut ice-cream, made with coconut milk and in a range of flavours, sooo good!!)
It wasn’t until I started to become educated on the dairy industry along with deepening my relationship with animals through meditation, that I got serious about eliminating dairy, although I have to admit cheese has been the one place where I’ve faltered.
A key to making successful dietary changes is to replace one food with another similar food. Yet, disappointingly, I found the majority of cheese alternatives available in Australia tasteless.
Until, that is, I discovered Sprout and Kernal and their ‘Herb Nut Cheese’ – Yum! An Australian owned family business, their “vision is to spread the wholesomeness of their hand made cultured nut cheeses to Australians everywhere.”
You can find a fantastic review of the full range of Sprout and Kernal cheeses and a link to their stockists here: https://veganmiam.com/travel/sprout-kernel-tree-nut-cheeses.
Additionally, Angela Liddon includes a wonderful Cashew Cheese + Cashew Cream Cheese recipe in her Oh She Glows cookbook (p.281 which is amazing with her ‘crowd- pleasing tex-mex casserole’ p. 149) and in her Oh She Glows Everyday cookbook, an all-purpose cheese sauce (p.251), homemade vegan mayo (p. 269) and coconut whipped cream (p. 275) that I’m excited to taste test soon!
I think it’s worth mentioning that as my journey has progressed, my sensitivity to sugar has continued to increase – meaning that I want MUCH less of it.
I had never previously realised just how sickly sweet chocolate bars are. Or taken the time- it actually takes less than a week- to consciously reduce my refined sugar intake and gain control over my cravings for sweets. (I have to say, not bringing chocolate into the house, really helps too!)
We all know that the more nutrient dense whole foods and the less processed/ refined foods we consume the better.
But did you know that there are environmental benefits to consuming more plant based foods too – like a huge saving on worldwide water consumption? (If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, I recommend the documentary ‘Cowspiracy’ – from executive producer Leonardi DiCaprio – you can view the trailer here: http://www.cowspiracy.com/)
This article from the Australian Cancer Council may also be of interest if you (or someone you love) need/s some additional motivation to cut down on red and/ or processed meat consumption:
Changing your diet to one that is more healthy and fulfilling is a process, so just start where you are at, add in more whole food options gradually (so that it will be sustainable for you) and most importantly, be kind to yourself in the process.
Ps: Do you have a go-to plant based recipe or resource? Share your favourites in the comments!
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