Saturday, July 1, 2017

Day 1: Plant Based Diet Challenge

Transitioning into a plant based diet, takes some thought, planning, and a few recipes and ideas. Many people start a plant based lifestyle without a real plan, and end up failing because they feel deprived or hungry.

This challenge will include oil, but if you are choosing to go the non-oil route, just eliminate it from the recipes.

This challenge is to help anyone transition easily into a plant based diet. You will have cravings, and you may slip and have a piece of pizza. I promise the plant based diet police won't come knocking on your door. There is no such thing as perfection and it is ok to not be perfect, regardless of what internet trolls tell you. Sometimes you just need a slice of pepperoni pizza to recognize why you are making the choices for your health. (And sometimes it just plain hits the spot!)

Whatever your reasons for starting a plant based diet, I want to say congratulations because you are empowering your health with this one decision.

As a small sidenote: You will want to supplement with a B-12 (this is what I use) and you'll always want to continue with a probiotic. Ideally, your probiotic will be from naturally fermented foods, but in reality, that isn't always possible.

There will be people with nasty opinions about your new lifestyle. Some will say things like, "Humans are meant to eat meat or we wouldn't have canine teeth." Or-- one my favorites, "If plant based eating is so healthy, why do you have to supplement with B-12?"

My responses:
B-12 is injected into animals because our soils are depleted.
We also have para-thyroids, but we don't live underwater.
We have incredible brains, but most people don't use them.
Some people will always have something negative to say. The real issue is that you choosing to make this choice for yourself, puts a social pressure on everyone around you to also be healthier. Some people respond to that pressure in very rude ways.


The biggest way that you can set yourself up to succeed is to make a list of snacks. When we started our plant based journey, we were also dealing with one of us having leaky gut. So our planning was even more severe than just plant based.

You'll want to keep a variety of snacks on hand for grazing. I often make an Amazon Prime Pantry purchase of everything we need for the month because I find that they are so much cheaper than buying these products in stores. Trader Joe's has good prices, but Amazon has them even cheaper if you are watching your dollars and cents.
prunes for fiber (they fill you up fast)
carrot sticks
fresh fruit
granola bars


Transitioning to plant based diet will require different tools than a meat based diet. The one must have is a good blender. The Vitamix is Queen of blenders if you don't have a budget. However, the Ninja is my personal favorite and what we use twice per day. I have never, Ever had to stop a blend to add more liquid with the Ninja.

Other tools that you will find handy to keep your plant based dieting easy:

Dehydrator (This is one item to not go cheap on. The Excalibur is the only good dehydrator on the market.)


We keep our breakfast very simple. Every morning we make a protein shake with Orgain chocolate fudge protein powder. Orgain is soy free and tastes incredibly good.

Chocolate Fudge Smoothie Recipe

1 large glass of ice
1 banana
Almond milk to desired consistency

Blend and serve.

When you find yourself needing a little more than just a smoothie, and it happens, we always have fresh fruit on hand to get us by until it's time for lunch. Usually just one apple will keep me satisfied. If I'm working outside and need a lot more sustenance, I'll snack on hummus and carrot sticks for more fiber and heavier protein.


I am all about keeping things simple. The kids and I all eat the same things throughout the day. For lunch, we make burrito bowls. When we are out in public, Chipotle is a great choice to have a plant based burrito bowl and they will give you extra guacamole when you order a veggie bowl.

Burrito Bowl Recipe

1 large head of romaine, chopped
1 can of black beans (or 1 cup of black beans if you slow cook them yourself)
Shredded carrots & broccoli (you can omit, I purchase this at Trader Joe's)
Salsa of choice
Seasonings of choice

Directions: Chop the lettuce how you like it. Rinse the beans and then rinse them again. I rinse until the foam stops running off. Then I pour them in a bowl and season them with a Mexican seasoning or Taco Seasoning and set aside. I don't heat my beans, but you may choose to do so either in the microwave or on the stove top. Dice the avocado, or mash and make a guacamole from it, however you prefer to eat them. Drizzle some lime juice over the avocados or guacamole and salt it lightly.

Then assemble. Lettuce, beans, shredded veggies, avocado or guacamole, salsa on top! It is a favorite here and we eat versions of this almost daily.

Another tip for leftovers: These make great grilled burritos when you want something a bit more warm. If you use a bit more guacamole and add some rice, they stick together nicely!

If you are dealing with leaky gut, just eliminate the black beans.


Dinner is where a lot of people want to slide back into old habits. There is something comforting about having a big dinner and going to bed with a full feeling. This is how we do it in our family while still enjoying a plant based lifestyle.

We eat our dinner as early as we can. Sometimes we even eat as early as 4 pm if our day allows it. I really think that eating a bigger meal around 4-5 is the secret to sustaining a plant based diet in our home. In the evening, we make another smoothie as a dessert.

Our favorite plant based dinner is soup. Soup and crusty bread or toast always seems to hit the spot.

3 Bean Chili Recipe

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of pinto beans
1 can of black beans
1 bag of frozen green beans
1 bag of frozen corn
2 cans of tomato sauce (or diced tomatoes)
1 tub of veggie broth or 4 cups of water
1/4 cup of brown rice
Chili seasoning


Saute your onion in your stock pot and let it get translucent. Pour your veggie broth and tomato liquid in the stock pot. Add your minced garlic, pinto beans, black beans, green beans, and rice. Let the rice cook up and expand before you add your chili seasoning. Season to taste. Then add the frozen corn just until cooked. (Don't let it cook too long or it will become mushy.)

Serve and enjoy!

I like to top my chili with guacamole and enjoy it with a crusty bread.


In the evening, as the family is winding down and we all want a little something to munch on while we are watching something on Netflix, we either make a huge bowl of popcorn with our air popper, or we make a strawberry-vanilla smoothie.

Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie Recipe

1 glass of ice
1 banana
1 cup of frozen strawberries
Almond milk to desired texture

Blend & Enjoy!

I hope this series of posts help you plan your success for plant based living.

No comments:

Post a Comment