Are you looking for ways to eat healthier? Are you considering becoming a vegetarian or vegan, or just want to include more plants in your diet?
These Fourteen Foods to Help You Transition to a Plant Based Diet is a great place to start. It is part of my Vegan 101 series where I have articles on lifestyle, entertaining, and travel. Whether you are vegan, want to become one, or just want to eat more plant based foods, this is a resource for meatless foods that fill you up, meatless and dairy substitutions, travel tips, and ideas for entertaining your vegan and vegetarian friends.
First of all what does a vegetarian and a vegan eat? How is a plant based diet different than a vegetarian or vegan diet?
- Vegan: consumes no animal products. Many do not wear any by-products like leather, wool and silk. If it has a face, vegans do not eat it or use any of the by-products.
- Vegetarian: An ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs, but no dairy. A lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy, but no eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets includes dairy products and eggs.
- Plant based: consumes mostly plant based, whole foods with little or no animal products. A plant based diet excludes or minimizes highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.
Being on a vegan or vegetarian diet does not necessarily mean eating healthy foods. There are vegetarians I know who live on pasta and dairy, and are overweight. Many vegan foods are processed. There are a lot of junk foods as well. I was an overweight vegan, until I switched to eating more plant based foods and I resolved my weight issues with help from tapping.
Eating more plant based, whole foods can take some time getting used to, but if you take it slow, it won’t take long before you notice changes in your body and fall in love with this way of eating. Swapping out some processed foods and replacing them with plant based foods is a great place to start.
Fourteen Foods to Help You Transition to a Plant Based Diet:
1. Zucchini or yellow squash noodles instead of pasta noodles. Use a spiralizer, mandolin, or vegetable peeler to make the “noodles.” Eat them raw or steamed. Combine them with a tomato sauce, a curry, or stir fry.
2. Jicama tortillas instead of corn tortillas for your tacos. Slice them on a mandolin and add your favorite taco ingredients. Jicama adds a light, healthy crunch to tacos.
3. Mashed Cauliflower instead of potatoes. Yes, both are plant based, but cauliflower is a healthier choice if you are watching carbs, starch, and calories. If you are trying to avoid inflammation causing foods, stay away from potato and other nightshade plants (yams and sweet potatoes are not included in this category).
4. Instead of potato chips, try Squash Chips. You can use yellow squash or zucchini. You get to decide the thickness of the chips as well as the seasonings.
5. Kale Chips instead of potato. Season with your favorite spices. Use oil or an oil spray and bake or dehydrate.
6. Avocado instead of mayo. Mash the avocado, add some salt, and spread on toast or in a sandwich.
7. Flax or chia crackers instead of store bought processed crackers. You can make your own or buy them, but the ones at the store will set you back about $7 for a 4 oz. package. My recipes include: Pizza Crackers, Spicy Flax Crackers, and Savory Squash Crackers. They have fiber, protein, omega-3, and are raw – meaning cooked below 115ᵒ, so they retain their nutrients. If you make your own you get to decide the flavor combinations. Have produce to use up? Add them to the crackers. If you make these thick enough, they could also be substituted for bread in sandwiches.
8. Collard or other greens instead of a tortilla. Put in your favorite veggies, protein and spread. I like collard greens because they stay together and are easy to roll. The smaller greens work well for a taco shell.
9. Instead of traditional pizza crust, try cauliflower. There are many recipes, but I have not found any that are vegan. When I finally get around to creating a vegan recipe, I will add it here.
10. Banana “ice cream” instead of dairy or vegan. One ingredient: frozen bananas! Add some peanut butter sauce, and you have a delectable dessert. Mix in other ingredients like mango and pineapple, and you have a tropical dessert. Or, mix with hazelnut spread, and you have a heavenly Chocolate Hazelnut “Ice Cream”.
11. Cauliflower rice instead of traditional. Put cauliflower in the food processor and pulse to get a rice like consistency. Eat raw or steamed.
12. Mash fresh or thawed, frozen berries instead of jelly or jam. Use them on toast or French Toast.
14. Make homemade hummus for sandwiches, instead of using mayo.
Gillbère, Gloria, ” The Hidden Cause Of Many Inflammatory Disorders” Leaky Gut.co.uk http://www.anaturalway.com/Foods%20that%20Cripple.html