There Are Three Things You Must Have To Get Started On Your Plant Based Journey
There are three phases to a plant-based diet. I am going to walk you through each one, step by step, to make sure that we demystify plant-based eating for you and your family and set you up for being plant-based at your pace.
PHASE I: Start Substituting For Plant Based Protein
Phase I is for the person or busy parent who wants to try a plant-based diet, but might not know where to start. As you know, a plant-based diet does not contain meat and dairy, which can be tough to cut when it is all you have known for most of your life. In this phase, I want you to substitute your meat with one of the many plant-based brands that I recommend. Our favorite is Gardein and the Beyond Burger, which both can be found in many major grocery stores around the United States. If you are trying to make a change for your family and you miss your meat, these are a perfect option to help you transition.
When it comes to cheese, I am going to be honest with you and tell you that there is no substitute that will taste exactly like dairy cheese, but the benefits of making the switch are well worth it. There are so many wonderful products out there that melt, smell, and taste similar to your favorite cheese. We absolutely love Chao cheese and Daiya cheesy shreds are always in the fridge to top our tacos. Remember though: the meat and cheese substitutes in this phase contain small amounts of canola oil or some other types of oil, which we will want to avoid in phase III.
PHASE II: Start Leaning Into Being A Whole Food Vegan
In the next phase of your journey to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, I want you to eat fewer and fewer meat substitutes. Begin to really think about what the difference is between a processed vegan meat patty and a whole food ingredient. Meaning: could you make the same patty or something similar from mashed black beans? The main reason we are leaving our “meat-free copycats” behind in this phase has to do mostly with the fact that they contain oils.
By cutting down on your oil intake you are saving a ton of empty calories. At nearly 4,000 calories per pound, oils are empty, many grocery store oils are concentrated saturated fat calories that can be bad news for your heart. We have been told that olive, coconut, sunflower, and many other olive oils are good for us. Sadly, unless you press your olive oil fresh from the olive, you are probably buying stale, rancid olive oil from the grocery store.
PHASE III: Embracing A Whole Food Plant Based Diet
Phase III recipes are the cleanest, healthiest, and easiest way to be a plant-based superhero! When you are cooking recipes in this phase you have every right to wear a cape when you’re preparing your family’s meals. Forget the meatless meats and oils altogether. Instead of oil in the pan, consider using vegetable broth or water. Open up your body to the wonderful benefits of eating foods that will fuel your body and mind with the best ingredients the world has to offer…plants! Specifically, we are talking about fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Foods that most civilized folks have been consuming for centuries.
In our family we bounce around between all three of the phases I am going to mention to you, with most of our meals happening in phase three. Everyone loves a little comfort food sometimes and when you get to the point when you are eating in phase three for most of your meals, you deserve an indulgence from time to time!