Updated: Mar 23
Turning vegetarian or vegan is much more than just a trend or a diet. It may not be as simple as just removing a few things from your diet, but it's much easier than you might imagine. Turning towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle can be greatly beneficial for your overall health as well as the wellbeing of the planet.
Just over 11 years ago, I woke up one morning and decided that I didn't want to eat meat anymore. A couple of months later, I had my last meal with fish, and nearly a month after that, I watched Cowspiracy, which is highly recommended by the way, and decided I wanted to quit dairy as well.
Each time I decided to make a change, I spent days researching online and in books about what the average human needs in terms of vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. With every thing I removed from my diet, I would try to introduce something new, and by paying attention to how my body reacted, I managed to create a diet that not only made me feel good emotionally but also kept my body fit and healthy.
Here I offer a practical guide to a plant-based diet based on my own research and beliefs. It presents an overview of the basic nutrients that the average human needs and where to find them, as well as a few brief recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
By no means does this guide represent the full spectrum of a well-balanced and healthy diet.
The two most important factors of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle are:
Constant research into what is truly healthy and beneficial to your health.
Listening and paying very close attention to what your body needs and how it reacts
Veggies: spinach, kale, peas, mushrooms, sprouts, asparagus, and corn.
Fruit: dried apricots, raisins, dates, raspberries, currants, and grapefruit.
Legumes: Lupin, soya beans, tempeh, mung beans, lentils, and split peas
Veggies: artichokes, peas, okra, brussel sprouts, turnips, and squash
Fruit: berries, avocados, coconuts, and figs.
Legumes: Black beans, chickpeas, lentils.
Calcium: Kale, broccoli, bok choy, okra, and watercress.
Iron: tomatoes, chard, collard greens, prunes, oatmeal, brown rice, lima beans, and tofu.
Phosphorus: chickpeas, mung beans, yellow beans, quinoa, oats
Zinc: oranges, tofu, tempeh
Iodine: lettuce (most types), aubergines, courgettes.
Omega-3 and -6: chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and spirulina
B12: B-12 is produced within the gut microbiome but can be found in seaweed, nori, and spirulina
Vitamin D: sunlight, oranges, and mushrooms
In general, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and soaked nuts are great sources of pretty much everything you need.
Quick & Easy Recipes
2 slices of toast (ideally GF) with mixed nut or peanut butter, sliced banana and cinnamon , plus a cup of ginger lemon tea.
Granola or other sugar-free cereal with the plant-based milk of your choice.
A handful of nuts, some fresh fruit, and/or fresh orange juice.
Coconut, frozen mango, flaxseeds and oat smoothie
Overnight Oats with a cup of your favourite tea
Mixed legume salad with corn, red pepper, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, chili flakes and a ginger, lime, orange, olive oil dressing
Baked Sweet Potatoes with crunchy chickpeas
Roasted beetroots. Sprinkle with favorite spices (salt, pepper, and olive oil), close separately in tin foil, and roast at 200°C for 45 minutes or so.
Roasted pumpkin and coconut soup
Mixed green leafy salad with chickpeas, orange segments, apples, and flaxseeds. Tahini, orange, lemon, coriander, olive oil dressing; sprinkle with crushed walnuts and almonds.
Cooked wild greens or chards with salt, lemon, and olive oil
Seasonal roasted vegetables marinated in cumin, coriander, pepper, and olive oil with a tahini, orange, lemon, and fresh coriander dressing
Boiled broccoli, cauliflower, or courgettes served with lemon salt and olive oil
Vegan protein bars or balls
Nuts, dried fruits and dates
Fresh fruits and vegetables
To get the most out of your food, I believe it is critical to eat local, seasonal, and organic vegetables whenever possible. It is much healthier and safer, as well as environmentally more sustainable, to purchase and consume fresh goods from local, organic farmers' markets.
Love, Light & Joy,