The Best Plant-Based Diet Books

I get a lot of questions about switching to a plant-based diet. It’s understandable, for most of us, plant-based living is a completely foreign concept.

I do my best to help by answering emails and comments. Depending on the situation I’ll sometimes suggest a book. Blogs are a great place to look but you can get lost in the internet and spend hours reading.

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Best Plant-Based Diet Book [Read more…]

7 Reasons You Should Buy Local

If you are eating a plant-based diet you are probably eating a lot of plants. Sticking to seasonal produce from your grocery store or farmers market will be less expensive and healthier for you.

I’ll admit, depending on where you live, some places are easier than others to buy local seasonal produce. Right now is a great time to live in Arizona. Gardens are producing and local farmers have plenty to offer.

7 reasons you should buy local

You can find out what’s in season in your location using this handy tool: Sustainable Table Seasonal Food Guide.

If you need to be convinced that eating seasonally is better for you and for the environment check out these seven reasons you should buy local when possible. [Read more…]

Once a Week Cooking

Once a Week Cooking for vegan, plant-based, gluten-free foodies

Sometimes it’s nice to go a whole week without cooking. Sure, some people do that all the time, they just eat take out or fast food. I’m talking about a whole week eating homemade, plant-based food without having to cook it everyday. It’s possible if you do Once a Week Cooking.

I’ve shared this before, in fact it’s regularly one of my top pins.

Once a Week Cooking

If you want to try Once a Week Cooking I recommend that you plan meals that will reheat well, serve you for more than one meal and give yourself several hours to get the cooking done.

I’ve selected several recipes that meet this criteria, they are on this week’s meal plan.

You can adapt this to suit your time and dietary constraints.

What to Cook

Plan to start with the items that will take the longest too cook or that you need for other meals. If you are cooking beans you will probably want to start with those. If you are using canned or already have beans cooked you can move on. I already had beans and rice cooked when I started, we usually have beans and rice cooked at all times.

I also use multiple cooking options, for instance I cook beans in my Instant Pot, the casserole in my Crock Pot, most other things on my stove and the lasagna in my oven. The sweet potatoes can be made in the Instant Pot, Crock Pot or the oven.

Steps to Getting it All Done

1. Cook beans and rice. Either ahead or start here.

2. Get the Crock Pot going with the casserole.

3. Start cooking the lentils, quinoa and Mexican Rice on the stove.

4. Start preparing ingredients for the Lasagna. (The lasagna takes a long time so you can save time by eliminating this).

5. Wash and bake sweet potatoes.

6. Chop veggies and make the soup. (Beans and rice must be cooked in order to make the soup.)

7. Prepare additional veggies for salad.

Overwhelmed?

You can simplify this with a few modifications. This was more than enough food for us this week.

1. Cook fewer foods.

Instead cooking black beans and lentils just cook one and use it in place of both. Instead of cooking plain brown rice, Mexican Rice and quinoa choose one, but make sure you cook enough for all of your meals.

2. Have Foods Prepped.

You may be wondering, isn’t’ the purpose of once a week cooking to only cook once? Yes, however some foods like beans and grains take a while to cook. If you do this ahead of time you can knock an hour or more off of your cooking time.

3. Skip Difficult Recipes.

The lasagna recipe I made isn’t really difficult but it is a multi-step recipe that takes a lot of time. Replace it with a pasta dish instead and you’ll save a lot of time.

Do you batch cook or do once a week cooking? I’m considering creating a short batch cooking eCourse if there is enough interest.

Substituting Applesauce

Need to substitute applesauce? This EASY applesauce is quick and simple!

In the first two years of this blog I would occasionally answer reader questions here for all to see. I got away from that but I’m going to bring it back. Between comments, emails, the eCourse and social media I get a lot of questions.

Question: What can I use as a substitute for applesauce?

First a little background. I don’t normally like to buy a lot of processed products but I like to use applesauce instead of oil and sometimes in place of eggs in baking. A reader recently wanted to make The World’s Best Banana Bread but she was out of applesauce and needed a substitute.

The quickest and easiest substitute is an apple. I know, simple huh?

Just put a cored apple in a food processor or high-powered blender like a Blendtec and process it. You don’t even have to peel it. The result is 100% apple, no fillers, no additives. This pureed apple will work just like applesauce in recipes. Your kids will probably like it too! You can even add cinnamon if you are feeling crazy.

If you don’t have apples or have an allergy there are a few other options.

Pureed pears, peaches and other fruit will work but may leave a slightly stronger taste. Mashed bananas or mashed (cooked) sweet potatoes could work as well. You may want to add slightly less banana or sweet potato and add a little more water so the consistency will be similar to applesauce.

For more recipes that use applesauce (instead of oil) check out my Bread and Muffin Recipe Page! If you are still using oil in your baking try applesauce in its place.

Have you tried pureeing apples to use in place of applesauce?

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How to Eat More Veggies

This blog post is adapted from one of the lessons in the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse. The eCourse is designed to walk beginners through everything they need to know to adopt a plant-based diet. 

Easy tips for everyone wondering how to eat more veggies.

Most of us could stand to eat more veggies. Personally, I have a tendency to fill up on beans and grains. Veggies just don’t “do it” for me but I know that they are important so they have to be prioritized or I’ll just skip them.

If you are new to plant-based eating or just trying to add more veggies to your diet these ideas will offer you a variety of options for adding more veggies.

How to Eat More Veggies

I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining the various nutrients because I think most of us know we should eat them but struggle to actually do it.  Throughout this conversation keep in mind that many veggies can be eaten both raw and cooked and it’s a good idea to eat both.

Eat More Salads

You can easily get 2-3 servings of veggies in a really well made salad. If you use 2 cups of greens, ½ cup of carrots and ½ cup grape tomatoes you’re doing pretty well. You don’t have to make it that plain though.

Think about some of your favorite salads from restaurants. Most of the salads are beautiful with vibrant colors and have at least 5 ingredients. They consist of greens, two veggies, something crunchy like croutons or nuts/seeds along with dairy and a dressing. Why not use those salads for inspiration, just leave out the unhealthy ingredients. (In the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse I have lessons about replacing meat and dairy in your favorite dishes.)

Need More Salad Help

When making a salad at home try to incorporate as many colors as possible. Here are some suggestions:

Reds: Tomatoes, Peppers, Radishes

Yellow: Bell and Banana Peppers, Squash, Corn

Greens: Lettuces/Greens, Cucumbers, Peppers, Broccoli

Purple: Red Onions, Beets, Olives, Cabbage

Orange: Carrots, Sweet Peppers

Remember, your salad isn’t limited to veggies, you can also add fruit, beans, grains, and nuts or seeds. Let your imagination run wild.

Soups

My favorite way to get lots of veggies is in soups. I can eat bowl after bowl of soup, each packed with fiber-filled veggies. In fact, soup is my favorite way to eat kale. You can find all of my soups on my Soup and Stew Page or visit my Plant-Based Soup Pinterest Board for inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers but be wary of creamy soups that may contain nuts (if you are trying to lose weight).

Side Dishes

I’m not a big “veggie on the side” kind of gal. If you’ve followed any of my meal plan you know I don’t usually have side dishes. I’d rather have everything mixed together but to each their own. Steamed broccoli is a favorite in our house because it goes well with pasta or baked potatoes.

Carrots, peas, green beans and corn are veggies that are typical side dishes at home-style restaurants. More often than not they are probably pushed to the side in favor of Mac and Cheese. Do yourself a favor and reintroduce a veggie side dish, it can even be a veggie-filled salad.

Starchy Vegetables

Don’t forget your starchy vegetable (yes, I’ve mentioned a few already) potatoes, squash, pumpkin, yams, etc. These veggies are filling, fibrous and low in fat. If you aren’t sure about starches read anything from Dr. John McDougall.

Starchy veggies are great as a side dish or as the main course. My family loves to eat giant baked sweet potatoes, some times I’ll add raisins and cinnamon for a slightly sweet meal. Starchy veggies are great roasted.

Dips

I eat double or triple the amount of raw veggies when I have a dip. Raw veggies are just more appealing to me when I have something to dip them in. They same is true for my kids. I always recommend using dips for parents trying to win their kids over to veggies but there is no reason that adults can’t enjoy dips too.

Hummus is a favorite dip of mine but many store-bought dips contain tahini and oil; both are very high in fat. You can make hummus at home if you aren’t comfortable with what is offered in your local store. My favorite dips and salad dressings can be found here.

Mix It Up

Some people won’t go for it but you can always try mixing veggies into other things like puree them into pasta sauces or on top of pizza. I’ve made many a lentil loaf filled with random veggies and I’ll often create off-the-wall veggie pasta combinations. It doesn’t have to be about hiding veggies either Veggie Pot Pie and Vegan Shepherds Pie are great options loaded with veggies.


 

The most important thing is to keep trying new things. As you adapt to this healthier way of eating things your palate will change. Foods you once hated will become delicious (maybe not every food, but a lot of them will). You just have to keep trying.

What are your veggie eating tips and tricks?

31 Day Plant-Based eCourse

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