Make plant-based eating easy
Did you know that you can make plant-based eating easy? It really can be. I received an email from Pamela in Missoula who asked me about this. Here is what she wrote:
“Hi Roger. I’ve been eating plant-based foods for the past 3 months. I’ve lost weight, my blood sugars and blood pressure are down (I’m even off the drugs!) and my joints don’t hurt. I’ve never felt better.
I live in Missoula and the stores and a few restaurants have good plant-based options, but it I feel like I’m working too hard at this. I’m spending too much time figuring out what to eat and too much time shopping and preparing for it.
How do I make plant-based eating easy?
Plant-based eating doesn’t have to be hard
Thanks for this great question Pamela. I often hear from people that eating plant-based is too hard. It doesn’t have to be.
We eat very delicious and very healthy whole plant-based foods and we keep it easy. My wife and I love leftovers so when we cook, we cook in large quantities. That way when we come home at night all we have to do is heat up a wonderful meal. Plant-based foods also last a lot longer than meals that contain animal fat.
There are also an increasing variety of packaged plant-based foods. Even Campbell’s soup has a new line of plant-based soup. These can be healthy options when life happens and you don’t have the time, energy or willpower to create from scratch.
If you go to SlenderForLife.com and click on Recipes in the menu bar you will have access to more than 35,000 free recipes. I urge you to check out the very first link, My Simple Recipes. These are quick easy great tasting meals that can be made in less than 10-minutes for under $5.00 per serving.
Top ten tips for making healthy eating easy
In my book, Becoming Slender For Life, I have the Top ten tips for making healthy eating easy. I am happy to share these with you:
- When you have a craving for an unhealthy food, first drink a glass of water, then wait 15 minutes before you give in. Occupy yourself with something away from the kitchen or wherever the food is that you’re hoping to avoid. Most often, a glass of water will add to a feeling of fullness, and in just that short amount of time, the craving often passes. (Or perhaps it just gives you more time to evaluate your choice and make a better one!) It’s not about remaining hungry—if you are truly hungry, eat something—just try and choose something healthier.
- Plan your meals in advance—don’t wait until there is nothing healthy in the house to eat. Look at your schedule for the week and plan your meals and snacks accordingly. Be realistic in your planning—how many meals will you really cook from scratch? Will you have the energy when you get home late from work? Having salad ingredients in your refrigerator does you no good if you don’t have the time or energy to prepare one.
- Keep it simple. Fixing complicated gourmet meals every night is challenging. You can make your food both interesting and simple.
- Cook in quantities so that you have leftovers. It’s okay to eat several meals of the same food. I love to have as many as 20 lunches in the freezer, so I can go several weeks with minimal preparation when I’m pressed for time.
- Keep your pantry and freezer full of healthy options. Life happens—you get a cold, the dog needs an emergency trip to the vet, the kids need picking up unexpectedly—and that planned shopping trip could turn into a nightmarish chore when you are already out of time and energy. Those are the days when the drive- through windows beckon with their quick fixes. But knowing you can put off the shopping trip because you have good food choices at home can ease your day considerably.
- Make it fun! Try different recipes, enroll friends to taste new ingredients with you and cook new things together. Visit farmer’s markets and ask lots of questions. Local growers often have great recipes to hand out and know the best ways to cook their produce.
- Consider making your breakfast and/or lunch menu automatic. Once you find the combination of foods that you enjoy and that fuel you properly at breakfast and lunch, it often helps to make those meals the same every day—or perhaps every work day. That way you don’t have to stop and wonder what to eat, or what to shop for. You already know that if you have whole grain cereal and rice milk for breakfast, you’ll have all the energy you need to start your demanding day. And since it’s easy to always have those things on hand, you never find yourself needing to grab a pastry at the coffee stand on your way to work.
- Keep a list of restaurants of all types that you’ve found that can prepare food that’s good for you. When friends invite you to go out for a meal, consult your list and make suggestions you know will fit your healthy new lifestyle.
- Don’t get sabotaged at the movies and other fun events. Most of us have been conditioned to wolf down a tub of popcorn or oversized boxes of candy at movies, sporting events and so on. Hot dogs and beer at the ball game. Cotton candy and Coke at amusement parks. Salt water taffy at the beach. These associations are firmly entrenched in our psyches, so it will take extra effort to enjoy those experiences without the junk food. The solution is to bring your own delicious and nutritious snacks. It doesn’t take long to fix a bag of carrot sticks. Or how about some cold cereal to crunch on? Or for a real treat, make your own trail mix. The key is to not put yourself in situations where everyone around you is indulging in unhealthy food, and you have no other options. This is not about deprivation—it’s about preparation.
- Connect spiritually with the food you eat. Acknowledge the origins of your food and the people who labored to produce it. Imagine your grains growing in the field, your apples ripening in the orchard. Feel the life force still glowing in your food and visualize it spreading throughout your body as you eat. Express gratitude for the healthy meals you enjoy. Affirm that a safe source of food continues to be readily available to you. See the farmers prospering. See yourself full of vitality thanks to the wonderful food you have on your plate.
Know your own weaknesses
One more thing – know your own weaknesses. I know that if carrots or grapes are washed and in sandwich bags, I’ll grab a bag as I run out the door. If I have to stop, wash and bag them – I leave empty handed. So when I buy a bag of carrots or grapes, I wash them all at once and bag them all at once in sandwich bags. It doesn’t take me any more time to do them all than it takes to do one.
Keep this easy and healthy
I urge you to keep this easy and healthy. There is no reason for you to make healthy food hard.
If I can be of support, call or email me. We can meet here in the Medical Dental Building in downtown Seattle, on Bainbridge Island or world-wide online.
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