30-day plant- based challenge
If you follow Planted Life on social media @plantedlifeau (if you are, great to have you as part of the tribe and if you don’t, what’s stopping you?) we constantly promote and tantalise you with images of meals that are 100% plant-based. Gone are the days of bland taste plant based meal where the protein would come from a can and the smell would put you off way before you got the first spoonful to your mouth. Adopting a plant-based diet has come a long way.
Eating a plant based diet is about making the most of the colourful array of fruits & vegetables, grains, legumes, wholegrains and beans that are available and creating delicious meals that will have everyone around you wanting what you are eating. Believe us when we say, everyone will want what you are having!
Having followed a Planted Life for the past 20+ years I can be a little biased in saying it’s pretty easy to adopt. I have had many years of practice but I am not ignorant to the fact there are a few hurdles and frustrations along the way, especially when it comes to eating out or grabbing that ‘on the go’ meal. The good news is, it’s getting easier and there are so many more options available so now is certainly one of the best times to go plant-based.
With the lead up to the launch of the #30dayplantbasedchallenge time to concentrate on three things:
You want to make a difference; you want to see your food choices make change in how you feel maybe even how you look and you might also like to see a change in the production of our food, less factory farms, more kindness.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the decision to go plant-based, habits always take a while to find their groove but follow them long enough and that habit does become exactly that, a habit. For starters it’s about reducing your dependency on the ‘meat and animal product’ being the main component of your meal. You can do that right?
“Most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” John L Beckley.
With every change you adopt in your life you do so with planning and this is no different when it comes to making changes to your food habits. If you continue to shop and buy the way you always have, how is change going to happen? For changes to happen you need to be mindful of making those changes so you need to start planning.
Have you asked yourself lately?
- Where do I currently shop and what are the ethics of that establishment?
- What impact do my food choices have on the environment and is the current process sustainable long term?
- Health wise, are my food choices reducing my risk of disease such as bowel cancer, type 2-diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and in turn reducing my life expectancy?
Asking these questions can be quite confronting. We don’t mean to make you uncomfortable but its important you are more mindful about your choices and the reality that these choices have on animal welfare, the environment and your health. We know these are BIG topics so lets start small in order not to scare you off, lets get back to our point – planning.
Look inside your fridge & pantry and ask yourself:
- Do I have plant-based products in abundance?
- Will I need to shop at an alternative grocery store to provide meat free staples?
- Should I be supporting local farmers and shopping at markets where the food is grown on a small scale with care & integrity?
- If eating out, do I need to look at the menu before hand to ensure there is something on there to eat?
- Should I cook more, make lunch and pre prepare dinner because I know I am always home late due to work & fitness commitments?
These questions are certainly what you should be thinking about, writing down and putting into action. You are now becoming more mindful about your food choices and this is certainly a step in the right direction to help with a successful 30 days.
You only eat what you have stocked in the fridge and pantry so lets make sure its stocked well. We always say you are what you eat and if you look in our pantry we are organic, wholesome and a little nutty! Get the basics right and everything else will fall into place.
Take a moment to look at your diet and assess if you feel you need to replace the meat component, if yes look at the alternatives such as sausages, mock chicken pieces, fish fingers, facon and tofurky!
Once you have the alternative to meat component down packed, start by looking at dairy and egg alternatives – this is often the stumbling block for most people. Dairy replacement ideas:
- Replace dairy butter & margarine with a non dairy spread such as nuttalex or a coconut spread
- Replace dairy milk with soy, rice, nut or oat milks
- Buy coconut yoghurt in place of sheep or goat yoghurt
- Look out for Tofutti ‘better than cream cheese’ to use in place of dairy cream cheese (also available in sour cream)
- Source dairy/lactose/whey free cheeses such as nut and coconut based cheeses
- Buy raw organic vegan chocolate or dark chocolate, most are dairy free (plus higher in antioxidants so better for you)
When carrying out your weekly shopping, always read the label on products. Adopting a plant-based diet is also about improving your diet so make the conscious choice to buy organic and buy foods that have had little to no processing.
Our supermarkets these days are filled with over processed foods, if you see food that has numbers and letters in the ingredient listing, do you want to be eating this food in the first place? We need to start being more mindful of the foods we feed & nourish our bodies with. Manufacturers these days include a lot of ‘fillers’ in products that include milk powder and whey – we often ask ourselves why? The reason, it’s cheap and bulks up the product.
By choosing to change your eating habits, doesn’t mean you will be spending all your time reading labels, shopping for different foods and cooking. It’s about making small-informed changes that in the long run, will have you feeling on top of the world!
30-day challenge menu ideas
Here are a few of our suggestions when looking to eat ‘plant-based’
- Burger: vegetable or portobello mushroom burger over beef
- Curry: chana masala or Aloo gobi over lamb vindaloo
- Mexican: black bean enchilada or tofu taco over beef or chicken
- Thai: tofu vegetable green curry over chicken
- Pizza: vegetarian pizza with the lot; with or without vegan cheese or try a pizza naked, you might just like it!
- Turkish: late night kebab, no way go a late night falafel instead (garlic sauce still goes as well!)
- Japanese: swap the sashimi for an inari roll and pickled seaweed
- Sandwiches: ham & cheese is so old school try a tofu steak with an asian style salad
- Soups: cook with a vegetable stock over an animal based stock
- Barbecues: veggie sausages and tofu steaks
Additional meal ideas include:
Fruit or green power smoothie, you can’t help but feel invigorated after sipping on a nutritionally dense drink (or meal) such as this.
What can’t you put in a salad? Gone are the days where a salad is just iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes try making a quinoa, brown rice salad with peppers, pumpkin seeds, carrots, walnuts and rocket. Or even a roasted beetroot and mint salad served with raw walnut cheese.
More than just a starter, a soup is a meal. Super easy to make, using one pot throw all the ingredients in; onion, garlic, kale, celery, carrots, lentils, tomatoes and quiona and 30 minutes later you have something pretty special to serve up.
Who doesn’t love a vegie burger? With added ingredients such as beetroot, pineapple, bean sprouts, coriander, gherkins or even sauerkraut a burger can be served for lunch for dinner with a side of home baked chips or salad.
Like soup, these can be one pot wonders. Just add lentils, beans, vegetables and maybe even a grain, bake in the oven and there you have it a warming, hearty and delicious meal.
We love a burrito or taco super easy to make, just make a bean mix, cut up some lettuce, tomatoes, make a guacamole, a side of jalapenos and you dinner.
A meal prepared and cooked within 10 minutes, much quicker than take away! So many options and easy to go gluten free with this too as the range of wheat free/gluten free pastas on the shelves can be overwhelming (we are partial to a mung bean, black bean and or adzuki bean gluten free pasta). Sauces include a basic tomato sauce, pesto, cheesy (ideal for macaroni and cheese), lentil bolognaise or a simple olive, garlic and basil.
A balanced meal consisting of carbohydrates, protein and fat that can be prepared in minutes (& almost eaten in the same time too). Start with a base of carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa or soba noodles, add a plant-based protein such as tofu, tempeh, black beans or lentils, next fats such as avocado, nuts, shredded coconut or seeds and don’t forget a good serving of leafy greens and fermented vegetables. Other key ingredients include roasted sweet potato, grated beetroot and steamed edamame beans.
Educate. Encourage. Inspire
Planted Life will continue to promote and encourage a plant-based diet, provide inspiration, assistance and motivation to cook and shop 100% plant-based. We hope over the course of the challenge you will feel more comfortable with this term and see hurdles as opportunities and embrace the wonders of plant-based foods.
Are you game? Sign up here.