Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Plant based pointers

So I think I have now sent this or a variation of this to a handful of people so I figured I should probably put it on my blog. 

Obviously...I don't think going plant based is hard. I figure if I can do it, anyone can since I travel for work and never know exactly where I am going to be able to eat. 

Breakfast: It's my hardest meal when I am on the road, that’s why I carry my magic bullet blender with me. On the road, if I am not in a hotel with a little kitchenette or at least a fridge and microwave, I make my vega one shake. So I buy VegaOne (it’s pricey, but I feel it’s worth it and I typically only use it when I travel) add almond milk and a banana. Keeps me full until lunch. At home, I typically do oatmeal, usually whole rolled oats or steel cut oats, you can make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for days. I add defrosted blueberries, raspberries, chia seeds and ground flax seed and any other fruit I feel like. I never was an oatmeal lover, but with the fruit, I really like it and it’s very filling. There is a good recipe in My Beef With Meat for Rips Big Bowl, his healthy cereal, it’s pretty good too. Another option, instead of eggs, you can use tofu and do a tofu scramble. Sometimes I’ll do that on the weekend. I am not a tofu lover, but there are some good tofu scramble recipes out there and adding things like salsa, black beans, potatoes, etc helps. Adding a little bit of kala namak salt (black himalayan salt) gives it an eggy taste since it has a slight sulfur flavor (which is what gives eggs their taste)

Making things ahead of time really helps: I do beans from scratch and freeze them in bags to use during the week. Soak dry beans overnight, rinse well in the morning and cook in a slow cooker all day. Adding a piece of kombu, a type of seaweed, helps to degas them. I am trying to cook on Sundays and either put stuff in the fridge for during the week or freeze stuff so I always have stuff to eat, that way it just makes it easier to eat healthy. When I am pushed for time, I typically do something like a black bean and sweet potato burrito with a side of veggies and a salad. Mexican is easy to do so fast that I tend to gravitate to that, and it’s always been my fav type of food. Easy to do tacos that way too.

The only supplement that I take is vitamin B12. I am not deficient, but it’s harder to get on a plant based diet. Actually a lot of meat eaters and omnivores are deficient in it. The brand I use is Deva, it’s vegan and it just dissolves in your mouth. I get it from Amazon.

My plant based gurus are: 

T. Colin Campbell, PhD (
Caldwell Esselstyn, MD (
Rip Esselstyn (
John McDougall, MD (
Neil Barnard, MD (

I heard Dr. Esselstyn speak at Portland Veg Fest last September and it was awesome. Started following a low fat, little to no oil route last year. I use a lot of Happy Herbivore recipes ( and those from Engine 2 Diet, Forks Over Knives cookbook, Dr. McDougal.

If you want some good books to read on the benefits of a plant based diet, here are my suggestions: 

The China Study (T. Colin Campbell, PhD) - the China Study is what really pushed me over the edge and made me go vegan
Whole (T. Colin Campbell, PhD) - his new book Whole came out in May
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (Caldwell Esselstyn, MD)
Engine 2 Diet (Rip Esselstyn)  
My beef with meat (Rip Esselstyn)

There are also some good books on plant based/vegan eating in the dummy series and idiots guide series. 

One really easy way to try to go plant based and not have to really think about what you are going to eat is via The Happy Herbivore's weekly meal plan website Every week, Lindsay puts out a new meal plan that covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and has all the recipes for the items in that weeks menu. She also includes a shopping list and it's very easy, not hard to find stuff. It's $5.00 for each meal plan and the new one's come out on Wednesday. It's a great way to not have to think about what you are going to make or eat. She has two plans, individual and a family plan. It really takes the work out of thinking about it! She also has 3 cookbooks (a 4th one is coming out later this year) that you can get on or other sites. Her recipes are easy and taste good too! I often add a bit more spice that she does. 

Happy Herbivore weekly meal plans

Happy Herbivore website:

The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

Happy Herbivore Abroad: A Travelogue and Over 135 Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes from Around the World 
Other cookbooks that I use frequently: 

Superfood Kitchen: Cooking with Nature's Most Amazing Foods (this is the updated version)

Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It!

Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution

The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds

Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year

I have tons more (a bookshelf full) but figured this was a good start!

Books about becoming vegan, staying vegan, benefits of a plant based diet, etc. 

The Ultimate Vegan Guide

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health

Vegan For Life Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet 

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure

Good websites, some informational some are recipe blogs: (cuz sometimes I post some good recipes!)

and tons more, lots of good vegan blogs with recipes, etc. out there too! 

I’m assuming you knew this would be very long winded!

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