‘Tis the season to fill your plates and your bellies with lots of fruits and veggies. Making it the perfect time to experiment with a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, be prepared, being healthy and vegged out is not as easy as it may appear.
I have spent more than half my life as a vegetarian and the last nine years as a vegan. On my journey to becoming a power-plant filled vegan, I have learned so much about my body and myself.
How it all began…
I spent the first 5 years of my vegetarian journey indulging on ice cream, pretzels, diet coke and a ton of other chemical ridden foods. But as a teenager, I thought this was a lot better than eating meat. Sadly, I still meet vegetarian and vegans who indulge on processed foods and sugar filled sweets in an effort to avoid eating meat. Remember, being vegetarian/vegan does not equal healthy!
My wake up call…
After years of stomach problems and multiple nutritional deficiencies, I slowly transitioned my power-less diet into a power-full diet by eliminating my favorite junk foods and adding in tons of greens. Shortly after, I fell into a rut of eating the same veggies everyday, which created a whole new list of health issues, including extreme weight loss, reduced energy and hormonal imbalances. I felt like I made so many great changes, but I was still struggling to be as healthy as I could be.
My Green Goddess…
After reading a ton of books, blogs and websites, I knew I needed just a little extra guidance so I sought the help of a nutritionist, Dr. Kristen Bentson, who I like to call my green goddess. After a complete analysis of my daily diet, we realized I needed to amp up my calorie and protein in take. Getting protein can be a struggle as a vegan!! It was so amazing to learn which veggies, beans and grains had more protein. We kept my diet Clean & Green, but we added in more of my favorite protein packed foods, such as shitake mushrooms, broccoli and lentils. My energy increased and my overall health improved drastically.
Below I listed some of my fav foods that fill my heart and belly and some important go-veg tips. I also promise to start sharing some vegged out recipes throughout the summer! Check my Facebook Page for some of my favorite smoothie recipes.
Fav Foods that give me my nutrients, energy and glow:
Lentils (18g of protein in 1 cup!)
When I am in a hurry and traveling, many of these ingredients go into a blender with a scoop of Garden of Life Raw Vegan Protein Powder. Don’t be afraid to throw greens in your smoothies!
Visit your local farmers’ markets for your favorite veggies and to try some new ones! Get to know the farmers and learn about their farming methods.
When dining out, don’t be afraid to ask for a plate of grilled, steamed or sautéed veggies. Most restaurants will accommodate.
If you are considering vegging out for the summer or for a lifetime, consider talking to a Nutritionist. I Love Dr. Bentson and I know she can help change your life. I know she has changed mine. Check out her Veganize Me Program, which includes a 30-Minute Vegan Training Session, 7-Day Meal Plan, Guide to Eating Out, A List of her Top 40 Vegan Products and additional Bonus Content!
Keep it Green & Clean this Summer!
As mentioned last week, here is an up-cycled mantra… Some