But, what do you EAT? HOW do you get enough protein?!?
I've heard these questions (and answered them) about 20 times over the last 21 days since I started a Whole Foods-Plant Based Diet. I saw a funny post on the Forks Over Knives facebook page that pretty much sums it up:
So, getting back to the questions that you're sure to hear as soon as anyone hears that you've started a plant-based diet. Let's start with the second one:
How do you get enough protein?
In our culture, we've kind of been conditioned to think that we need meat, dairy, and eggs, for protein. It's true that we need protein, but it's the sources that we should question. On a whole foods-plant based diet, you can get all of the protein that your body needs without all of the fat and cholesterol that makes us gain weight and causes coronary artery disease!
I was skeptical about this, so I've been tracking every single bite that I eat in a nifty little app called "My Fitness Pal" and found that I've been eating between 40 to 60 grams of protein every day, with no meat, fish, dairy, or eggs - and very little fat. There's actually some protein in almost everything we eat on a plant based diet, so if you need more protein for your activity level, you would just increase those foods that have a higher protein level.
But, what do you eat?
The image above, from Forks Over Knives, is funny, but actually pretty accurate. I think everybody thinks I eat salad all day long, but the truth is, we eat a pretty varied diet. As you can see in the first picture above, our meal selections this week included pizza (with Trader Joe's vegan sausage-less sausage and almond "mozzarella-style" cheese (no dairy) - this was actually a "cheat day", lemon-blueberry pound cake, grilled cauliflower and asparagus with beets and brown rice, and delicious black bean and guacamole tacos.
Yes, it's way different from our previous diet. But we've found some delicious meals that we can enjoy and feel good about eating, both during and after.
On that note I'm including my recipe for grilled asparagus and cauliflower with brown rice and roasted beets:
Cooked Brown Rice (Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of brown rice and boil for 30 minutes, drain, return to pot off the heat, cover for another 10 minutes)
4 small to medium Beets, stems and tips cut off
1 bunch Asparagus, stems snapped off
Vegetable Broth - enough to moisten the asparagus all over
2 tsp Pappy's Seasoning
1 head Cauliflower, sliced into steaks
Vegetable Broth - enough to moisten the cauliflower all over
Sprinkle of Garlic Salt, or your favorite seasoning
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Wrap the beets in foil and roast for 1 hour in the oven. Remove, let cook for a few minutes, and slide the skins off with a paper towel.
Heat your barbeque to high heat.
While the beets are roasting:
Place the asparagus in a plastic bag or dish, moisten all over with the vegetable broth and sprinkle with the Pappy's seasoning. Mix it around to distribute the seasoning evenly over the asparagus.
Place the cauliflower in another plastic bag or baking dish, moisten with the vegetable broth and sprinkle with the seasoning, mixing around to distribute evenly.
About 20 minutes before the beets are done, lightly oil the barbeque grates and lay the cauliflower steaks on the hottest part of the grill, then turn over and move to indirect heat.
Pull the beets out of the oven to cool, and place the asparagus on the hottest part of the grill, turning after about 5 minutes.
Take the skins off the beets per the directions above, and the asparagus should be ready. Stick a fork in it, it should be tender-crisp.
Place the brown rice on the plate and top with the grilled cauliflower, then add the grilled asparagus and roasted beets to the plate. Ready to serve!
We had it with a delicious no-oil mustard vinagrette that I found online and it was delicious!