If I could eat a stick of butter right now, I totally would. But I can’t, because I threw all of the butter out about 10 days ago when I started this crazy Plant Based Diet. If you’ve followed my recipe blog Sublimelysimple.com. you know that, although I LOVE vegetables , I also love my butter, cream, tri-tips, rack of lamb, and cheese, any kind of cheese. So what could possibly make this alfredo, pesto, lots of butter, and don’t forget the sour cream, beef, lamb and salmon-loving, home cooking, self-proclaimed foodie take up a WHOLE FOODS- PLANT BASED DIET?
Let’s back up to about a week and a half ago. My husband has a history of heart attack, and when he recently was experiencing extreme shortness of breath upon little exertion, we were grateful to immediately get an appointment with the Cardiologist. While they were investigating the cause, the Cardiologist expounded on the benefits of a plant based diet for those with Coronary Artery Disease, explaining that scientific studies have shown that the diet can actually reverse the disease! On the Cardiologist’s suggestion, I downloaded Dr. Esselstyn’s book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease:The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure” that night (and read through about 1/2) and watched the “Forks Over Knives” video on Netflix the next day.
I was convinced, and I knew that my husband needed to follow this diet to extend his lifespan, but I also knew, as the “cook” of the family, that there was no way he could follow it unless I adopted the diet as well. So… I did.
It’s not easy. There is no magic pill. And no, the vegan version of meat doesn’t even come close to the taste of real meat, so don’t even try. For me, the only way to be able to follow this diet, is to not try to copy “real food” but to find a way to enjoy this new type of food on its own. As a cook, I accept this as a challenge.
My goal, in this blog, will be to try to share my own journey, in the hopes that it can provide some encouragement or support for others that are finding this whole “plant based diet” thing to be a real pain in the ass. But we know we need it, so, like it or not, here we are. Please feel free to comment with your own observations about your own journey - as I said, it’s not easy, and we need each other.
On that note, I’m including the recipe for our most delicious meal of the last 10 days! We liked it so much, we had it twice! I should warn, I deviate from Dr. Esselstyn’s diet in that I allow a small portion of avocado, and, as you will see in future recipes, I will include nuts on occasion. I also sometimes include a tiny amount of olive oil which is also a no-no on Dr. Esselstyn’s diet, but is such a huge improvement over our previous diet, that I think it’s ok….
For the guacamole:
1 or 2 ripe avocados
1 Tbsp Lime Juice
Chopped Cilantro to taste
For the Filling:
1/4 of a Red Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Chopped or Minced Garlic
About 1 to 2 teaspoons of diced green chiles, canned or fresh
1 to 2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning (I use gluten free)
1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 Tomatoes, diced
Chopped Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
Jarred Salsa (My favorite is La Victoria!)
Corn tortillas, heat as many as you need for your group, I used 5 for 2 people, no leftovers!
Ahead of time: mash the avocados with the rest of the guacamole ingredients, mix well, and set in the fridge until you're ready.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat until hot, then add the onion, garlic, and green chiles, adding 1 to 2 Tbsp vegetable broth to prevent sticking. Stir frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the taco seasoning and black beans. Add additional broth only to moisten if it starts to look dry.
For perfect toasted corn tortillas: heat a dry skillet to high heat, dip the corn tortillas in water, shake off and place in the heated skillet. Cook about 30 to 40 seconds until just slightly browned on the bottom. Turn over and cook an additional 30 seconds. Remove to plate to keep warm and cover.
To serve! Lay 2 Corn Tortillas on the plate, and top with the bean mixture, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce and salsa, in any order that works for you. If you're my husband, you'll go back for one or two more, so be sure to heat enough tortillas!
Please let me know if you try this, if you have suggestions, if you have complaints, and...if you're just really having a hard time with this "plant based diet" thing.