At the Farmers Markets last weekend, several people who told me stories about their journeys to adopt a plant-based, whole food and/or vegan lifestyle and how difficult it’s been to find food that fills them up and tastes good. No matter the reason for your decision- whether it’s health- or environment-related- it can be a tough one to implement. I have been living a mostly-plant-based, whole-food lifestyle for a while now, and have lived the struggle- in fact, it inspired my company Sesamaise Tahini.
In 2010, I moved to Israel right around the time that my body started revolting against me. I guess all the crap I had eaten (and drank) throughout college finally caught up to me. It wasn’t the weight gain that bothered me as much as the exhaustion and growing cycles of depression. After a lot of experimenting, I learned that the food I put into my body had serious consequences on my body and my mind (duh.) Luckily, in Israel fresh fruits and veggies are everywhere and they are obsessed with tahini (the one thing almost all Israelis AND Palestinians can agree onJ) I began experimenting with tahini sauce as a replacement for mayo, sour cream and other dairy-based, chemical-packed sauces and condiments and couldn’t believe how good it was. In everything. Literally. Since that time, I have used tahini in dozens of “non-traditional” ways, helping me to stay full and satisfied and not miss dairy (because when made correctly, it is creamy!)
So, I’ll be using this platform to help people, new or veteran to the plant-based whole-food lifestyle, with tips, tricks, and recipes on how to incorporate MORE plant-based foods into your diet. This isn’t necessarily about being 100% vegan (I’m not), rather to make small, incremental changes that can sustainably benefit your physical and mental health, as well as the health of our planet.
How to Get Started
- Get rid of the processed stuff- Clean out your pantry… out of sight, out of mind. I’d say donate it, but I don’t think anyone should be eating it. Your call.
- Nuts, seeds, legumes and whole (especially ancient) grains are your best friends- stock your pantry with things like almonds, quinoa, lentils, faro/freekeh, whole oats, almond/coconut flour, seeds like sesame, chia, hemp and flax, nut butters, brown rice, dried beans, etc. You can even do this RIGHT NOW by ordering online and in bulk (they don’t go bad!)
- Get those fruits and veggies! You want to find a way that works for your schedule. If you’re too busy to be able to go shopping each week or you just don’t like to, sign up for a CSA from a local farm, or a company like Imperfect Produce (we love them, by the way.) If you like going to a farmers market, find one on a day that’s convenient for you, put it in your calendar and make it part of your routine.
- Google plant-based lifestyle blogs/sites/accounts and follow a couple- these will become a source of inspiration for you on how to make food that is plant-based and tasty.
- Make ahead meal preparation- for the first week, devote 1 evening to making a few things to keep in your fridge that you can assemble into a meal later that week. I like to open a bottle of wine, put on a TV show in the background, and make a batch of quinoa, roast some veggies, make some chia pudding, and prep some veggies to throw a salad together. Once you see how easy it makes the rest of the week, you’ll want to do it again the following one!