It’s About Adding, Not Subtracting.
The word DIET makes me cringe. Literally. When I see that word, I know it’s going to be taking something away from me. Diet for me means Deprivation In Every Turn (DIET). Because of that, I have never been on a diet in my life. I just don’t believe in deprivation as a strategy.
- I was raised in Malaysia with meat in every single meal all my life. Since moving to the United States 10 years ago, I have learnt about factory farming of animals and the devastating effects it has on one’s health and the environment. I am also a co-author of a vegan cookbook called Bold Vegan – Food Of South East Asia (I’m the non-vegan half).
However, in my personal quest to reduce my meat intake, I just add more variety and good ingredients to my plate instead of deprive myself of the food I am used to. It’s that simple. Changing the way we eat is a process and by adding more good ingredients to your current plate of food, you don’t have to feel you need to give up something you love. The better you eat, the better you will feel and eventually the food that used to taste really, really good will start tasting not as good and your body will naturally want more of the good stuff.
Here are some examples of how I have managed to drastically reduce my meat intake over the last few years.
Add more greens to your current plate of food. Any kind of greens. Just pile them on your plate. You can eat as much as you want of these, the more the better. You can eat them raw or you can lightly saute them with some garlic and a tiny bit of olive oil. Here are some of my favorite. Oddly enough I like them raw with no dressing.
Rocket (AKA Arugula)
Greens are packed with phytonutrients which help prevent some type of cancers, heart disease and repairs skin cells. They are also the most nutrient dense food and a healthy source of vitamin A and K plus minerals such as calcium and iron. They are also packed with fiber and have zero fat content. For every meal, add on greens to what you already like to eat.
2. Vegetable & fruit juices
Add a glass of vegetable & fruit juice to your daily routine. It may sound kinda weird to mix both fruit and vegetables in a drink but here’s something to ponder — by extracting the fiber of the fruits and veggies, you get a direct shot of enzymes, vitamins and minerals directly to your blood stream. This will boost your immune system in a big way – it will also make the whites of your eyes whiter as well as make your skin glow. Don’t worry about the loss of fiber in juicing – if you incorporate all the tips in this post then you will be getting PLENTY of fiber!
The image below is how much fruit and vegetables it takes to make 40oz / 1 litre of juice. You probably would not be able to eat all that fruit and vegetables in one meal but I’m sure you sure can drink one liter of juice.
Here’s the juice recipe from the image above.
Handful of parsley
A piece of ginger
A handful of mint
3 celery stalks
1/2 head of romaine
1/2 bunch of kale
3 collard leaves
Yes! Love them! Here’s what you can do. Add to or swap out white rice for brown rice. Brown rice contains more fiber and nutrients. The milling process for white rice removes the outer husk layer (brown cover) which is also where most of the nutrients like magnesium, iron and vitamins are stored. The grain is then polished using glucose or talc. Also, the dietary fiber contained in white rice is around a quarter of brown rice.
Swap white pasta for whole wheat pasta and swap out white bread with whole wheat bread. Generally, the less processed and more natural your food is, the healthier it is for you.
Add variety to your dishes like Quinoa, Barley, Millet and Cous Cous. These grains are protein packed especially Quinoa which happens to be a complete protein. One cup of cooked Quinoa contains 8 grams or protein compared to a brown rice which only contains 5 grams. You can eat and serve Quinoa like you would rice which makes it really versatile.
Also, add on other protein like beans which also happen to be incredibly high in protein, high in fiber have zero fat and helps slow down sugar absorption.
Once you add better and healthier items to your eating habits, you naturally tend to lose interest in junk food and unhealthy food. By adding more vegetables, grains and plant protein to your diet, you remain full longer and you don’t get that heavy and sleepy feeling immediately after a meal. Did I mention that once you add more of the items above, your potty experience becomes amazing! Constipation? What’s that?
And you know what? If you do feel like having a Coke or some fried chicken once in a while — just do it! Once again, we’re not going for deprivation here.
Follow her on twitter : @luanne415
Check out her website: boldVEGAN