How to Go Veg!!

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There are many reasons to adopt a whole-foods, plant-based diet, but often times people just don’t know where to start! I have been a vegetarian for half of my life– so going vegan was easy as 1-2-3.

Some people have a easier time changing their eating patterns than others. You have to find what motivates you and work with that! Perhaps you are concerned about health or your future health?  The health of your children or family? You are passionate about animals or the environment issues? Or maybe you recognize how your food choices play apart of a much larger ecological food system (see TedXManhatten)!? Use your motivation as a driver for action!! Don’t wait until you have a disease or chronic health condition to decide to change! Don’t wait until the ecosystem is completely destroyed to change! PREVENTION and ACTION start now— it starts today!

Pick one meal and transform it and/or find foods that you already enjoy that don’t have dairy, cheeses, meat/fish/poultry, animal fat (e.g. butter, lard) in them …. (e.g. peanut butter sandwiches, quinoa salads, oatmeal, vegetable soups). Adapt foods you already love (chili, split-pea soup, pasta dishes), and work towards incorporating new whole-foods, plant-based options into your weekly menu. When I moved from vegetarian to vegan, my whole family and I realized we were eating such a wide variety of foods….. and we were using them in ways we never would have imagined! Cashews used as cream cheese!? Cauliflower used like chicken!? Our taste-buds and our minds have expanded! I am not saying you need to go vegan, but moving towards veg, incorporating more plant-based meals into your life can come with some great health benefits (see Why I became VeganOldways: Plant-basedthe cheapest form of healthcareWhat’s good for you is good for the planet!Blue ZonesTMAO and Chronic DiseaseRed Meat Consumption and MortalityHealthy Aging and Increased Longevity with Plant-based).

Here are a few good pointers on ways to switch-out animal based products with plant-based products. I also have provided recipe ideas to get you started!

1. Animal milk/ creamers–> plant-based milk/ creamers (almond, soy, rice, hemp, coconut)

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2. Yogurt—> coconut, soy, almond based yogurt or try  chia pudding

Homemade banana cashew cream  is one of my favorites!

coconut mango chia
3. Cheese—> Veg cheese productsnutritional yeastbutternut squashnut-cheese , creamed cauliflowerhomemade “tofu” ricottaCashew cheesecreamy avocado , jumbo stuffed shellsalfredo , hummus , coconut milk cheddar 

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4. Eggs–> For cooking use a “flax-egg” or “chia-egg“, chickpea & potato omelet,  tofu scrambleQuiche!, deviled eggs

*hampton creek is coming out with a plant-based egg soon

tofu scramble with brown rice

5. Butter–> coconut oil/ butter, olive oil, nut butters.

When baking, just find vegan recipes on the internet! There are plenty out there. See a few of my favorites listed below!

6. Meat/Poultry/Fish–> Seitan, tempeh, tofubeanslentils, mushroomssplit peas

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Tempeh sandwich

Sweet and sour tempeh

Curried Tempeh “chicken” salad

bro

Seitan Broccoli with BBQ  (pictured above with my plant-powered bro!)

Veg-”tuna” salads

Veg-eggless egg salad

oh she glows chillie

Smoky BBQ Chili (pictures above)

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Lentil “meat” balls (pictured above)

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Lentil walnut loaf (pictured above)

Lentil sweet potato chili

Split-pea soup

pistachio crusted tofu

Pistachio-crusted tofu (pictured above).

Raw veg-sushi

chili

Veg chili (pictured above)

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Portobello Mushroom and Cashew Cheese Burger (pictured above)

14 Shiitake mushroom recipes

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Shiitake Mushrooms & Basil

15 Minute Bok-choy and ginger shiitake soup

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Falafels (pictured above with a homemade tofu dressing)

Buffalo style cauliflower 

veg burger

Indian Veggie burger  (pictured above)

Quinoa Veggie burger

Veg-burgers

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Pad Thai (pictured above)

5 Butternut Squash recipes

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Vegan Sweet potato chili (pictured above)

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Black bean and avocado salad 

10 Vegan Breakfast Ideas

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Miso Soup (add, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lentils and/or mushrooms!!!)

Plant-based sauces, dips, creams 

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(A homemade raw carrot cake with cashew frosting)

Plant-based Appetizers breakfast, lunchdinnersweets

lentils and squash

Sometimes veg-eating is as simple as mixing leftovers together– like my mix of veggies, beans, squash, tomato sauce, avocados, and nutritional yeast pictured above ….. creativity, people, creativity!!!

More Tips and Resources:

  1. Oh My Veggies: How to make almost any meal meatless
  2. NY Times: Some tips on going veg
  3. Happy Cow: Find Veg Friendly Dining
  4. Oh She Glows: Tips for Eating Out as a Vegan
  5. Vegetarian Nutrition from the Dietitians 
  6. Vegan Health
  7. Raising a Vegan or Vegetarian 
  8. Healthy Veg-kids: Pediatric Position Paper
  9. Check your Carbon Footprint: Nprint
  10. Check your Water Footprint: Water footprint

Maybe you will find that being 100% vegan (or even vegetarian) isn’t for you, then check-out Mark Bittman on “VBS: Eat Vegan before 6“, TedTalk on “Why I am a weekday vegetarian” ….Perhaps a 90/10 ratio of plant-based to animal-sourced foods is better for you? If you do consume animal-products, opt for higher quality….. (see my blog post “The Myths of Protein“).

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When I was in 4th or 5th grade, I decided pigs were PIGS not food. They were juts too cute! Perhaps it was that baby pig I fell in love with on a summer road trip that made me stop eating pigs….. I wanted to take him home with me so bad. 

In good health,

Moxie Dietitian

Updated on June 30, 2014

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