When transitioning to a plant-based diet, there are questions we all have. In this post, I am going to answer some of the most frequent questions I get asked so you aren’t stuck scrambling through all the conflicting information that is floating around on the internet. Sound good? Let’s get started.
- My biggest struggle is finding foods that I can cook that are easy and affordable. Help!!
This is a common struggle that many of us have when going plant-based or when trying any new way of eating. I have found that a plant-based way of eating is in fact very easy and very affordable. Stay away from the processed plant based products as much as possible and stick to the produce and bulk sections at your grocery store. Greens, beans, grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds are what go into my shopping cart and these items are affordable.
When it comes to spices, it can get expensive. Look for grocery stores that have a bulk section for spices so you are just paying for the spice and not the packaging it comes in. Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Target often have great deals on spices.
If fresh produce is expensive, look in the freezer sections. You can often times get a large bag of frozen fruit or vegetables for a reasonable price and these can be divided up into multiple meals.
Shop in the bulk section of the grocery store. Have you ever seen the price of a bag quinoa? I gasped the first time I saw the price. Find a grocery store with a bulk section and you will see a big difference in the price. I often times buy my grains, nuts, seeds, and spices in the bulk sections of grocery stores.
I also having a growing collection of easy and affordable plant-based recipes on my website so, I suggest popping over there the next time you are looking for something easy and affordable to make. All of my recipes require minimal ingredients.
2. I don’t know how to cook vegetables. Cooking without oil is fun but it’s been a challenge.
If cooking without oil is new to you, then it can be a bit tricky at first. When we are so used to using oil for everything, the thought of not using oil is confusing but don’t worry… Cooking without oil is extremely easy if you are using nonstick pans because the food doesn’t stick. If you prefer to avoid Teflon, then use good quality heavy bottomed stainless steel pans, enamel coated cast iron or ceramic titanium pans.
When sauteing or stir-frying, use small amounts of water or vegetable broth instead of oil. Just keep adding small amounts, 1-2 tbsp at a time, to keep your food from sticking. Do this as often as you need to when browning your food without steaming it.
If you are baking without oil, use a fruit puree like applesauce or mashed bananas instead of oil, butter, or shortening.
When roasting vegetables, there’s no need to use oil. Before placing your vegetables in the oven, season them with whatever spices you choose and add a little vegetable broth, a soy sauce water mixture, or even drizzle with balsamic vinegar. It might take a little longer to roast but, your food will brown nicely.
3. My current issue is knowing what foods I can eat that will leave me feeling full and satisfied.
When removing meat and dairy from your diet, this is a common concern. Make sure you are getting enough calories. When a lot of people switch over to a plant based way of eating, they are still eating the same volume as before. A plant based diet doesn’t have as many calories as diet that has meat and dairy so you might end up needing more volume than you are used to in order to feel full.
There are so many delicious and satisfying plant based meals to try from. If you are worried that you won’t feel full, add more volume by adding more vegetables, grains or starchy vegetables, like potatoes, to your plate. A pound of vegetables is around 200-300 calories so, you can add a lot of volume to your plate simply by adding more vegetables. Add a salad to your meal or some steamed broccoli or sweet potatoes.
If I eat a salad as a meal, I like to add grains or starch as well. I love eating a big salad but if I only eat vegetables, I’m only full for about an hour and then I’m hungry again because a salad with only vegetables doesn’t have many calories. By adding some grains or starch, my body feels full for much longer.
Finally, don’t go hungry. If at the end of a meal you are still feeling hungry, wait a few minutes and then have some more. This isn’t a diet, this is a lifestyle. If you feel hungry all the time then you won’t be successful. Often times, when I hear that people are hungry and then send me what they’ve been eating over the past few days, they aren’t eating enough calories and once they start incorporating more grains and healthy carbohydrates, the problem is gone.