I lead a mainly raw and vegan diet/lifestyle and have so for more than half of my life. Many people tell me that they too would like to trying being vegan and or raw, but don’t know where to start or can’t find the self discipline.
My advice, like with anything we learn or try…ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Maybe some people can change a lifetime of eating habits all in one go, but others may need to slowly dip their feet in the unchartered waters before taking the plunge – if they ever decide to take the whole dive or not.
That is why MEATLESS MONDAY is perfect! Maybe you don’t want to be vegan or vegetarian, but you do want to be healthier. Start with one healthier day at a time and here are some menu ideas whether you are cooking at home or on the go!
ON THE GO: SMOOTHIE
A good way to get in lots of vitamins and protein in for breakfast is in the form of a SMOOTHIE. Depending on your options; I like to mix in fruit and vegetables for an added healthy bonus. I’m pretty sure if you search your city or town you will find a local juice bar, but if not Jamba Juice offers many great Smoothie options in most of America. If you like this route, investing in a blender or NutriBullet at home would be a great way to experiment with other ingredients and just have lots of fun drinking your concoctions. It can be super cost-effective too.
AT HOME: FRESH FRUIT & YOGURT
Fresh Fruit and Yogurt (Milk or Non-Milk Based) is full antioxidants, vitamins and pro-biotics for a healthier gut. Not to mention, this is also like a “dessert for breakfast” kind of deal. Crush some unsalted, raw nuts up as a topping and now you’re in business!
ON THE GO: NUTS
Never underestimate the power of nuts. They have saved my life many times when I thought I would starve to death. Also, if you’re not allergic – they are great for you and super tasty. Just make sure and get the unsalted and raw nuts of your choice – you get double points if you can buy them “sprouted”.
AT HOME: ALMOND BUTTER ON TOAST OR APPLES
This is a nice little treat, full of complex carbohydrates and enough sugar to keep your body alert and going. Add banana or strawberries to the toast for a pop of flavor!
ON THE GO: SALAD
You can find a salad almost anywhere, trust this little vegan. All you have to do is locate a place that has all the ingredients you like. I always suggest you looking for local businesses to suuport, but if you don’t have the time or resources – chain restaurants like Chipotle also have great salad options.
AT HOME: SALAD
I like making my own salads at home because I can go ham (no pun or meat intended) with the ingredients that I love – making it even more affordable. I like to make a kale salad I call “Vashtie’s Regular Kale Salad” because I make it regularly and my friends all tell me that it cleans them out…keeping them “regular!”. Basically, it’s a kale salad full of tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, avocado, carrots, beets, and mushrooms. You can literally throw in whatever you like. For dressing, I usually just dash in salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.
ON THE GO: PASTA & SIDE SALAD
Again, finding a meatless pasta dish is not difficult – sometimes you might have to request “no cheese”, it just requires you to ask questions and make special requests – which is not terribly annoying. Some people have real allergies to things and will put wait staffs through an interrogation, trust me – my dad is allergic to butter.
AT HOME: PASTA & ROASTED VEGETABLES
This is where you can have even more fun! Spaghetti or Rigatoni or Penne! Arrabiata Sauce or Pesto or simple Garlic and Olive Oil. The combinations are endless. Even your choice of roasted vegetables! I like to roast Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Kale and Sweet Potato.
ON THE GO: ICE CREAM OR SORBET
If you’re just doing Meatless, Ice Cream is a nice way to end the day. In fact, most desserts – if not all, are pretty meatless…so you can have fun here. If you’re doing vegan, then opt for sorbet. There are many amazing flavors out there.
AT HOME: ICE CREAM OR SORBET
No brainer here!
Realistically, you’re not a bad or unhealthy person if you decide that meat and dairy are your path. My suggestion is always to try and source your food ORGANIC, WILD RAISED, NON-GMO, FREE-RANGE, CAGE-FREE, etc. Just eat as healthy as you can and if you can wiggle in a vegan or vegetarian day, then do it! It can be much more fun and rewarding than you think.
Read the 8 Reasons to Try Meatless Monday via LoveLiveHealth.Com…
1. Meatless Monday can help you live longer
Studies show that eating more plant-based foods and less red meat can increase longevity. You don’t have to adopt a strict vegetarian diet to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet: cutting back on meat just one day a week can bring about the health benefits to help you live longer.
2. Meatless Monday sets you up for a successful and healthy week
The beginning of the workweek sets the tone for the rest of your week. A positive, healthy habit like Meatless Monday sets you on the right track to make better health decisions throughout the rest of the week, so come Thursday you might reach for a granola bar instead of a chocolate bar.
3. It is good for your heart
Cutting back on meat decreases your risk of heart disease, can lower cholesterol, and can decrease blood pressure. Studies have found that vegetarians have a 32% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease than omnivores.
4. It decreases your environmental footprint
Switching out meat for plant-based foods means less water and energy is required to produce your food, and fewer greenhouse gases are expelled during production. It takes a whopping 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef compared to just 108 gallons for a pound of corn. Raising livestock is so resource-intensive because of how much corn, soy, and other feed must be grown to feed the animal. The resource footprint of a cow or pig includes all of the water, land, and energy required to grow the food that the animal eats, so it is significantly higher than the resource footprint of plants.
5. It’s easy and delicious
Meatless meals don’t have to be boring or time-intensive. Thanks to the internet thousands of easy, delicious, and free vegetarian recipes are available at your fingertips to help make your Meatless Monday meals the most delicious meals of your week. Dishes that do not normally include meat – like enchiladas, pasta dishes, or soup – are great for starting out. Protein-rich foods like beans, lentils, and tofu can easily replace meat in traditional dishes like stir-fries, tacos, and casseroles.
6. It can help you lose weight
Eating more fiber-rich plants lowers your risk of obesity, and meals that don’t feature meat tend to focus more on vegetables, grains, and fruits. Meatless diets also tend to be lower in fat, particularly saturated fat, and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.
7. It can help you out of a food rut
Shopping, meal planning, and cooking are time intensive, so it’s easy to eat the same meals over and over again until they become boring. Adopting a challenge like Meatless Monday encourages you to branch out and experiment with new recipes and ingredients, bringing new life to your kitchen.
8. It can save you money
Meat tends to be more expensive than fruits, vegetables, and grains. Cutting out meat for just a few meals a week gives you more money to spend on healthy foods (or, if you’re like me, dessert).