You know those conversations that happen in bed right before you go to sleep?
They’re not 100% lucid because you’re about to drift off, but you keep talking because technically you’re still awake and apparently you still have stuff to say.
The other night I had one such conversation. I was in bed, about to drift off when I found myself in a full on drowsy conversation about Katy Perry, Bradley Cooper and Russell Brand.
It started when my girlfriend and I were moments from sleep when out of the blue she said, “Russell Brand really likes to wear tank tops – the kind with the big arm holes.”
And that was it. I waited, but she didn’t have anything else to add. I wasn’t asleep yet and it felt weird to have that be the closing statement of the day. So I added in the fact that I think he’s super cute and wicked smart and I imagine him being super smelly, but maybe that’s part of his appeal.
Then the sleepy conversation took a Katy Perry turn and we agreed that she looks like she smells really fresh, but maybe a little too fresh. Fresh to the point of smelling like a shower and not a human.
Then I said I picture her with someone like Bradley Cooper, and my girlfriend replied, “No, no, no I think Ryan Phillipe is more her type.” At this point I busted out laughing, and I couldn’t stop.
Our conversation was so inconsequential and ridiculous that it was actually hilarious. Like we fucking know anything about Katy Perry, Bradley Cooper or Russell Brand.
And then the thought of Russell Brand in a tank top with big arm holes popping up in my girlfriend’s brain made me laugh even harder. And the fact that she wasn’t going anywhere with that thought, apart from saying it out loud, made tears run down my face.
I laughed so hard that when I was done, I wasn’t a wee bit tired anymore. The laughter took me far from sleep, so I laid in bed and I brainstormed today’s fuckery.
Today’s fuck – rama is only a little bit about Katy Perry, her exes, and her potential flings, the rest of it is all about taking the mystery out of eating better.
But before I start, I want to let you in on a newsflash that will make your life easier.
On December 5th 2015 I’m hosting a free live webinar all about how to make nutritionally balanced plant-based eating ridiculously easy. Reserve your spot here, and then come back to me and we’ll work this out. Oh, and I’m also giving away sample plant-based meal plans to everyone who shows up to the party.
Okay – here’s the thing. Most people overthink taking meat, dairy, eggs and processed food out of their diet.
And I get it. In the beginning, it can be tricky to navigate all the new foods that will be part of your life that were once foreign. When I first thought about going vegan I thought that my food would be limited and there would be less choices for me to eat. I found that the exact opposite was true. Here’s why.
When the diet includes meat, dairy, eggs, and processed foods, most people end up eating the same standard stuff over and over again, because it’s easy, it’s there, and it’s familiar.
Eggs, yogurt or cold cereal with milk for breakfast, meat and cheese sandwiches for lunch, cheese pizza for dinner, and chips and cookies in between. Oh, and cheese, lots and lots of cheese. Damn it, cheese!
When people think about taking meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods out of their diet, the thought leaves them paralyzed with fear because: what the hell will they eat?
People find this daunting as shit not because it isn’t possible to take these items out of the diet and still eat like a damn champion eater, but because it’s foreign and unfamiliar.
They’ve rarely had a breakfast that doesn’t consist of eggs or cereal with milk, they can’t imagine lunch without deli meat, and if cheese is off limits, what the hell do they do about dinner?
The reality is, once we take these items out of the diet, we end up replacing them with other things, and honestly, the possibilities are like Dolly Patron’s boobs, endless.
So what happens, is our whole world of food opens up and we’re flooded with options. This takes us out of our routine of the standard 3 meals a day we’re used to eating and it introduces us to a whole new world of food that we had no idea was even out there. And it turns out, that world of food can be damn tasty.
So if you’ve been wanting to eat less meat, dairy, eggs and / or processed foods, but are hesitant because you’re worried you won’t have many options once you drop these things from your diet, I’m here to give you another viewpoint, a little cheerleading, and to break down exactly how to go about doing it in 4 easy steps.
I’ll start with the difference between vegan and plant-based.
Vegan = A lifestyle that excludes meat, dairy, eggs, and anything else derived of animal products, like honey.
Plant-Based = short for whole-food plant-based and focuses on whole plant foods – veggies, fruit, whole grains, legumes and beans, and nuts and seeds. This is basically a vegan diet, but without anything processed, including oil and sugar.
Regardless of your current diet or your healthy eating goals, sit back, relax and follow along. Here’s a simple blueprint that will make it easier – I got you.
Write down in detail what three days of typical eating looks like for you. Include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Here’s an example:
Bacon, 2 eggs, toast with butter, a banana and milk
Turkey sandwich with mayo, tomatoes, lettuce and mustard and sour cream and onion potato chips
Spaghetti and meatballs with marinara sauce, garlic bread and a side salad with ranch dressing.
Cheese and crackers and a candy bar
Decide what direction you want to take your eating and start making some alterations to the meals you wrote down.
Do you want to try eating vegan for a while and just ditch the meat, dairy and eggs, or do you want to try plant-based eating, and go without meat, dairy, eggs and processed food, including oil and sugar?
This is not a trick question and it’s entirely up to you. I promote plant-based eating because it’s the healthiest of the healthy – nutritionally speaking, but if you want to start out transitioning with vegan foods and work your way to plant-based, that’s awesome.
You can also do a mix of vegan and plant-based. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
So the second step is to choose which direction you want to go (vegan or plant-based), look at the meals you wrote down, and scratch out anything that falls under the category of what you want to avoid.
Here’s how this would look if you were taking the vegan route.
Bacon, 2 eggs, toast with butter, milk, and a banana
Turkey sandwich with mayo, tomatoes, lettuce and mustard and sour cream and onion potato chips
meatballs and marinara sauce, garlic bread and a side salad with ranch.
Cheese and crackers and a Milky Way candy bar
Next, you would write in vegan alternatives in place of everything you crossed out (or plant-based if you went that route, but I’ll work that out in a sec). Here’s what this might look like.
Vegan bacon, scrambled tofu, toast with Earth Balance buttery spread, almond milk, and a banana
Vegan turkey sandwich with vegan mayo, tomatoes, lettuce and mustard and cracked black pepper potato chips
Spaghetti with vegan meatballs and marinara sauce, vegan garlic bread and a side salad with vegan ranch.
Vegan cheese and crackers and a vegan candy bar (or dark chocolate)
This took only a little tweaking to make this day of meals totally vegan. Is there room for improvement? Nutritionally speaking, yes.
But this is a fantastic start for someone just starting to toy around with the idea of dropping meat, dairy and eggs from their diet.
Vegan transition foods can be a blessing for people who want to make the switch, and this menu is void of animal protein and animal fat, which are two of the key factors that make eating meat, dairy and eggs so unhealthy for your beautiful bod.
Okay – let’s say in step two instead of trying a vegan menu, you wanted to try some plant-based eating. Awesome! Here’s how you would work this out.
Along with taking the meat, dairy and eggs out of the meals you wrote down in step one, you would also take out anything processed, including oil and sugar.
Let’s take a looksy at what this would look like.
Tofu scramble with lots of veggies, sprouted toast with almond butter, and a banana
Veggie sandwich on sprouted bread with lemon tahini dressing and a side of steamed broccoli with coconut aminos and sesame seeds.
Whole wheat, brown rice or zucchini pasta with marinara sauce, lots of veggies and whole roasted garlic cloves, and a side salad with cashew ranch dressing.
Hummus and cucumber rounds and some dried figs or dates.
This took only minor tweaking as well, and you’re left with a hearty, micronutrient rich day of eating.
Whether you chose vegan, plant-based, or a combination of the two, follow your new three day meal plan and see how you feel after those three days are up.
If you feel better, keep it up. If you have to tweak some things, have at it.
Just know that vegan alternatives are super easy to find and you don’t necessarily have to go to fancy health food stores to find vegan versions of your fave foods. And if you want to dabble in plant-based eating, it’s even easier and cheaper because most of your grocery shopping will take place in the produce section instead of the packaged food section, saving you cash money in the bank.
See, it’s not so mysterious and complicated after all.
- Make a detailed list of three days worth of your current meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
- Decide if you want to go vegan or all the way plant-based (with vegan you won’t eat meat, dairy or eggs, with plant-based you won’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, or processed foods). Go through your detailed list of meals and scratch anything out that falls under the category of what you want to avoid.
- Go through that same list and add in vegan or plant-based options to each thing that you scratched out.
- Follow that meal plan for three days and see how you feel.
Whatever direction you want to go, give yourself some love for being open and ready to make some changes – you deserve all of the health and happiness that this world has to offer. Allow this to be your process, and do whatever feels best for you.
If plant-based eating is something that lights you up, reserve your spot in my free live webinar on December 5th. I’ll peel back the layers and make it ridiculously easy for you. I’m also throwing in some sample meal plans to everyone who joins me. Jump on board, and reserve your spot here. Who knows, there might even be boob analogies.
Today’s recipe will turn tempeh skeptics into tempeh believers. Trust me, just make this – it’s plant-based, and insanely satisfying. Share a picture with our private Facebook group when you make it!
I’m 99.3% certain that even Russell Brand would be totally satisfied with this meal. And now I’m picturing him eating this while wearing a tank top – the kind with big arm holes.
Tempeh Sloppy Joes
1 cup onion, diced (120g)
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced (85g)
1 cup celery, chopped (120g)
1 package tempeh, diced (2 cups / 225g)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dried basil (8g)
4 large dates, pit taken out and simmered in water for several minutes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (12g)
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large pot and sauté the onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a splash of water when they start to stick to the pan.
- Add the bell pepper, celery, tempeh, garlic, and dried basil, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring intermittently and adding just a splash of water when the ingredients start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- While the veggie / tempeh mixture is cooking, drain the dates from the water (be sure the pit is taken out) and place them in the blender along with the soy sauce, water and apple cider vinegar, and blend until totally smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pour the date mixture and the the tomato sauce in with the veggie / tempeh mixture and stir.
- Simmer on low, uncovered for 35-40 minutes stirring frequently. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will become. You want the consistency to be nice and thick, not soupy.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- When you turn off the heat, add in the parsley and give it one more stir.
- To serve, spread some lemon tahini dressing on a whole wheat or sprouted bun, add a generous amount of Sloppy Joe mixture and pile high with spinach and onions
This freezes well, so if you have extra, pop it in the freezer for another time.
I hope you have a happy week. May it be filled with easy transitions.