By Molly Patrick
Nov 24, 2015
Most people overthink taking meat, dairy, eggs and processed food out of their diet. Which is why I’ve designed a simple blueprint to eating less meat dairy and processed foods that you will find below.
If you’re new to this way of eating, it can be tricky to navigate all of the new foods that will now be part of your life that were once foreign to you. 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. But 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 things 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 and chicken is to be avoided, 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 Parton’s boobs, endless.
So what happens is that our whole world of food opens up and we’re flooded with options that we had no idea even existed. 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 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 of exactly how to go about doing that in 4 easy steps.
I’ll start with the difference between Vegan and Whole Food Plant Based.
Vegan = A lifestyle that excludes meat, dairy, eggs, and anything else derived from animal products, such as honey and leather.
Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) = A way of eating that 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’ve got you.
ONE: Write down in detail what three days of typical eating currently 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
TWO: Decide what direction you want to take your eating and then start making some alterations to the meals that 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 Whole Food 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 Whole Food 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 towards Whole Food Plant Based, that’s awesome too.
You can even do a mix. 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 WFPB), look at the meals that 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
THREE: Next, you would write in Vegan alternatives in place of everything you crossed out (or WFPB if you went that route, but I’ll work that out with you 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
This took only a little tweaking to make this day of meals totally vegan. 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 Whole Food Plant Based eating. Awesome! Let’s high five and work that shit out.
Along with taking the meat, dairy and eggs out of the meals that you wrote down in step number 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, micro-nutrient rich day of eating
FOUR: Whether you chose Vegan, WFPB, or a combination of the two, follow this blueprint for three days worth of food and then follow through with it. It sounds crazy, but you will notice a positive difference in your energy and how you feel after just three days are up.
If you feel better, keep it up. If you want 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 WFPB 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! And it’s even easier when you let us do the planning for you and sign up for our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans.
- 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 Whole Food Plant Based (with Vegan you won’t eat meat, dairy or eggs, with Whole Food 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 WFPB options to each item 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.
Today’s recipe will turn tempeh skeptics into tempeh believers. Trust me, just make this – it’s WFPB and insanely satisfying. Share a picture with our private Facebook group when you make it!
- 1 cup onion 120g, diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper 85g, diced
- 1 cup celery 120g, chopped
- 1 package tempeh 2 cups / 225g, diced
- 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 12g, chopped
- 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
I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with easy transitions.