One of the most frequently asked questions I see from people who are curious about switching to a plant based diet is, “What do people eat when eating a whole food plant based diet?” It might seem like taking meat, dairy, eggs, oil, and processed food out of the diet leaves only a few sad choices, but I have found the exact opposite to be true.
When I was vegetarian, my trips to the grocery store were a predictable snooze.
Cheese, eggs, pasta, bread, refried beans, tortillas, bagels, sour cream, cream cheese, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, chips, maybe an apple or two, granola, and power bars. I never shopped at farmers markets, and going grocery shopping was just another chore on my to-do list.
As I got healthier and transitioned to a whole food plant based diet, grocery shopping became an art that I absolutely loved, and a whole new world of food revealed itself to me. My grocery cart or farmers market basket would be filled with different colors and textures, bursting with freshness, and I would try new ingredients each week.
I remember the first time I made kabocha squash and thought to myself, “what the fuck, how have I never had this?!?!?” Purple cauliflower, romanesco, different types of peas, fennel, daikon, kohlrabi, dragon fruit, orca beans, kasha – I was waking up to what had always been there, but I had been too preoccupied with cheese, pasta, and eggs to notice.
The more I got into eating whole plant foods, the more I realized that I wasn’t even thinking about the ingredients that I was no longer eating because I was so consumed and amazed by all the new ingredients I WAS eating!
If you’re thinking about switching to a whole food plant based diet and you’re worried that your food will be limited, take that off your list of things to worry about. You will eat way more variety than you ever have before, and your world of food will open up. There is so much to discover! And if you’ve ever wondered what people eat when following a whole food plant based diet, some of our team and I have you covered. Below is what we ate on a random day a couple of weeks ago, documented for you with pictures and descriptions.
I start the day out with warm water.
I had Cold Grain Cereal for breakfast with papaya, mango, apple, raisins, toasted pecans, and unsweetened soy milk.
I had hibiscus tea with 1/2 teaspoon coconut nectar and unsweetened soy milk with my cereal.
My afternoon smoothie consisted of water, kale, banana, frozen berries, and a ground flax / ground chia / hemp seed mix.
My afternoon snack was a plum.
For dinner, I ate a Big Ass Salad with lettuce, red cabbage, fresh basil, fresh parsley, red bell pepper, carrot, snap peas, radish, Miso Tahini Dressing, sauerkraut, apple as well as chickpea pasta with creamy basil pesto, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh basil, kalamata olives from the #GardenParty meal plan.
Saturday is usually the day when I run out of meal plan food and I won’t batch again until Sunday morning, so I eat whatever I feel like! These days I’m all about fresh Farmers Market fruits and veggies. Everything pictured except the quick bread and Caesar dressing is fresh from the market.
My breakfast included CFDG Cranberry Orange Quick Bread with walnuts, blueberries, and cantaloupe.
For lunch, I had corn on the cob with smoky paprika sauce, steamed broccoli, and lady peas with homemade jalapeño chow-chow (relish).
My dinner was kale salad with raisins and sunflower seeds, and CFDG Caesar dressing, with fresh figs, lightly dusted with cracked pepper, and sea salt.
My morning smoothie included green kale, red chard, purple cabbage, raw beet, frozen blueberries, frozen grapes, frozen peach, banana, cucumber, summer squash, mango, fresh lime, ginger root, hempseed, turmeric powder, black pepper, cinnamon, and water. I named this one The Purple Monster. 🙂
My lunch was a Big Ass Salad with romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, lentil, and bulgur mix, Greek-style hummus, shredded carrot, roasted beets, tomato, squash, red bell pepper, tangy clover & broccoli sprouts, blueberries, and CFDG Sunny Blue Cheese Dressing (an upcoming recipe).
My snack was organic yellow corn cake (ingredient: yellow organic corn) with peanut butter, mango, blueberries, and banana. The photobomber is my sweet old girl, Keena. 🙂
Dinner was a mystery bean burger (from leftover recipe testing freezer stash) on a whole wheat bun with spicy BBQ seasoned sauteed mushrooms and onions, romaine lettuce, and tomato. The burger and bun have CFDG Sunny Blue Cheese Dressing on them. I served this with cucumber, bell pepper, and blueberries on the side.
Skillet seared shishito peppers with toasted sesame seeds and coconut aminos were enjoyed along with the mystery burger. If you’ve never had them, I highly recommend them!
For a treat, I had White Bean Spread (kind of like hummus), Matzos (ingredients: wheat flour and water), romaine lettuce, bell pepper, green olives, and pistachios. Also, I had 3 Medjool dates (not pictured).
First, I had 2 cups of coffee with plain soy milk
For breakfast, I ate 1 slice of toast (Dave’s Killer Bread Powerseed) with almond butter (just ground almonds, no oil, no sugar added), and a bowl of cherries.
For dinner, we had Santa Fe Mini-chimis with Chunky Guacamole and Oven-fried Mushrooms with Garden Herb Dip, also from #GardenParty.
This is a pretty typical food day for me, sometimes a green smoothie will be added to the mix. And I drink water all day either plain or sparkling with lime and fresh mint from the yard if I’m feelin’ fancy.
Below are photos of my food and drink for Wednesday, July 29th.
My breakfast was a smoothie made with Oatly oat milk, kale, banana, orange, flax seeds, freshly peeled ginger, and tahini.
If I had exercised, I would have had more than a smoothie, but I didn’t so a smoothie was just fine.
Maybe 90 minutes later, I had a glass of unsweetened green tea, homemade cold brew. It’s good to wait at least an hour after eating before having tea or coffee because it can interfere with nutrient absorption.
Lunch was a lightly seasoned potato, lentil, and rice mixture that I made earlier in the month in a big batch and from which I froze two-cup portions. When I made that batch, I also made Smoky Paprika Sauce from the #CanYouDigIt Meal Plan (April 10, 2020) and froze a small container (3/4 cup). I moved all three from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before.
In addition to the pre-made frozen items, I chopped broccoli and cauliflower leftover from the previous week’s meal plan and steamed it for lunch.
While the cruciferous veggies were cooking, I microwaved the potato-lentil-rice mixtures because they were still somewhat frozen and I wanted them to be served hot. I did not heat the Smoky Paprika Sauce, just gave it a nice stir with a fork and poured it on top, and added a squeeze of lime on the broccoli and cauliflower (citrus helps to increase non-heme iron absorption, which is in the veggies and the lentils).
My snack was a Honeycrisp apple with a dusting of cinnamon and some almond butter. I also drank about 20 ounces of water over the course of the afternoon.
We had a modified version of the Barbecued Tempeh Hoagie with Herbed Cole Slaw from #GardenParty. We could not find whole grain hoagie rolls so we picked up fresh pumpernickel bread instead and served the sandwich open face.
My family and I were at my parents this weekend but, honestly, I ate pretty much the same as usual since my parents are about 95% WFPB (my Italian mom still uses olive oil once in a while).
First, I had 2-3 cups of hot tea.
Then, for breakfast, I had sprouted grain toast with a simple cashew cheese spread, fresh South Carolina peaches, and a handful of dried cranberries.
For lunch, we had Creamy Zucchini Soup, a salad of mixed greens and veggies from my dad’s garden topped with my mom’s homemade Pickled Beet Spirals on top. Served on the side is Sundried Tomato Basil Cashew Cheese and a handful of Triscuits.
Dinner was a new black bean burger I’m testing, with lettuce and tomato from my dad’s garden, plus Provolone-style Cheesy Sauce, mustard, and red onion. I also made a pasta salad with fresh veggies from our garden that I had brought from home, with Caesar Dressing. The other side dish is oven-roasted potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and onions from my dad’s garden. SO EFFING GOOD (lol)!
I do a juice batch to freeze and then thaw one a day to have in the mornings.
Breakfast was a Chickpea Smash Wrap from the blog, I’m a morning person so I tend to have a bigger breakfast! This is one of my all-time fave blog recipes, and I make it regularly. This batch had green apples, red onion, relish, and mustard mixed in.
For lunch, I had Mashed Potatoes with Queso Blanco and Avocado and a Green Smoothie (water, kale, pineapple, frozen mixed berries, cucumber, beets, ginger chunks, ground flaxseed, and turmeric powder).
Dinner was Pineapple Fried Rice from the blog.
Dessert was a sliced fresh mango.
Dinner was Santa Fe Mini-Chimis with Chunky Guacamole and Oven-fried Mushrooms with Garden Herb Dip, also from #GardenParty.
I had one piece of toast with date, carob flour and hazelnut spread, and a sliced flat peach for breakfast, as well as one piece of toast with peanut butter and apples. There was extra fruit on the side, sprinkled with (more than) a bit of cinnamon, and a big cup of chai tea.
Lunch was a sauté with red and green peppers, onion, broccoli, carrot, zucchini, and marinated tofu cubes. I served this with brown rice and a dollop of Nuts & Seeds Sour Cream.
My afternoon snack was an apple and another flat peach.
For dinner, I had a Big Ass Salad with lots of greens, shredded carrots, tomato, green and red peppers, corn, mushrooms, celery, chickpeas, and a bit of brown rice, Tahini Miso Dressing, and toasted sunflower seeds.
I drink 20 ounces of hot water first thing every morning. Then it’s time for a cup of coffee with a spoonful of canned coconut milk.
After that, I go for a run, then make a big jar of tea (today’s tea was hibiscus) to sip on while I work. I etched “drink your fucking water” on an old 30-ounce peanut butter jar as a reminder to stay hydrated.
For lunch, I had a Big Ass Salad with romaine, red cabbage, orange bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, boiled beets, air fried brussels sprouts (leftover from dinner the night before), half a can of great northern beans, and oil-free dressing. I also eat a Brazil nut with my salad for selenium. Then a spoonful of peanut butter for dessert (with my BFF, Rita, in her chair).
Then, I sipped on 20 ounces of seltzer water with a big squeeze of lime juice while I took my old man cat, Mao, on a backyard adventure.
We had chili for dinner! My very-not-vegan husband, Shaun, wanted chili and offered to make it vegan if I would make the cornbread. That was a deal! For a meat-eater, he can make some awesome vegan food, and this was no exception. He included three kinds of beans, fresh corn, fresh tomatoes, Gardein beefless crumbles, and a bunch of yummy herbs and spices. My cornbread is the same vegan cornbread recipe I’ve been using since 2008 (!!!), but I now use applesauce or mashed beans in place of oil, and a combination of oat flour and gluten-free all-purpose flour because Shaun has a wheat allergy. I ate two bowls of chili and two fat pieces of cornbread and went to bed with a happy belly.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with eating so many plants!