By now, you've probably realised that Brandon and I are in the process of switching to a plant-based diet. I've tried and failed many times in the past to be a vegetarian. In hindsight, there was a lack of planning, support and conviction behind it, and that was the reason for my failure.
One morning, a few weeks ago, I said to Brandon, "I wish you and I could be vegetarians, but that will never happen." And Brandon, very surprisingly, replied, "I'm willing to be a vegetarian, as long as we figure out how to have variety [in our menu]." That was a turning point for us, because Brandon has always been a proud carnivore who could "never" live without meat.
I have to tell you something. It's been unbelievably easy this time around. With the support of my husband and our shared efforts with meal planning, our diet has become almost completely plant-based in the space of a few short weeks.
A few things to note (aka "Ways we've made a plant-based diet more difficult for ourselves"):
- We avoid "fake meats." If you're less fussy than us, you can almost directly switch your menu by replacing meat with these. Our reason for avoiding them is that we are aiming to have a wholefood, healthy diet and we feel that those "meats" are very processed.
- We avoid canned and bottled foods and sauces, because we are concerned about the leached chemicals from cans, and the high amounts of sodium and sugar in canned and bottled foods and sauces. That being said, it's still better than takeaways, so having a few quick and easy options in the cupboard will help when you're too tired or too busy to cook a meal from scratch. We all need to do what we feel is doable for ourselves.
- We have been aiming for a lower carb, gluten free menu. We're not 100% gluten-free and low carb, but we aim for healthier alternatives to bread, pasta, potatoes and white rice. As far as possible, we use quinoa, long grain brown rice, green pea pasta, steel cut oats, and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut and beetroot.
This is what we've done to make the switch:
Our next challenge is to cut out cheese and eggs. We've already started trying out some vegan cheeses, but so far, we haven't found our happy place with that. I strongly believe that in order to make this a full and permanent lifestyle change, we need to actually enjoy what we eat and drink, so I will keep looking for a cheese alternative/replacement that I can get excited about!
Now, I need to tell you something. Vegans can be a bit hectic. I avoid following their pages on social media, because a lot of vegans like to use the shock factor to convince you to stop eating meat. I will never be like that. I can't stomach those images and haven't watched any of those vegan documentaries.
This is a video that has inspired me, and reminded me that we have made the right decision. I promise, it is just informative, and contains no sensitive images. You can even watch it with your children, if you want.
Click here to learn more about how we can save the planet by switching to a plant-based diet.
This easy recipe for veggie burgers will have you skipping Uber Eats and enjoying homemade food. This was so delicious, and the best part is that it's free from gluten, soy and dairy. The only non-vegan part is the egg - we'll be working on an alternative so keep an eye out for edits.
1/2 cup of long grain brown rice
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 brown onion (chopped)
400g portobello mushrooms (chopped)
Handful of fresh parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup of uncooked gluten-free oats
Rice flour (to coat the patties)
Gluten-free burger buns (or skip this completely for a delicious burger salad!)
Ketchup/mayonnaise (or vegan mayo if you want to)
Cheese (vegan cheese for a dairy-free option)
Sweet potato fries or veggie crisps
1. Boil the brown rice in salted water, until soft and fluffy.
2. Sauté the onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms and parsley, and spice with Italian herbs. Sauté until cooked through.
4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cooked rice and the mushroom onion mixture.
5. Add the egg and oats, and mix.
6. Using your hands, scoop some mixture out and shape a patty, coating the patty in rice flour. Repeat until all the mixture has been used.
7. Fry the patties in a small amount of olive oil, or grill in the oven.
8. Serve on burger buns with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ketchup or mayonnaise with a side of veggie crisps or sweet potato fries.
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We've had dairy-free milk alternatives in our fridge for many years, but they can get expensive. One benefit of home made milk is that you can decide how creamy you'd like it to be, which is much more delicious. You can also skip the additives. Just a tip though, because there are no preservatives in your home made milk, make smaller batches to avoid sour milk in your tea!
I've made almond milk and oat milk. Oat milk is cheaper and quicker to make than almond milk, but the process is the same. You'll need a blender or Nutribullet.
1 cup of uncooked oats
2 cups of filtered water
1. Soak the oats in water for about an hour.
2. Drain, and put the soaked oats in the blender.
3. Top up with 2 cups of fresh filtered water and blend.
4. Using a clean tea towel or cheese cloth, pour the blended mixture into the cloth over a jug.
5. Squeeze the mixture through the cloth, to get as much of the milk out as possible.
6. Dilute with filtered water to taste.
Pour into a bottle and store in the fridge. Use within a few days.