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27 July 2017

A Beginners Guide to a Plant Based Diet | How & Why?

Beginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Recipe Idea Lazy Cat Kitchen Vietnamese Tempah Noodle Salad
There's nothing better than that feeling of having your macros on point! You feel great, you look healthy & you have more energy. But since I've upped my protein intake to help me build a little muscle, I have subsequently upped my meat intake, which is something I am not comfortable with on a long term basis. I love animals, but I also really enjoy my food - it is a real internal fight I have with myself. I have to mentally separate the two, otherwise I would just not be able to eat meat again.

So one of my long term goals, to coincide with my fitness journey, is to start eating less meat & searching for that source of protein elsewhere. So, I thought I would team up with my friend Rachel - a personal trainer & vegetarian foodie at @wholehealthjourney - to help reeducate our minds when it comes to protein & diet! Over to you Rachel!


B E G I N N E R S   G U I D E   T O   A   P L A N T   B A S E D   D I E T

Beginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Whole Health Journey Advice How to Guide for Beginners

I made the decision to reduce my intake of animal products in January and I now live a predominantly plant-based lifestyle. Giving up animal products can seem really daunting, (but what about bacon?! I hear you ask) but it has some amazing benefits to your health, the environment and reducing cruelty to animals. If a complete transition into a plant based diet is too much of a change, even having a meat-free Monday and reducing your overall intake of animal products will help to make a difference. Lots of people get the misconception that a plant based diet means just eating vegetables, this could not be further from the truth! Yes I will admit I eat a looooot of vegetables but that is not all I eat because the human body needs more than that to survive optimally. A plant based diet does not have to be boring or tasteless either, be creative and try different foods and different flavours - once you’ve tried vegan cheesecake you will never look back!

P R O T E I N

Beginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Recipe Idea Post Workout High Protein Salad Whole Health JourneyBeginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Recipe Idea Post Workout Protein Smoothie Bowl Whole Health Journey
The main question people ask when you say you are plant based is ‘where do you get your protein from?’. There are lots of sources of plant based protein such as quinoa, lentils, beans and pulses, tofu, tempeh, hemp, dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds, chia and the list goes on. I sometimes supplement with vegan protein powders as I live a very active lifestyle and they are also really yummy in smoothies. The main thing is to ensure that you get a variety of sources of plant based proteins throughout the day to obtain all the essential amino acids needed in the body. 

V I T A M I N S

Beginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Recipe Idea Nutritions Vitimans Colourful Salad Bowl Whole Health JourneyBeginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Recipe Idea Nutritions Vitimans Colourful Salad Bowl Felafal Whole Health Journey
There are some vitamins and minerals that are only available in animal products, for example B12. Ensure that you eat foods fortified with B12 such as nut milks and nutritional yeast or take a good quality supplement. To keep your iron levels up combine plant based sources with foods containing vitamin C for increased absorption e.g. kale with tomatoes. Some plant based sources of calcium include fortified milks, green leafy vegetables, dried, figs, tahini, nuts and seeds.

M Y   F A V O U R I T E   V E G A N   P R O D U C T S


Beginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - CoYo pudding
1. Sun Warrior Classic Protein - Especially the chocolate flavour its amazing in a smoothie with frozen banana, spinach, peanut butter and coconut milk.
2. Bounce Ball V-life Protein Balls - Great as a quick grab on the go snack or post workout refuel. Almond spirulina is my fave as it tastes like marzipan but the other flavours include beetroot cashew, coconut cumin, almond kale and cashew peanut. Yum.
3. Engevita B12 Flakes with B12 - A great source of protein and B12 and great for creating a dairy free cheesy flavour.
4. Coyo Dairy Free Coconut Yogurt - So creamy and delicious and comes in different flavours I personally love the vanilla one with fruit and granola for a protein packed breakfast. 

V E G A N   H O T S P O T

Nama Foods in Notting Hill is an entirely raw vegan cafĂ©. They do brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks and desert. The raw cheesecake is amazing but my favourite and an absolute must-try is the raw tiramisu. Heaven!

Q & A

Where would you recommend a complete newbee to start with a more plant based diet? I would say the first step is to start by having one meat free day a week swapping meat proteins for plant based proteins such as grains, pulses and tofu.

Who are your favourite Vegan / Vegetarian people on Instagram? I absolutely love Deliciously Ella, her recipes are all about natural ingredients and adding lots of flavour. I also like Sweet Simple Vegan, Apples & Amanda's and The Plant Powered PT.

What is your go to recipe book? My go to recipe book is Deliciously Ella Everyday absolutely full of delicious plant based recipes and ideas for meals you can make in bulk and for when your cooking for yourself.

What's your favourite seasoning to spice up veg? I am a bit of a garlic queen haha I use garlic in everything and I also like to make smoky butter beans, by cooking butter beans in some olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper, smoked paprika and a little honey- so easy and so yummy, especially in a baked sweet potato.

What is your favourite Vegan / Vegetarian recipe to date? My favourite vegan recipe from a book is from Deliciously Ella with Friends and its her peanut satay sweet potato noodles (I am a fan of anything with peanut butter ), but simple vegan meals I make regularly include quinoa with roasted vegetables, I make a big batch to last a few days. I am a big fan of Buddha bowls which include vegetables, a type of grain, a source of plant based protein and a healthy fat e.g avocado.

Beginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Recipe Idea High Protein Post Workout Smoothie Bowl Fruit Pudding - Whole Health JourneyBeginners Guide to Vegetarian Plant Base Diet - Recipe Idea Chocolate Fruit Pudding - Whole Health Journey

Thank you for your time Rachel! I definitely learnt a lot & will be checking out some of those protein substitutes this week. Remember, even a small change will do a great deal of good & can easily become a habit. So will you take this pledge with me - to reduce our meat intake over the next few months & build it into a way of life? I hope so! If you want to see more from Rachel, check her out on Instagram  @wholehealthjourney. See you next week!

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