"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." With these seven words, Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food”, encapsulated the simplest and most effective dietary advice you will ever receive. But how can something so simple and straight forward be so difficult to implement?
I have hundred of clients that I see every year who are baffled that such a simple concept and message can make such a huge impact on their health and how they feel. The concept is simple but the implementation is the hard part due to such drastic changes in how we eat and where we get our food from. Between working 40+ hours per day, family and friend commitments, food being available to us 24/7, not enough time to cook meals at home, portion sizes growing, food is now a list of ingredients, added sugars to what we perceived as health food... you know all the reasons because you live them everyday. The barrier in front of us seem insurmountable, but I have a few simple steps to get your started.
(1) Start small: Don't try to transform your eating habits overnight. Pick one meal each week or day to be focused on. For example my husband and I have made a commitment to eating plant based lunches during the work week. We are not trying to become vegan or vegetarian, but rather we are inching our way slowly to more plants in our diet.
(2) Be the "women" with a plan: Fruit, vegetables and plants based foods are not just going to magically appear on your plate. Take care of your future self by making a plan of what types of plants you want to eat that day or week and where and how are you going to get them.
(3) Prep your food: I don't mean you have to be the "pintrest" person who has every meal cooked, portioned and ready for the week. (If you are that person, bravo and keep it up!) But when you get home from the grocery store, don't but those fruits and vegetables away. Prep them- chop, roast, steam, slice, dice, do whatever you have to do so that it is simple and easy for you to eat more plants!
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.", you don't have to get there overnight, but with each meal and snack you choose think of ways to bump up your fruit and vegetables. If you start with those simple steps you too will slowly inch your way towards more plant based eating. Try a simple recipe that jammed pakced wiht plants like my Crunchy Curry Chickpea Bowl, that involved just a few prep steps, but leaves you with a satisfying lunch or dinner all week long.
Crunchy Curry Chickpea Bowl
4 cans of chickpeas
Spices: Curry, Cayenne pepper, cumin
2 containers of baby spinach leaves
1 bag shredded red cabbage
1 bag shredded carrots
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 bunch cilantro chopped
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup toasted almonds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Open the cans of chickpeas drain and rinse. Once rinsed place in an absorbent dish towel and dry. Then place the chickpeas on backing sheet (nothing on them) and bake for 15 minutes. This will help remove some of the moisture and ensure the chickpeas get and stay crunchy. After chickpeas have baked for 15 minutes, pull out of the oven and coat them lightly in olive oil and seasoning. Place back in the oven for about 30 minutes. I like mine supper crunchy so after 30 minutes I will check on how dry the chickpeas are. I will continue to cook until a get a desired dry and crunchy texture. Set aside to cool. They typically will last 4-5 days in an air tight container. Do not refrigerate.
Prepare quinoa per the package using your rice cooker, instapot or stove top. Once cooked let cook.
In a large bowl combine, spinach, red cabbage, carrots, golden raisins and toasted almonds. Once quinoa is cooled mix in.
Dressing whisk together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and curry. To thin add more lemon juice.
When ready to serves, toss the salad with chickpeas and dressing. Enjoy!