How to Eat a Healthy Plant-Based Diet - BodyMind Institute

How to Eat a Healthy Plant-Based Diet

By Elaina Love | Nutrition

Aug 17

Average Reading Time: 3 minutes and 35 seconds

Eating foods that are organic, locally grown, plant-based, and 80% raw can increase your lifespan and your quality of living.

People who eat high raw, plant-based diets experience stronger bone density, age less quickly (reduce wrinkles, hair loss and even eye health), get sick less often, and are able to reduce the risk of getting a long list of common ailments such as diabetes, depression, overweight, lethargy, fatigue, arthritis, and even cancer. So let me help you get healthy!

How to begin?

  • Write down 3 things you are currently proud of. Start by looking at what you eat each day. What healthy choices are you already making? Make a list. Maybe you are already drinking a quart of water a day, having a green smoothie or eating salads or organic veggies with your meals. Super! 
  • What can you change? Most of us can find something in our diet that is unhealthy. Maybe it’s eating hormone-laden meats and dairy or eating too many glutinous grains (white flour, tortillas, whole wheat bread, bagels, muffins, scones, etc.). By eliminating even one of these foods, your body can become more vibrant. 

Mineral water with lemon

Start adding in 1 healthy upgrade a week. That’s it. You don’t have to cut out everything. Most people do better going slowly to accomplish their goals. This will reduce the possibility of binge eating or yo-yo dieting. Some suggestions are: 

1. Try a new healthy recipe

There are plenty of easy, tasty recipes on my website to help you start on plant-based eating. Try one to two new recipes a week.

2. Drink 64 oz. or more of water

I can’t emphasize this enough. Water flushes toxins and plumps up your skin. Already drinking? Upgrade your water by adding 1/8 tsp of Himalayan salt and 1 tsp. lemon juice. It sounds strange, but mineral salt actually helps you hydrate and helps with mineral imbalances and autoimmune conditions.

3. Bring your lunch instead of going out to eat

Use your Sunday afternoon to prep your lunches for the week. Get my recipe books for inspiration. This will help you to feel satisfied at work and less tempted to go out.

4. Cut out 1 habit that you feel is most harmful. Suggestions:

  • Red meat – especially farm raised meats and meat cuts
  • Dairy – including milk, cream, cheese and ice cream
  • Flour products – white flour, cornmeal and even whole wheat flour can be harmful and inflammatory
  • Processed and packaged food – these can be loaded with processed sugar, chemicals, and other harmful chemicals.
  • Alcohol – cut down to just one or two drinks a week. This is a quick way to drop a few pounds and reduce your sugar and yeast consumption. If you have already eliminated alcohol, good job! You are well on your way to thriving!
  • Eating out – restaurants are known to skimp on ingredients for cheaper alternatives. Highly processed and rancid oils as well as added cream, flour and sugar are most common when eating out. Who needs that?
  • Add in new recipes. There are plenty of easy, tasty recipes on my website to help you start on plant-based eating. Try one to two new recipes a week.

Daily routine

Breakfast

If you are currently eating meat, eggs and dairy every morning, or even veggie sausage, pick one of these to eliminate. These foods are hard to digest and can make you acidic. They produce an acid ash in the body, making you more susceptible to inflammation, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and chronic neck and back pain.

If you are already eating a high plant based diet, you might start to give up other acid forming food like bread, bagels, cereal, oats and pastries. Replace these foods with steamed veggies and quinoa topped with MCT oil, or some chia porridge.

For extra points, go raw and sugar-free by having a green smoothie with vegan protein powder. It’s filling and an easy meal replacement, especially when topped with crunchy things like coconut flakes and cacao nibs. 

Lunch

Are you eating sandwiches every day with gluten, processed meat, and mayo? If so, replace them with a big salad. It’s way more exciting than you might imagine. I add lots of yummy toppings to make it extra satisfying (see list below). You can even roll your salad in a paleo wrap or nori sheet for variety.

Dinner

Is where you can add more comforting, cooked meals. One simple thing you can do is sauté up an onion in a large skillet (I like the Green Pan). Don’t use oil, just a bit of coconut aminos or water to cook in. After the onion gets tender, add a head of chopped kale, collards, spinach or chard with a chopped tomato. Season with a little Himalayan salt and cumin or curry powder and cover until well steamed. Now you’ve got a great side dish or meal.

For added flavor and richness, try coconut curry sauce and zucchini noodles to mix in after your veggies are cooked. 

Why I don’t cook my oil and sauces?

My coconut curry sauce contains coconut butter and sesame oil so I don’t cook it. Cooked fats are harmful to the body . Scientists have discovered that heating up vegetable oils leads to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and dementia.

Fats are good for you as long as they are healthy and raw. Here is my recommended list, look for extra virgin and virgin or unrefined as these usually mean they are unheated. Another word used on labels is cold pressed:

  • almonds, almond butter, almond oil
  • avocado meat or oil
  • coconut meat, coconut butter, coconut oil (virgin), or MCT oil
  • olives or olive oil (extra virgin)
  • pumpkin seeds and their oil
  • sunflower seeds
  • tahini or sesame seeds and their oil (make sure it's unrefined)
  • walnut butter or walnut oil

Your homework this week: Watch these informative movies:

  • Forks over Knives 
  • Cowspiracy 
  • Fed Up 
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Read my blog posts to get and stay motivated and inspired. Congratulations, you are on your way to a more healthy, vibrant you!

Aricle by Elaina Love, Faculty Member here at the BodyMind Institute
Elaina Love's Raw Chef Certification
Elaina's Website: https://elainalove.com/
Elaina's Live Classes: http://purejoyplanet.com/

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About the Author

~ Professional Chef, Instructor and Detox Counselor at PureJoyAcademy.com, Lifestyle Counselor, Co-owner of Pure Joy Academy and Owner/Director of PureJoyPlanet.com Elaina Love began teaching raw food courses in 1998. She is a pioneer of low-glycemic and gourmet raw foods. She has created some of the recipes and everyday products which are used by professional raw chefs around the planet. Elaina has authored 3 popular recipe books, and is known for her “recipes that work!” In 2010, after 12 years of teaching, Elaina co-founded Pure Joy Culinary Academy. Since the academy opened, she has thoughtfully certified hundreds of students around the world. Each of these proud graduates now knows exactly how to be a raw food chef, and can instruct others around then–with an emphasis on Holistic Nutrition! Elaina has created the online "Raw Chef Certification" available exclusively here at the BodyMind Institute. Visit Elaina Loves' Pure Joy Academy here >

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