How do you change over from your current way of eating to plant-based?
Here are some simple tips to follow:
Use the Traffic Light model developed by Dr Greger — and detailed in his book “How Not to Die”.
Remember BALANCE is key: all food groups play a role in a healthy diet.
Consider your protein options — there are many.
Carbs (the unprocessed ones!) are also important.
Fats —which ones are better (green light) than others (amber/red light).
Do not count calories.
Do exercise as part of this new lifestyle.
Look for interesting recipes.
Plan a basic menu.
Make a shopping list.
Go plant-based in 3 easy steps:
TRAFFIC LIGHT MODEL
Use this as a guide to plant-based eating.
Aim to eat this way 80% of the time.
Number of servings/day
Unprocessed plant foods
Nothing bad added, nothing good taken away
These foods have MORE of the protective nutrients and FEWER of the disease-promoting factors
Processed plant foods
Unprocessed animal foods
Suggested role of these foods: to promote the consumption of Green-light foods, e.g. having oats porridge (green-light) with almond milk OR having legumes with a little tomato sauce
Refined grains (white flour, mealie meal, white rice)
Almond milk (almonds are green light)
EAT EVEN FEWER
Ultra-processed plant foods
Processed animal foods
Suggested role of these foods: to promote the consumption of Green-light foods
The main point is that the healthiest diet is one that maximizes the intake of whole plant foods and minimizes the intake of animal-based foods and ‘junk” foods (high on sugar and/or salt and/or cholesterol and/or trans fats).
*Legumes include soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, butter beans, kidney beans and many many more. SOYA should be a fundamental component of your DAILY diet due to its phytonutrient component and the fact that it is the only legume that it is a COMPLETE PROTEIN.
Soya Life has 3 products that make incorporating soya easy:
Soya Life Premium Porridge 500g
Soya Life Breakfast Porridge 1kg
Soya Life Instant Meal Replacement Drink 500g
Look out for these in Dischem.
Don’t be obsessive: try not to adopt an “all-or-nothing” approach to this way of eating, as this could potentially set you up for failure.
Remember that foods are not so much “good” or “bad” as they are “better” or “worse”.
Make this practical and tasty for YOU and YOUR FAMILY – see steps 2 and 3.
Adding salt to food takes it into the Amber- and Red-light zones.
Allow yourself a favourite food (e.g. pizza) once a month or on special occasions.
LOOK FOR INTERESTING RECIPES
Google WHOLE-FOOD, PLANT-BASED recipes OR buy a South African vegetarian/vegan recipe book. Always check if the recipes REALLY appeal to you, otherwise search further!.
Another tip: on Google, type in the ingredients (green-light) that you have in your pantry and find recipes for these ingredients, e.g. spinach, chickpeas, tomato, whole-kernel corn. These ingredients could be made into a delicious curry or even a salad with a few select spices/condiments.
PLAN A SIMPLE MENU
Choose 3 recipes that appeal to you for your MAIN MEAL of the day.
Rotate these 3 recipes until you get the hang of plant-based basics. And then find more recipes.
Plan breakfasts (Soya Life porridge/oats) and the light meal with easy options.
Develop a standard shopping list. This will change over time as you become more in tune with this way of eating.
Enjoy the plant-based cooking adventure – Your body will thank you.
References and acknowledgements:
Dr M. Greger: “How Not to Die”: this book is highly recommended reading.