I was recently invited to do a store tour with Sprouts and their dietitian they partner with to learn about easy ways to incorporate more plant based items into a diet as well as more about what exactly plant based means. It was really perfect timing since I have been playing with more plant based items in my own kitchen/ diet starting this spring. We met with Suzanne, the RD who often partners with Sprouts, she schooled us a bit on what it means to eat plant-based and how it’s good for our bodies no matter what type of diet we eat.
A plant based diet usually refers to more beans, nuts, seeds, grains and veggies. This doesn’t mean you need to be vegan or vegetarian, it just means you may focus on the above foods more than just on meat and dairy alone. Incorporating more of these items and cutting back on my meat intake has been a new lifestyle of mine starting early this spring and I have been loving it. I don’t eat dairy to begin with since I have a cows milk allergy but I do still eat fish, a little meat, eggs and a lot of goat cheese (which is still dairy but its a lot easier on the body to digest and it doesn’t give me the headaches, bloating, depression and other unmentionable side effects that goes a long with my cows milk allergy) . I have just chosen to cut back on eggs and meat to 2 – 3 times a week versus once a day and my body has been thanking me heavily for it.
Why did I choose to cut back on my meat and egg intake? First of all, I have a deep love for animals so relying heavily on meat as a protein source has always weighed heavly on my heart. I am also very easily squeamish when it comes to meat – I remember watching my mom cook while growing up… I would get so grossed out by the raw meat I wouldn’t eat it once it became dinner time – she had to start asking me to go get a chore done to distract me while she prepped the raw meat in the kitchen (I didn’t realize this was her plan at the time but it was a ploy to get me to eat the meat without causing a scene). I still get extremely squeamish around meat as an adult. I don’t like prepping raw meat I usually pass that duty off to Matt, and if I find ANYTHING weird while eating it, forget it I am ruined and don’t want anymore.
I tried to cut out meat and be 100% vegan back in collage when I was studying nutrition and it wasn’t a good diet for me. I do much better with a little it of animal protein in my diet but I try to eat more fish these days. I learn more and more about a plant based diet everyday and there are so many alternatives out there to up your veggie intake – Stores like Sprouts really offer a wide variety of these items as well as great deals when you are trying to convert to a more plant friendly lifestyle. They also have a great selection of fresh made deli items that are plant based like quinoa salads.
I have even converted Matt over to a more plant based diet, he was born with a heart condition, a plant based diet (especially when you lower your meat and dairy intake) is really good for the cardiovascular system. We have both noticed that cutting back on our meat and dairy intake has helped us feel more energy, sleep better and just in general feel great. Don’t get me wrong, we still have our burger nights and eat chicken, salmon here and there throughout the week – just not eggs everyday and a meat protein source at dinner every single night like we used to. I highly suggest you incorporate more plants into your diet, even if you are a big meat eater, try to find some fun sides that are full of plants to help balance out your plate.