Transition from Meat-based Diet to Whole Plant-Based Diet
I’ve been struggling with my health for a long time, specifically with depression, exhaustion and migraine. Fed up with it all, I decided to try something new, to look after myself in a way I haven’t done before and in a way that I believed would make an impact. How? With the body’s fuel of course, it seems obvious, people always say ‘We are what we eat’. It’s easy to say but nothing was going to happen until I actually made a move and did something about it.
I woke up one morning and told my husband that I was going Vegan! ‘Vegan’?! he exclaimed. Then I said “not ‘vegan’ but I used that word to help you understand the direction I want to take”. It’s very difficult to explain something in a different language. It’s not so much the meat that I want to cut out but the Plant that I want to eat more of. Plant is fiber. Food rich in soluble fiber aids your body to eliminate toxins, excess hormones and cholesterol with beneficial bacteria to grow and strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of infection. It was what my system needed, eating large amounts of greens and antioxidant foods neutralises free radicals and keeps your liver strong so it can effectively remove toxins.
I gave myself a few days to eat all the meat I could then on Monday (all diets starts on a Monday) I started going plant based. I have to admit that I am not religious about it and I am taking my time with this new change in my life. There have been meat cravings, when I am cooking for the family I just instinctively want to break off a piece of meat and put it in my mouth. I do it if I want to though and I don’t feel bad about it. My excuse is cheating just a little kills the cravings that will drive me to have a big portion of meat on my plate. So slowly and gently I am making my transition to a plant based diet.
Going plant based has taught me to be more disciplined when I am eating out. If I don’t have a vegan option I go vegetarian, if the vegetarian option has more processed ingredients than a piece of meat then I opt for a steak or seafood.
A few easy changes to introduce more plants in your diet:
If you use refined grains begin by slowly adding whole grains rather than white rice or the other refined cereals that you are used to. The greater nutrient content of whole grain reduces the desire for meat. Also avoid products that cause demineralization and loss of nutrients, such as white sugar, white breads, white pasta and pastries. Go brown.
Use more vegetables with smaller amounts of meat. Soups and broths are a good example.
When ready to let go of the meat, start with reducing red meat, then fowl and fish. Also reduce dairy and eggs, particularly if they are of poor quality. Constipation and a heavy feeling can result from substantial amounts of dairy and eggs, they do not mix well with a grain-based diet. When eaten in abundance, dairy and eggs are mucus-forming, grains are moderately so, thus the combination can cause excessive mucus accumulation.
To prevent binges make the transition smoother, it is always better to have small amounts of meat regularly than large amounts occasionally.
Small amounts of meat or in some cases none at all may be sufficient once a person is mentally and physically stable. Don’t rush! enjoy life’s changes at each stage. Changes come more easily with a more gradual transition. Even though notable benefits often occur within a few weeks, the full transition may take years. The process of renewal is a harmonious way of life.
Here is an example of a recipe I created which is easy to make, tasty to eat and keeps the sugar level balanced with a full range of nutrients like protein, magnesium Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, Vitamin 5 and manganese which are all important for a healthy mind and body.
Stuffed Sweet Potato with Vegan Bean Chilli
1 tea-spoon of coconut oil
1 onion chopped
3 medium size sweet potato scrubbed
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of sweetcorn
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tea-spoon of ginger paste
1 tea-spoon of garlic paste
1 tea-spoon of paprika
1 tea-spoon of cumin powder
salt to taste
about 2 table-spoon of freshly chopped parsley
- Scrubbed the sweet potatoes clean. Dry with a tea towel. Use a sharp knife to make a line in the middle of the sweet potato. Make another line to take one large piece of wedge off. Rub oil all over the sweet potato and Bake in a preheated oven at 180C.
- Heat a pot with some coconut oil. Add the chopped onion and fry till slightly browned. Add the can tomatoes,ginger garlic, cumin and paprika. Season and simmer till liquid is reduced and oil bubbling on the edges. This process makes sure the tomatoes are cooked properly and the flavors are richer. Now add the rest of the ingredient except the parsley and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
- When the sweet potatoes are cooked fill them with the bean chili.
- Garnish with my Tomato salsa and a generous amount of parsley and slices of avocado.