Plant-Based Starter Pack

In an effort to compile the information we’ve been sending to friends, friends of friends, and family about getting started with plant-based eating, we created this starter pack to help you get oriented. Eating plant-based is a challenge at first, but a great one! Food is an integral part of our lives and impacts everything we do. Please remember that this is a process and not about being perfect. Take your time to ease into it and find what works best for you.


1. Read or Listen to ‘How Not to Die’ by Dr. Michael Gregor. 

Dr. Gregor is our go-to for information and research about plant-based eating.  After reading his book, we subscribed to his website, nutritionfacts.org, which we visit on a daily basis.  In addition, his videos and articles are backed by the latest research and scientific data.  The ‘About’ page of his site gives you a good feel for how he sets it up.


2. Start Cooking

A lot of the enjoyment of plant-based eating, especially if you want it to be healthy, is in cooking.  However, there are many substitutions/ new ingredients you will need to learn about and get used to.  It’s a challenge at first, and then become second-nature. Here is our Recommended Ingredient List.  We’ve also listed chefs and bloggers below for you.

3. Learn about Plant-based Protein

Try to get plant-based protein in at every meal.  I noticed my muscle was getting weaker because I wasn’t eating enough quinoa, hemp seeds, lentils, etc. Although it is a myth that we need as much protein as the general public thinks we do, we still do need it.  Here’s a good reference but there are a ton out there you can google: http://www.theholykale.com/plant-based-protein-chart/.

4. Find Your Favorite Plant Based Chefs/ Bloggers

A few of ours are:
  • Minimalist Baker 
    All of her recipes are bomb, although sometimes her instructions are not the best.  You can often combine/ cut out a few steps.
  • Oh She Glows
    This is the first cookbook my family bought me and I’ve made almost everything in it.  The only thing is we adapt the flavors as she has a pretty mild palate and we like spicy/ more flavorful so make a few and see how to make it your own.
  • Pasta Based
    All plant-based pasta recipes!  Also, they are just a cool couple and live in Colorado so a must try.

5. Learn About Staying Full

Andrew has mentioned several times that this is especially important for him, and honestly I’ve heard this from a fair amount of males. Some people need more mass and learning a new way to do that is a challenge, especially through plants.  Andrew has found that eating more grains helps, as well as incorporating a lot of fats.  He snacks often and makes very filling meals.

A typical day of eating looks like this for us:

  • Caryn
    • Breakfast is either a smoothie with flax seeds, hemps seeds and tahini or peanut butter added.  OR Oats with hemp seeds/ chia seeds and peanut butter, topped with fruit.
    • Lunch is a large veggie bowl with different vegetables over kale or spinach and a tahini sauce (see our blog for examples).
  • Andrew
    • Breakfast is a big bowl of cereal or rolled oats (uncooked) with almond milk, berries and ground flaxseeds.  Some almonds on the side.
    • Lunch is a veggie power bowl, similar to this

Dinners we make veggie lasagna, curry, thai noodles with veggies and tofu, veggie pizzas.  You will notice that going out to eat changes a bit depending on where you live.  Often it is frustrating in the beginning to go out to brunch, but you eventually find your groove.  We also eat at home a lot more often which has been a good money saver and better for our health anyway :).

6. Meal Prep

Meal prepping is a huge help and we did a blog post if you want to check it out.  You will wax and wane as you figure out the right quantities of all foods for you and what to buy at the store.  I’d track your food in myfitnesspal for a bit just to see what your intake is and adjust as needed since it’s a whole new way of eating.

7. Check out our blog, Veggie Campus.

This is a new site, but we are continuing to update it.  It is not a recipe focused site, as there are so many amazing chefs out there already, however we do have several recipes listed and references to our favorite chefs.  We also have posts about what it’s like to start eating plant-based, etc.

We hope this helps you get started.  We have several email chains with friends, so if you want to email us any questions please don’t hesitate – caryn@veggiecampus.com. If the chefs we listed above are not your cup of tea and maybe you want a few ideas for more processed plant-based foods (we tend to stick to no or less oil, non-processed foods, etc.) just let us know.

 

Thanks!
Caryn & Andrew