Easy Plant Based Food Swaps

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Now a days people tell you what they eat like it’s a religion or political party affiliation. Can we all agree that we all try to avoid preservatives, trans fats, refined sugar, sodium, MSG and other harmful ingredients. Yes, you know that cleaning up your diet is good for your health and weight loss.

Some of you wonder if following a more plant-based diet will that help you to further improve your health and maybe loss a little weight. When you eat healthier foods your body looks and feels strong and healthy

This show isn’t about trying to convince you to go plant based. The take away is what the heck is plant based and how do be smart about making the decision to go plant based.

One of the first questions I get from many people is what the HELL do you eat. Are you bored? Does it have any flavor??

NO>>>>>> you will NOT flavor for flavorless alternatives that you feel like you are eating because you HAVE to, and not because you WANT to. The good news is this – eating a healthy, plant-based diet does not mean missing out on the foods, the flavors and textures that you love.

The best way to start is to simply swap out the following healthy, plant-based ingredients and food products to give yourself a boost without your taste buds becoming upset.

Swap Greens for Flour Wraps

Instead of pitas and wraps you can use greens, cabbage, butter lettuce, kale, romaine or collards. You place your meat, fish, vegetables, condiments and other toppings on this base, and then “wrap” the outer layer over the inner ingredients, tucking the ends over to make a spill-proof, cylindrical, handheld alternative to a sandwich.

When eating out just ask for no bun or ask if they can have lettuce so you can do it yourself.

Cauliflower has become the bell of the ball.

…for wraps, pizza crust, rice, couscous, potatoes

The beauty of this is that so many places now have pre-made cauliflower, it’s riced, chopped and puree.  You sure can make it yourself, but I’m all about convenience.

Cauliflower can be used as a base for breads and wraps. It is also the perfect alternative to unhealthy, processed, preservative-filled and dairy-based pizza crusts.

Cauliflower is the perfect alternative to rice or couscous. Use a food chopper, and stop when the cauliflower has been ground down to the size of rice grains. Sauté in a little coconut oil in a pan for a tasty. Over the past few years I feel like just when you think they’ve come up with everything you can do with cauliflower – they come up with more!! I think one of the first things I used cauliflower was for mashed potatoes. A few Thanksgiving’s ago I blended potatoes and mashed potatoes.  Now so many people are making the swap I don’t have to try to hide it.

Looking for more fun ways to cook cauliflower check out this book. “Cauliflower Cookbook: Top 50 Most Delicious Cauliflower Recipes (Superfood Recipes Book 17)”, have a Kindle??

On my Pinterest page, I have a number of plant based recipes.

How do you ditch the dairy?

Swap out dairy milk for almond, coconut, rice or cashew milk. I’m not a big for of soy. There are too many studies that show that say is not good for women and may cause estrogen levels to rise in both men and women.

When choosing your dairy free option, please read the ingredients it shouldn’t have any sugar or carrageenan.  That substance has been linked to digestive problems, from mild to severe.  I’m a big fan of plain. If you are someone who like cheese yes, there are vegan cheeses and yogurts also effectively replace their traditional dairy-based counterparts. I again caution you on choosing non-soy based versions of cheese.

Can I still have baked goods?

This is not news! White flour has been stripped of its nutrients and loaded with, chemicals, preservatives and byproducts. That’s why it lasts so long.

The food marketers try to make you feel better by “enriching” it. You can make simple swaps, with whole wheat or nut flours. Black bean or chickpea puree can also be used.

Give me the sugar!

Yes, sugar will give you a long list of health problems. I’m not on of those who are like avoid sugar like the plaque. I’m about minimizing your sugar intake. 

Vanilla extract is an often-overlooked sugar replacement. You can replace up to half the sugar in any recipe with vanilla extract without dramatically changing the flavor or taste. In baked goods and other recipes, you can replace 1 cup of sugar with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract + 1/2 cup of sugar.

The Stevia plant is 300 times sweeter than sugar and has no calories! For each cup of sugar in a recipe, replace with 1 teaspoon of liquid Stevia or 2 tablespoons of Stevia powder. Do not be confused by the similarly marketed Truvia, which claims to have Stevia in it. There is very little Stevia contained in Truvia.

What I’m talking about is the straight up stevia that you find in the natural food aisle. For me it’s an acquired taste. So.. give it a try before you head to a large box store and by a shit ton of it.

Love butter?? Try Avocado instead

Okay butter junkies – I got a great swap for you puréed bananas or avocados.  This swap can be used in all types of recipes; from baked goods to casseroles and anywhere else your recipe requires butter. Make an even swap, 1 cup of butter for 1 cup of banana or avocado purée. Pay attention your cooking time will go down by at least 25%.

 

Who doesn’t love a good burger!

We all love a great burger, but just because you are switching to a plant based diet makes that a little challenging.

The beauty of this day and age is so many folks are choosing a vegan lifestyle so there are some great recipes out there.

Check out these options

  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant

There are also some great-tasting, healthy pre-made veggie burgers. The Huffington Post conducted a taste testof the dozens of frozen veggie burgers tested, here are a few that had great taste.

  • Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burger
  • Hilary’s Eat Well World’s Best Veggie Burger
  • Beyond Burger
  • Impossible Burger

Choose Fruits Over Fruit Juice

You may know the juice you by at the store is just overly processed.  Even when it says, “all natural”. Now with all the hype of green juices and cold press juices, this is not the best source of fruit.

Sure, I’m a fan of green juices, but I still have my veggies. My green juice has little to no fruit. As for powders I’m okay with them as once a day but check the ingredients to make sure it’s not filled with extra fluff and sugar. I do use green powders, it’s one of the ways I sneak veggies on to my husband.  While I love my fruit, but when I’m traveling sometimes it’s just not that possible.

Go with Fresh Veggies Over Frozen

In the late summer and early fall, you have a huge selection of veggies. Choose local and organic whenever possible. Now as we move into winter your choices will dwindle so you’ll have to choose more frozen veggies over fresh. 

Many grocery stores how pre-chop will or shred your veggies – that’s such a time savings!!!

WHAT Honey isn’t vegan???

This one shocked me too, think of honey like milk. It’s a by-product of bees. Your safest bet is maple syrups. Date syrup and pure vegetable purees can also effectively replace honey. As with all other plant-based swaps, make sure you are choosing natural, organic, preservative-free products. Sure, you can use agave, but because of it’s popularity it’s become VERY processed and diluted. 

I’ve given you a ton of information. The best way to proceed is to pick your battles. Which of the following swaps seems easy for you? Will you start with just one or can you add more to your nutrition?

When I started. I added 1 new thing to my cart each week. I was vegan for one meal/day and then added in one more meal until I was fully vegan.

Want to go vegan, but not sure what to make. I got you covered. Grab over 50 plant-based recipes right here.

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