Helloooo everyone, ItsNichelleB! This is just a quick post to let you know a little more about my plant-based lifestyle. A lot of people ask me things like how I stopped eating meat, what do I eat, and did I notice a difference in my body since becoming plant-based? Below I will answer all those questions and more.
I’m not really into all the labels like vegan, vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, etc. The few times I did say I’m pescatarian people were like what is that? Smh So I simply refer to myself and my eating habits as being “plant based.” That means besides seafood, all the foods I eat are derived from plants including vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruit, no animal products. Saying I’m plant-based is simple and most of the time saves me from having to explain further.
I’ve done research in my spare time for almost a year on the food, ingredients, agriculture, etc. in the United States. Some of the things I found out were disturbing but I always tell people when converting to a plant based lifestyle that you MUST do the research for YOURSELF! Then armed with your knowledge you make the decision on what type of diet or lifestyle will work for you. I decided to stop eating meat almost overnight after spending hours one day reading books and watching vegan documentaries. Lol It’s been about 3-4 months so far and I have not looked back. I used to think I could never live a life without meat, but I was miseducated and uninformed about animals and foods, I am also a very picky eater but it’s fun finding and creating meals I like. Since giving up meat my body feels amazing! A lot of people think you will suffer from “protein deficiency” if you stop eating meat! lol That is simply not true.
Most major health problems start in the gut and are affected by the foods one eats. The saying, “you are what you eat” is not to be taken lightly. I am not on a “diet” nor am I “watching my weight” being plant based is a lifestyle and I just want everyone to adopt a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you must be vegan (although it is the best option) or vegetarian or even pescatarian. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is about doing the research, healing yourself from the inside, and cultivating healthy habits. Food is life!! Eat to live!!
As far as me personally here is what I eat and don’t eat. Now that you have an idea you can expect some recipes and meal ideas to be posted soon!
MEAT- None. No chicken, turkey, beef, or pork. No other animals like rabbit or lamb.
DAIRY- The only source of dairy I consume is cheese on pizza. I tried and and fake cheese is something I can’t do. I normally buy organic pizza from the grocery store and just put it in the oven. I really don’t like to order pizza from places anymore. The only time I eat eggs is if it’s baked into something like my grandma’s sweet potato pie or her cornbread. I can’t turn down my grandmas pie now.. lol I never really ate or liked things like mac & cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, whey, mayonnaise, yogurt, or milk so giving that up wasn’t hard. I use vegan butter and eat dairy- free coconut ice cream.
SEAFOOD- Now I’m slowly cutting out fish and shrimp, having it once or twice a month. I’ve heard about seafood and how harmful it can be so that just made it a little easier to cut out. lol As for crabcakes, I eat those about once a month, if that.
SOY- Soy is a tricky product to me. It’s one of those foods that have mixed opinions on it’s actual health benefits. Some say it’s the absolute last thing you should eat and some say it’s super healthy. I personally do not like the taste of soy. I don’t like tofu, soy milk, or edamame. However, many foods have soy in them so you have to just read the ingredients on everything if you are watching your soy intake, which I recommend.
GLUTEN- I just look out for gluten and try to be mindful of what foods I’m eating with gluten in it. I try to get the gluten free version of whatever I can.
MOCK MEAT- I eat meatless meatballs and chickenless chicken tenders. Another food people argue about because that are essentially soy. Some say it’s so horrible you should only feed it to your dog some say it’s the best alternative to real meat. lol Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with them, IF EATEN IN MODERATION! Mock meats are still processed in some way so again they are eaten in moderation. There are some great, clean versions of mock meats out there, you just have to read the ingredients on EVERYTHING.
JUNK FOOD- NONE. I don’t do soda, ice cream, candy, snack cakes (like honey buns, twinkies, zebra cakes) no packaged noodles, no fast food, and nothing canned, except beans.
If you have been thinking about going plant based but don’t know where to start, below are some ideas. There are some great presentations and documentaries on Youtube and Netflix about veganism.
Some of the most popular Netflix documentaries are Cowspiracy, Food Inc., What the Health, Forks over Knives, Food Matters and Vegucated.
On Youtube there are sooo many videos that can help from meal plans, to workout plans, to documentaries. Gary Yourosfky is a great speaker about veganism he has videos on YouTube.
Books- Go to the library or thrift store and see what books on food are there. You may be surprised what you find. Most of the books I read on veganism came from the thrift store. lol I do think its necessary to buy books or even food magazines just so that you can have something tangible to refer to when you need a pick me up.
Social Media- Before I became plant based I didn’t follow any plant based people but there is a whole world of vegan and vegetarian yogis, chefs, youtubers, athletes, and regular people like me on Instagram and social media. They are really inspiring and helpful to follow because they give you ideas and info about everything. My favorite vegans or plant based people on Instagram are @vegantakeover @chefahki @veganfoodspot and @massyarias
*And just remember making a big lifestyle change, moving from animal-based to a pescatarian or vegan diet, may take some time to adjust to. If you slip up and eat an animal product by accident or in a moment of temptation don’t be too hard on yourself. Just get back to it and you will still be able to meet your goals!