I love talking about food and making sure we are eating a well-balanced plant-based diet. With vegan food choices gaining popularity and more people learning about its health benefits, we are also seeing an increase of heavily processed vegan food. This has now made it more important than ever for us to be aware of what we are eating and putting into our bodies.
Before we begin, one thing to remember is to create realistic goals for yourself and to aim for progress over perfection. If you are out with friends and really want to eat a vegan dessert, order it, enjoy it and don’t be too hard on yourself. These little rewards will help prevent you from going completely off track. In fact, you will probably find that after incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, the less you will actually crave these other foods. With that said, let’s get into some quick tips that will have you Eating Smart in no time.
Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables A whole food plant-based diet should be centered around fresh fruits and vegetables. This may seem like a no brainer and sound like a bunch of salad, but doesn’t the thought of banana ice cream with berries sound delicious? Does a simple tomato salad with fresh sliced tomatoes, chopped red onions, fresh basil, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil sound appetizing? Fruits and vegetables can be prepared in a variety of ways that are quick, easy and so delicious that you will be craving more. Your options are endless and you will find that the food tastes so good, even your non-vegan friends will end up asking you for a bite.
Eat Organic When shopping for food, the healthiest option is to buy organic whenever possible. Why is organic so important?….a couple reasons. First of all, far fewer pesticides are used on these food products and therefore, they contain substantially less chemicals. Even washing your fruits and vegetables does not remove these pesticides so the best way to avoid putting them into your body is to buy organic. Secondly, the cellular nutritional found in organic food is much higher than conventional, upwards of two to three times, so you are getting more bang for your buck by purchasing organic. Of course, the biggest drawback I hear about buying organic is the cost. However, there are many ways to purchase organic food without spending a lot of money, such as going to Farmer’s Markets and purchasing food through bulk bins. A great resource to teach you how to eat healthy without breaking the bank is the Healthy,Organic,Vegan on a Budget ebook by the Eco-Vegan Gal.
Pack Snacks and a Lunch before you leave the house For most of us, Eating Smart for breakfast and dinner while we are at home is the easy part. The challenging part comes during the day when we are at work or driving around while hungry. Unhealthy choices are everywhere and we may choose them simply because we have no other options. How do we prevent this from happening? I found the best way is to pack a cooler with you in the morning. It could be a planned out lunch, such leftovers from the night before or maybe a juice you made in the morning or simply some fruit and vegetables or some nuts to snack on. These are great options and you’ll feel much better afterwards. Just don’t forget to pack some napkins and utensils….I learned this quickly and the consequences can leave you very messy.
Eat Locally Grown Produce When it comes to freshness, purchasing locally grown food that is in season is the way to go. Any time food has to travel long distances, even possibly overseas from another country, it was probably not allowed to fully ripen and will not taste as fresh. Not to mention the impact that transporting all this food has on the environment. So how do we find locally grown food? You’re best bet is at a Farmer’s Market. In most cases, the produce was just picked to ensure freshness and you are buying direct from the farmer. Many health food stores will also offer locally grown produce. If you ever have any questions, just ask the store manager and they should be able to assist you.
My last piece of advice….enjoy your food and savor every bite. Share it with family and friends as you all are making healthy choices and Eating Smart together.
So there you have it. Thanks for reading and save me a bite of that organic apple!!
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