one, two, three...

If you have read the "about me" section here on pop nourish then you already know I am currently working towards my certification as a Holistic Nutritionist, and this program focuses heavily on the many benefits of a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet is one that consists of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and minimal or no animal products.

For me personally, I am strictly vegetarian but I would say I am only 85% plant-based at this point. But I don't want to get hung up on labels, because what someone chooses not to eat doesn't define their health as much as what they DO choose to eat. We all know that copious amounts of processed food is not good for you, and that fresh produce is. What you decide to put in your body day after day does have a direct effect on your health.

Today I saw an article on The Plant-Based Network's facebook page, saying that Kaiser Permanente now endorses a plant-based diet for overall health and wellness. My whole family goes to Kaiser so I thought this was really cool to see such a huge medical corporation acknowledge the power of food. One of my favorite books I have read in this program is called, "How Not to Die" by Dr. Michael Greger and I thought today I would share some advice found in this book, that is actually from Kaiser Permanente. 
*I am not taking credit for anything, but I am providing my own examples based off of their advice*

Kaiser Permanenete's Three Step Approach to Making Dietary Changes :

Step 1: Think of three meals you already enjoy that are plant-based, and heathify them!
Example: Pasta with marinara sauce- a simple and delicious plant-based meal. Next time you make this, try adding steamed broccoli and zucchini to bump up the nutritional value of this dinner.

Step 2: Think of three meals you already eat that can be adapted to become plant-based.
Example: Chili- instead of using ground beef the next time you make chili, try making it a bean chili and add different types of beans such as black, pinto, kidney, or garbanzo. You can also add in corn or chopped bell pepper to make it more hearty. Another example would be tacos- in place of chicken or beef served in a tortilla, try a taco salad with black beans, fresh vegetables, and fajita style onions and peppers!

Step 3: Discover new healthy options
-Swap soda for sparkling water
-Swap ice cream for "nice cream" which is made up of frozen bananas, plant-based milk, and whichever add ins you enjoy
-Swap deli meat sandwiches with hummus and vegetable sandwiches
-Swap heavy cream for canned coconut milk
-Swap jar queso for The Honest Stand queso dip which is entirely plant-based and organic, and insanely yummy

From my studies I have learned that there is a ton of evidence, case studies, and personal testimonies from patients, doctors, and researchers supporting the idea that a whole foods, plant-based diet is extremely beneficial to your health. Just keep in mind the word "based" here- I am not telling you to cut out meat and dairy, and your favorite packaged snacks, I am just trying to encourage you to limit animal products, add more whole, nutrient dense, and unprocessed foods into your daily routine.

I will end this post with another quote from Dr. Greger that really stuck out to me. "What you eat on special occasions is insignificant compared to what you eat day in and day out." Don't let the fear of missing out on yummy food at a birthday party, or the thought of never having your favorite meal from your favorite restaurant again keep you from making small but significant changes every day that will benefit you physically and mentally for years to come.

I would love to know the meals you thought of for steps 1 and 2! Let me know in the comments!

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