LIVE YOUR BEST - GO PLANT BASED
Jump start your plant based life, find out why going plant based makes sense and how to start. Improve your health and help heal the planet.
Guy Greenblat from Outcast Foods gives you some handy advice, tips and easy to do recepies.
- A little time to teach yourself and experiment
- Appetite for new yummy food
A few weeks ago I completed my first trail run race that was an epic 20km in Paarl. This is serious stuff and completing it in a respectable time of 2hr 15min is the bonus. What does this have to do with plant based lifestyle and nutrition? Everything as I believe it was one of the keys to my success, seeing that I am 42, took up running 5 years ago with limited time, while juggling a newly started family, a full time job and running a new start up on the side. This is not a story of someone who had endless time to train, go for massages and pump supplements. This is the story of fueling the body with clean plant food and heaps of determination.
With one week to go on a Friday morning, I ran what I estimate to be 15km of hard trail running and was at my desk at 8:15. I ran in the dark for the first half of the run and I had broken sleep. Doing this and then finding that I still felt energised the rest of the day, left me feeling so much appreciation for the nutrition and lifestyle path I have chosen. I want to share it with anyone who will listen. You don’t need to go extreme, just start and you will find your way. You don’t need a special recipe book, you need a little curiosity and a willingness to try something new. There are endless recipes online for anything you can think of. Some will be unhealthy, others maybe a little too healthy for your liking. Find something that sounds good and make it, as long as the recipe ingredients are real food.
DID YOU KNOW? you can even make a plant based bolognese sauce? Look it up, there are many variations, one example would be to use lentils, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Before we dive into some broad meal plan ideas, let’s understand that to get good at anything you need to practice. Plant based lifestyle needs practical experience. Depending on how much time you have it could take a few weeks, but you will get there. Remember progress is incremental and each time you succeed or fail in preparing a meal you will have gotten better through learning. I am also a firm believer that it is almost impossible to make a plant based dish that is not edible.
The greater impact of people choosing to go plant based is that it is crucial restoring balance to the earth. Animal farming is a major contributor to the climate crisis, causing at least 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Animal farming causes damage to our forests. 80% of the world’s deforestation is related to our current food system and nearly 70% of cleared land in the Amazon is used for cattle grazing.
So what do you need to start this incredible journey that benefits you and the planet? If you know nothing at all, find a friend or colleague who is on the path. They will most likely be very happy to share what works for them. So find some people and talk to them. This will hopefully inspire you further and start you on the process of figuring out what you may or may not like.
Next or in the absence of people close to you with some knowledge find a plant based nutritionist or coach. If you are one of those people that loves learning on your own you can get lost in researching plant based eating for days.
If you are also new to cooking don’t be deterred, take the time to find a few recipes you think you can manage and get cooking.
We can end this article buy giving you a few examples and ideas for your meals.
Breakfast: Possibly the easiest thing to cook and highly under rated. Oat Porridge. Just add a sprinkle of imagination. Get some rolled oats, you can buy in bulk in many places and mix up your fav ingredients. Some chopped nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raisins, goji berries and maybe some sesame seeds. Mix up a big batch. To Cook add water to cover the oats plus a little more and simmer for 10 mins till you get the texture you want. You can add banana or apple for extra sweetness and flavour.
Breakfast Option 2: Get a block of tofu, cut it up, then crumble with a fork, cook in a pan for 5-10 mins, add a little turmeric, veg stock/salt and pepper to taste. You can also add your fav veggies. Serve on toast, this dish is so tasty and satisfying. Tofu takes on whatever flavours you add. Do not be put off by having had bland rubbery tofu.
Lunch: Green salad with roast butternut and quinoa with chickpeas or falafe. Choose your fav dressing and if you have ripe avo’s that is a must to take it to the next level. Stuck on dressing ideas? Squeeze some lemon, add some tahini, salt/pepper and a dash of water, this will give you a rich creamy dressing bursting with flavour.
Lunch Option 2: Chickpea “tuna” mayo. Normal mayo is not plant based but there are many good vegan mayos these days. To make this dish, use some cooked chickpeas, mash them up, add some mayo. Next add some finely chopped pickles to add crunch and flavour. We use homemade sauerkraut instead of pickles. Pick something crunchy and tangy. You can also add a little bit of finely chopped pepper. Serve on toast, rice cakes etc and enjoy. You will be surprised how good this is!
Dinner: Plant based burgers! There are endless options to choose from, from wholesome and healthy veg patties to the meat replacement versions. There is something for everyone. Quick and easy to prepare with or without a bun. Choose some trimmings, salad and maybe some sweet potato chips in the air fryer. Yum.
Dinner Option 2: Curries and stews, using lentils, chickpeas or beans. Throw it all in a pot with your fav veg and spices and let it simmer. Serve with rice, bread or quinoa. Bonus is that it is easy to make larger quantities of this sort of food to have for another meal in a few days.
So what are you waiting for, get your plant palette in gear to enjoy the benefits and heal the planet.
Guy Greenblat is the founder of Outcast Foods. A maker and didgeridoo musician and craftsman with a love of being active and still in nature with a calling to make an impact.