How to upgrade your diet with plant-based foods
Transitioning your diet to include more plant-based and raw foods can be really fun. It’s all about taking your time and introducing new recipes, flavours and foods into your life which you haven’t been paying much attention to until now.
When you’re first starting off, it can at times feel overwhelming thinking of all the things you want to do and wondering where the heck you should start. But, what I found was, it felt a whole lot easier when I broke it all down into smaller steps as I went along.
Ultimate plant-based food swaps
by Juliette Young
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And I started doing this before I gave up meat and before my diet started to really truly be mostly raw and plant-based. I knew I absolutely needed to do something to take more responsibility for my health but, felt totally overwhelmed at the idea of it.
Doing things this way gave me a fun way to upgrade my diet by just making some small changes which felt easy to do. This added variety and over time helped me to create new habits. Because doing this gave me such a lift, I felt confident to try more new recipes and foods than I ever had previously and just kept going with it. And going and going and still do this in fact!
I made the whole thing into a kind of game so those times when I was feeling a bit bored with my foodie routine I could always swap things up a little in my own cheeky way…Well, I felt it was cheeky anyway.
I mean, why tell the kids I was making brownies with beetroot or a tin of black beans,
cakes with coconut flour and week old bananas that had begun to go brown or
sweets out of de-stoned dates and almond meal left over from trying to make nut milk?
Each food swap had to be an upgrade from my usual fare and also had to be gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. So I started up a list of things which with time, just grew and grew.
I ended up creating a small chart which I stuck to the front of our fridge with our oh-so-typical-fridge magnets (I’m sure you must have some!)
At the bottom of this blog post I’ve popped in a link to my (new and much prettier) free chart for you to grab, if you’d like to. It’s my ‘Ultimate Plant-Based Food Swaps’.
Hope do you like it!
10 Easy-To-Do Healthy Plant-Based Food Swaps
1 - Simplify Fats
Instead of reaching into the cupboard to find all sorts fats I simplified to just these three:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - not for cooking but for dips, sauces and drizzling
2 - Sugars
There are so many different names given to the sugar in our foods. I like to stick to these:
Raw Honey (not vegan)
3 - Table Salt
I swap this with unrefined sea salt/celtic sea salt because table salt has been stripped during processing of its natural mineral content and sea salt hasn’t.
4 - Bread
Now that we have much better sources of gluten-free bread available to us this can be a fab alternative - I like the Genius brand. Crackers, oatcakes, and sprouted grain breads can make a delightful change. There are so many to choose from now and do look out for those with no additives, preservatives or added flavours.
5 - Breakfast cereal
Make your own cereal using gluten free alternatives such as oats, buckwheat, amaranth, millet and quinoa. You can also use nuts and seeds - I love chia seeds, hemp, almonds and hazelnuts. What favourites do you have?
6 - Cakes and cookies
Have you discovered chocolate coconut bliss balls? They’re gorgeous! You can make cookies and cakes with raw ingredients and you’ll be amazed at how simple and delicious they are.
Gluten free flours such as coconut flour and ground almonds can be used make wonderful cakes and tartes.
7 - Croutons
How about using your favourite nuts and seeds instead?
8 - Dairy milk
Non dairy milks such as almond, tiger nut, hazelnut, coconut etc. are easily available now in most supermarkets but you need to watch out for added ingredients in some brands.
I love the taste of freshly made almond milk but, a good shop bought alternative for me is the London based Rude Health brand run by Nick and Camilla Barnard. They avoid using thickeners, flavourings, additives and preservatives in their produce.
9 - Eggs
Aquafaba (the liquid from tins of chickpeas), psyllium husk powder, ground flax seed, chia seeds.
10 - Flour
Almond flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour, gluten free flour, sprouted flour.
As with any change in your diet you should always speak to your doctor or qualified healthcare professional before making changes and to discuss if including more plant-based and raw foods would be suitable for you.
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be so very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Facebook. Thank you!
I’m off to make a cup of tea! (that's what we Brits do you know)
Bye for now.