Roasted Veggie Pita with hummus, chutney, and hemp hearts.

It is really easy to pop on here and list off a bunch of recipes so you can go recreate them but today I am not going to do that. Those who follow me on Instagram or Facebook have seen that for January I am cooking with a plant based focus. I have shared my meals almost every night since January 1st. Now before I get into it I need you to know, I do not follow recipes. As a savory foodie I believe that everything is about how it tastes and so seasonings and spices typically get added as needed. That being said, some recipes to call for specific items. I promise you I will be following todays post with recipes in the future. For today I want to get you started with shifting your mindset like I did about food and focusing on what we can ADD to your regular meals rather than think about food as something you can’t have. So let’s dive in.

For my nutritional journey I was focused on adding protein, iron and removing meat and animal biproducts as I am sensitive to dairy and beef. I was eating a lot of empty carbs that did not provide my body with the energy I needed for day to day as well as the days I was running 10k+. The first thing I started doing was to stop thinking about fats, sugars or anything that had a negative association to it. I was brought up believing juice, bread and sugar were bad for you and yet my daily nutrition actually stemmed from those things. When we focus on what we cannot have we will always obsess over it. So I started by adding foods without being concerned about my calorie intake or any numbers other than PROTEIN! The first thing I added was nuts and seeds. I was surprised in my research to find out how little of these items I needed to get sufficient protein in my diet. If you aren’t sure about how much protein you should be eating READ HERE. Now here is a list of protein facts about nuts and seeds that might surprise you.

Protein per one ounce of item:

  • Hemp Hearts – 10g
  • Pumpkin Seeds – 8.5g
  • Cashews – 5.2g
  • Sesame Seeds – 4.8g
  • Sunflower Seeds – 5.5g
  • Peanuts – 7.3g
  • Almonds – 6g
Taco bowl with chickpea mash, quinoa, and all the typical taco toppings.

As you can see these have a lot of protein packed into a small amount of product. Nuts and seeds are by far the easiest to add into anyone’s daily meals or replace a snack with. The best part about all of these is the healthy fats that also come to play. Good fats help your body process key nutrients, they are good for your organs including your brain and of course overall energy.

The switch from carbs to nutrient dense alternatives took me about two weeks to figure out what I like. We used to eat a lot of pasta, bread and simple grains but now we are utilizing legumes, complex grains and have minimized the desire for pasta and other nutritionally empty foods. The easiest way to shift this is to again add to staples you already eat. Swap meat for beans or chickpeas, swap rice for quinoa and use veggies (I prefer sautéed or roasted) for pasta and add sauce to them the same way.

What helped us transition:

  • Utilize fun fresh sauces and preserves such as chutneys and pesto in any dish. Simply add a teaspoon or two on the side.
  • Stock your fridge with mostly veggies and put them on your top shelf without any packaging so you are more inclined to grab them to cook rather than dry or packaged goods.
  • Find a simple home made dressing you love and add salad to any meal that doesn’t feel super satisfying.
  • Make your meal building presentation pretty and inviting so creating food is more fun.
  • Put a fun and enjoyable plant based cook book in your kitchen where you can see it every time you are there.

Some of my fav recipes surprised me during this time such as plant patties instead of hamburgers. I had never made these on my own and I actually very much enjoyed them. I took a ton of inspiration from the Oh She Glows cookbook and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to try adding more plant nutrition to their everyday.

BBQ chickpeas cesar salad wrap with pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, spinach and veggies.

Since we have started eating with more intention around nutrition I have been sleeping better, I eat less because I am not hungry, I have significantly decreased brain fog and my energy has been exceptional. They days I eat empty carbs I notice a huge difference in my hunger and my energy. Trust me when I say you need to take nutrition seriously! Have a great week everyone,

Chantel Funk

@chantel.funk

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