Simple ways to include a plant based friendly diet in your everyday without totally committing.
I confess, I’m not a huge diet-fad kind of person. I’ve always eaten what I like and stuck to the healthier side of things. Granted, I was blessed with good genetics and a fast metabolism, but I do understand the struggle with knowing exactly what to eat for your body type and physical needs. It took me a couple years to really find my groove and what works for me.
As a yoga instructor, I practice everyday on top of teaching 5-6 days a week. That’s a lot of energy that requires clean, all natural fuel to keep me going. On my recent trip to Bali, not only did I need snacks to keep my energy going during my 300Hr Teacher Training, but I also needed healthy options on hand between airports and more remote destinations with fewer options.
Disclaimer : I eat meat. I love fish, and at least one meal in my day will involve some sort of solid protein. Red meat isn’t heavily prominent but I do have it at least once a month.
I am, however, interested in aspects of the vegan/paleo/vegetarian diets because they do stem from a natural approach. I don’t really commit to one or the other since I’m a big believer of balance, but I do try to bring in some elements in my everyday. Which brings me to my next point:
Small and simple ways to try a plant-based diet on the daily
Try incorporating plant-based eating in at least one of your meals
If you have the time to plan out your meals, try incorporating one meal that is void of any animal protein. I like to do this for lunch or breakfast, as they are meals I typically enjoy on the lighter side. Oats for breakfast or a rice-beans-salad combo for lunch. One of the trickier parts of deciding to go vegan/vegeterian is knowing where to get your protein from. It’s one thing to just cut it out completely and simply eat whatever you can, but it’s another to mindfully replace your protein and make sure you’re getting the equivalent in plant based options.
A lunch favourite of mine
I like to mix up wild rice with chickpeas, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, a little olive oil, salt & pepper, and some parmesan cheese for taste (okay, not vegan, but I’m French and cheese is a birth right, plus parmesan is extremely low in lactose and high in protein.) The chick peas are high in protein, and a really great crunchy addition to it, along spinach which adds some iron. If you really want meat, I usually add some smoked salmon or grilled chicken to it.
Try prepackaged or meal prepping
There are also many pre-packaged meal options like Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon. Some are better then others, you have to see what works for you. I did a week trial of pre-packaged vegan meals (Soulara meals were actually really tasty and most of all, convenient for lunch. I really enjoyed just popping it in the microwave whenever I didn’t feel like cooking). It was also nice knowing I was getting all the recommended nutrients without needing to think too much of where the protein was coming from, there was always some form of tofu or high protein bean.
2. Make your snacks vegetarian, vegan or paleo for extra clean energy
While not strictly paleo or vegetarian, I do try to eat as many unprocessed foods as possible, including snacks and protein bars. A reason why I love Blue Dinosaur Bars is because they are so tasty and always leave me fully satisfied. When I’m travelling I sometimes don’t have many options to fill my craving AND my appetite (Twix and Cadbury bars don’t count, sadly). I do cave in now and then, but knowing I’ve got a healthy option at all times makes things oh-so-easier.
Blue Dino’s new protein bars are particularly high in protein and a really good nutrient dense option. There’s a high amount of protein (derived from egg whites) in each bar and it’s safe to say the consistency itself has kept me full and satisfied until my next real meal. Athlete or not, they are a real life saver and game changer. I’ve even had Scotty munch on a protein bar before going for a big surf session at Uluwatu, and he didn’t even come back for lunch!
3. Everybody is different, fuel the right way for your physical needs!
If you’re an athlete, or do any form of exercise on the regular (and yes, even yoga!) you definitely need some form of variety of a healthy snack before and after your sessions. Be it nuts, fruit, hummus and carrots, etc… . During my 300hr training with Zuna Yoga, we would practice 3 hours in the morning and near the end of the day another 2.5-3 hours in the afternoon during our assessments. Most of our lunches were vegan and vegetarian, and I really noticed the effects it had on my body. However, I did have a piece of fish every now and again and always had my Blue Dino bars for extra protein.
My yoga practice, as well as surfing, was also a huge factor in understanding my body and the right way to fuel it. I also believe the breathing techniques and the activities that I do on the daily have also changed my body and metabolism to what it is today. How long will this last? I’m not so sure, but as I’ve always learnt from my mom, it’s better to start your healthy habits at a young age so they stick with you throughout your life.