Where to begin! Whole Food Plant Based (wfpb)

In my last post I said I would take a selfie – here it is!

As I’ve said in previous posts, I was looking to make a change back in late 2019. I knew that meant dealing with my increasing weight but in the back of my mind I was thinking what’s the point? “You know how this works Angela,” I said, “you lose weight over a short period of time, get fed up with the restrictive regime, start cheating and end up putting even more weight back on. After all, that’s what’s happened every time in the past!”

How we can delude ourselves!

This time however, something was different. Losing weight wasn’t my main focus. Being healthier was! So I didn’t jump straight in to wfpb. Didn’t set a date to start and then eat everything in sight in preparation for the inevitable deprivation. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!

Now obviously I didn’t know how wfpb was going to change my life when I started out on this process. But, I had joined a 21-day challenge and while not starting on day one, I was reading posts from those who had and that definitely gave me inspiration. I was amazed at the changes people were experiencing health wise in particular and so set my start date (no I didn’t do the whole binge eating of everything I could think of beforehand!) I can only put that down to something having switched in my brain – I was absolutely up for the challenge.

Where to start?

Obviously, this was such a big change, I remember struggling with how to actually start. I had already decided not to transition – because my thinking was if I didn’t go all in, would I ever fully succeed in going wfpb. So for me, I committed to eating whole food, plant based, no oil, no salt.

So I thought I’d share a typical days wfpb meals with you – I don’t remember where this breakfast idea came from, certainly not a recipe, but I felt I needed to keep it simple. This is absolutely delicious and remains my go to breakfast – I never tire of it.

1 chopped apple

1or 2 bananas, sliced

Small handful of blueberries and strawberries

A few chopped nuts

2 tbsp ground flax seed

Drizzle of pure maple syrup

For someone who would eat the occasional apple or a few grapes prior to wfpb – this was a game changer. That reminds me, if you haven’t watched ‘The Game Changers’ on Netflix, I highly recommend that you do. Watching this cemented my desire to change.

For lunch a favourite of mine is a Vegan “Toona” Salad sandwich from The Plant-Based Diet for beginners’ cook book by Gabriel Miller

  • Vegan “Toona” Salad
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Method
  • In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas and the avocado. Using a fork or a potato masher, smash them down until the majority of the chick peas are broken apart.
  • Stir in the onion, celery, mustard, lemon juice, maple syrup and garlic powder, making sure everything is thoroughly combined and serve.
  • I often eat mine on toasted whole wheat bread with plenty of salad and a generous dollop of cashew cream

For dinner, another favourite of the whole family is 10 Minute Vegan Rice Stir-Fry from dreenaburton.com

  • Pinch sea salt (optional)
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers or carrots
  • 1 cup corn kernels or green peas or a combination of both
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions or chives (if chives – add at the end of cooking)
  • 1/3 cup sliced celery
  • 5 cups pre-cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • I cup diced pre-cooked potatoes or 1/2 cup more rice
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup tamari
  • 1 -2 tbsp water
  • Sea salt to taste, optional
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste, optional

Instructions

  • In a large nonstick skillet over high or medium-high heat, sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt and add the bell peppers or carrots, corn or green peas, green onions and celery, stirring occasionally
  • Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the rice, potatoes (if using) and 1/4 cup of the tamari
  • Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add the water if the mixture is sticking
  • Heat the rice through
  • If using chives, add and stir
  • Taste, add the remaining tamari, season with salt and black pepper if desired
  • Serve

I regularly turn to Google when I’m looking for recipes, ideas and tips – it has become my right arm when looking for inspiration when researching wfpb and it can become yours too. My sister who is a Body Shop at Home Consultant posted on Facebook about their Moringa products and shared with me what she’d learned about the Moringa bean through her research on google. I learned that it is a super food and 100g of the Moringa leaf has 15 x more potassium than bananas, 36 x more magnesium than eggs plus many more nutrients. Moringa powder can be used in anything that would benefit from the flavour of what is akin to spinach. I have ordered some from Amazon and will let you know how I get on. Those of you with underlying health issues should consult a doctor or health professional before using Moringa.

My next post will include further insight into my wfpb journey, what I’ve learned, what worked, what didn’t, as well as shortcuts, ideas and tips that will be of benefit. Please comment on this post and feel free to make suggestions for what you would like me to cover in upcoming posts.

Selfie Drama Queen!

Following on from my first post, I promised a funny story. So first, a bit of background. I have struggled with low self-esteem for many years having had a weight problem for most of my life. Since beginning eating wfpb in November 2019 I have lost a significant amount of weight – no idea how much because I was in total denial about what I weighed so didn’t weigh myself. Also, I very, very rarely had my photo taken, and if I did, it would only ever be when I’d lost weight. So, fast forward to May 2020 and having lost weight I started taking an interest in my overall appearance again. My sister had recently begun buying Body Shop products from a friend who was a Body Shop at Home Consultant. I decided to update my skin care regime (after all – not getting any younger!) This was during lockdown and having not been out, I’ve practically been living in pyjamas, make-up free with hair that is desperate for a cut and colour. I decided to invest in quality products and my consultant suggested I take a before photo and another a week later to show how the products had improved my skin. Me! take a photo! of myself!!!!

Of course, I have not met the consultant so she wasn’t aware of my absolute phobia of having my photo taken! Anyway, once I’d stopped hyperventilating, I thought I would give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen, right! Armed with my smart phone I took my first selfie and my worst fears were confirmed – droopy eyelid, wonky nose – nightmare! To say I was horrified is an understatement! Now, I share my home with my 3 teenage grandsons and it just so happened that one of them was passing my bedroom door just as I was reviewing my selfie. Thrusting the offending photo in his face I said “I don’t really look like that do I?” Well his face was a picture. So many emotions flickering across his face. I could actually see the cogs turning, thinking how do I answer this one? Eventually he said “let me take your photo nana, you’re not used to taking selfies” (another understatement). Needless to say, the result was the same, confirming to me that indeed I did look like that. Not to be deterred, the grandson said, “it’s probably your phone nana, let me take one on your iPad”. He looked through the lens and said “shut your mouth nana, you might look better.” Well, at that, I was in hysterics. I laughed and laughed and couldn’t stop. The grandson joined in. My stomach hurt I was laughing so much. When I’d recovered, I said, “right I’m ready for my close up now.” Grandson said, “I can’t take one now nana, your face is all red.” So, I was resigned to the fact that I was not exactly photogenic. However, I persevered with recording my skin regime progress. The result of all this – I no longer fear my photo being taken and have learned to like the way I look. Well at least I no longer recoil in horror! Low self esteem is a drain, but I’m working on it. Needless to say I won’t be posting the before selfie anytime soon, if ever! But, after 4 months of lock down I have a hair appointment booked in – so you never know, with my new found self confidence, I may try the selfie again!

I wish inserting media content into this blog was as easy as switching to whole food plant based eating! But….still getting to grips with it.

In my next and subsequent posts I will continue to share my progress along with recipes, tips and facts about how I got started and what has kept me on track. If you are interested in discovering more about the whole food plant based lifestyle, please visit my blog again and feel free to comment, give feedback, suggest ideas for content and ask questions.

Passionate about Whole Food Plant Based eating

26/May 2020, I turned 63 years old, How did that happen I wondered?In my head I wasn’t 63! Late in 2019, I was taking stock of my life and yet again my thoughts turned towards my weight. I really needed to do something about it…..again. I have been on so many diets from about the age of 14 and for brief periods of time I actually felt good about the way I looked. It never lasted for long though and I would end up putting all the weight back on and more. That same scenario was repeated over and over again. Why was that? Because I never learned about nutrition and didn’t make the connection between what I ate and how I felt health wise!

So in October 2019 my mind must have been open and attuned to the idea of healthy weight loss because appearing on my radar was all this talk about ‘whole food plant based’ (wfpb) eating. I was curious, read more and more, did a whole lot of research and then in my Facebook feed came across Dr Roseanne Olivera’s ‘21 Day Whole Food Plant Based Challenge’. Even so, I didn’t start straight away, I began to see posts from those who had started and that cemented my desire to get involved. I was ready to change and the predominant reason for change was for health reasons – weight loss would be a very welcome bonus.

In preparation, I shopped for spices, herbs, tinned and dried goods and finally fruit and vegetables, ready to give myself the best possible chance of maintaining this new eating lifestyle. The day before starting whole food plant based, I bought a new box of 72 Rennie because I had suffered with acid reflux for years. Everything I ate caused acid reflux. 8 months in, I still have not opened that box! From my first whole food plant based meal I have not experienced acid reflux – absolutely amazing! The first indication that I had taken the first step to improved health.

I chose not to transition, instead choosing to go the whole hog and decided I wouldn’t use oil, sugar or salt. Within the first week I noticed pain in my fingers and my right knee had significantly decreased and by the end of the third week, all pain had gone. The health benefits kept me on track with my choice and happily the weight was dropping off!

In my next post I will share a funny story (well in my opinion it’s funny) about taking my very first selfie! The reason I don’t have a before photo will also become clear.

If you are new to eating wfpb or thinking about transitioning to wfpb or interested in my experience so far, please feel free to comment and if there is a particular topic you’d like me to cover, please let me know?