Last week I was talking to someone who has been yo-yo dieting 50ish pounds for the entire 12 years I’ve known him. When I suggested he might stop dieting and start eating by moving towards being more plant-based he replied, “That’s WAY too restrictive!” I explained that I eat much more variety now than I ever did on the Standard American Diet (SAD). To which he said, “You can go ahead and admit it’s restrictive to me. I’m not a client.”
Let’s overlook the fact that he suggested I lie to clients and focus on the fact that it made me wonder if Russ and I are the only people whose diet got MORE interesting when we switched to being plant-based. I did an informal survey by posing a question to the plant-based/vegan community: “What foods do you eat now that you had never tried before you changed your diet?”
I learned a few things I need to try soon. Here’s a partial list:Arugula x2
Bean burgers x2
Brussel sprouts x2
Cabbage (red and green)
Cashew yogurt (processed)
Chia seeds x2
CONGEE (I had to look this one up)
Jack fruit (We haven’t tried yet)
Kale x7Kimchi x3
Maca (had to look up)
Maple syrup (still sugar, we use it)
Medjool dates x3
Moringa (had to look up)
Mung beans, cooked and sprouted
Nutritional yeast x4
Plant milks x11
Pumpkin seeds x2
Radishes, raw and roasted
“Literally everything. My idea of healthy was having one salad on Sunday with load of ranch and bacon.”
“I eat a wider variety of food in general since going vegan and I have pretty much given up sweets.”
Now, you might be looking at the list and thinking, “I eat MOST of those foods.” And I’m sure you’ve heard of them and even had them once or twice. But how often do you actually consume them? That’s what makes the difference when you start moving towards being plant-based. It’s not that you have to eat a bunch of foods you’ve never heard of (although it is fun to try new things). You simply start adding more variety of foods you know are good for you but you aren’t currently eating.
The point is, being plant-based isn’t at all about restricting what you eat. There is a whole world of amazing foods to try and to love. I used to say that I ate to live, not because I enjoyed it. Since going whole-food plant-based, I’ve become a bit of a foodie; and it’s fun.
I would encourage you to add a few (or all) of these to your meal rotation. You will soon realize that what you’re eating now is pretty boring.
Do you have a plant-based food you've added to your diet that's not on this list? I'd love to hear about it!
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.