Plant-Based Eating Made Easy for Beginners

Whether you’re fully committed to a plant-based lifestyle or simply plant-curious, there’s a space for you here!

If you are interested in eating fewer animal-based foods or vegetarian, vegan, plant-based...
You have a concern for the environment, compassion for the animals or pursuing healthy living... 
You want to include more plant-based meals in your diet for weight loss, more energy or radiant skin...

PLANT-BASED SUPPORT

FOOD GROUPS
WHY PLANTS
CARBOHYDRATES
PROTEIN
FATS
FIBER
VITAMINS
MINERALS
MENU PLAN
READ LABELS

Food Groups

What do I Eat on a Plant-Based Lifestyle?

Vegetables (starchy & non starchy), Fruits, Legumes (beans, lentils, peas), Whole Grains, Soy Foods (tofu, tempeh, edamame), Nuts, Seeds, Herbs& Spices

Tips

You will get vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, fats, carbohydrates directly from plant foods, without the cholesterol, saturated fats and toxins.

Avoid highly refined processed products made with refined white flour, sugar, fats, oils; cookies, chips, fast-food restaurant food, etc.

To get an idea of what to eat on a plant-based lifestyle visit my website and listen to the Eat More Plants series.


Why Eat More Plant-Based Foods?

If it comes from a garden or off a tree, it has to be good for me & my family!, 

Your diet choices have effects on your health, the environment and the animals.

Whether you want toLose weight, enhance athletic performance, have more energy, help the planet, help the animals, help prevent disease or improve health, have clearer, younger looking skin...

It's important to consider what you put on your plate! It is important to choose foods, in their whole, unrefined form. 

Tips

Here are some great books & cooking books, to help you on your health journey.

Here are some documentaries that you can watch, that can change you life!


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, protein and fats are macronutrients that provide us with calories. They are the body's most efficient source of energy, providing fuel for the brain! A plant-based/vegan diet provides abundant carbohydrates.

Refined carbs found in processed foods like sweets and sodas are not healthy and give a bad reputation to carbohydrates!

Best carbohydrate sources are : the starches in whole grains, legumes and vegetables, the simple sugars in fruits, and a small amount in nuts & seeds.


Protein

Carbohydrates, protein and fats are macronutrients that provide us with calories.

A plant-based/vegan diet delivers abundant protein. We get protein by eating a variety of plant-based foods.

Protein is found in: vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils, beans) & soy products (tempeh, tofu, edamame).

It's easy to get enough protein by eating a vegan diet, especially one that includes soy foods & legumes!

Check out some protein packed Plant-Based Breakfast Ideas!


Fats

Fat is found in every plant-based food. The most healthful sources of fat come from whole plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, olives & avocados rather than ''extracted oils''. 

Most people consume more omega 6 fatty acids since they are added to many processed foods in the forms of oils. We eat too many omega 6s and not enough omega 3s. Maintaining the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is important for good health! If there is an imbalance of omega 6s and omega 3s, there are higher chances of inflammation and degenerative disease.

Omega 3s are found inseeds (chia seeds, flax seeds hemp seeds) & nuts (walnuts) and in small amounts in green leafy greens & sea vegetables.

Omega 6s are found inextracted oils (sunflower oil, olive oil, etc.), nuts (pine nuts, walnuts) & seeds (hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds & sunflower seeds) and in small amounts in many other plant-based foods like soybeans.


Fiber

People do not consume enough daily fiber! Fiber is present in all whole plant-based foods, but absent in all animal foods.

Fiber is important; it helps the body stay slim and help you feel full after eating. It plays an important role in keeping waste/toxins moving through the intestines to get eliminated.

High fiber foods allow carbohydrates to be released slowly in the bloodstream to maintain normal blood glucose levels and reduce hunger.

Fiber is present in:  whole grains, but is lost when grains are refined; they also lose important minerals & B vitamins in the process. It's also present in legumes (beans, lentils and peas), fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens.


Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients. A plant-based/vegan lifestyle is an excellent source of vitamins & phytonutrients.

Fruits, vegetables, leafy green vegetables are all great sources of vitamins.

However vitamins B12 & D are not readily available and require special attention. See your doctor for more information.

Vitamin B12: Fortified foods contain a small amount, and nutritional yeast.

Vitamin D: Fortified foods contain a small amount like soy milk, orange juice, cereals and other non dairy milks.


Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients. A plant-based/vegan lifestyle is an excellent source of minerals.

Calcium sources: broccoli, kale, mustard greens, okra, nappa cabbage, turnip greens, spinach, Swiss Chard, beet greens, 

almonds, sesame seeds, tahini, blackstrap molasses, fortified soy milk, tofu, figs, black beans & white beans.

Magnesium sources: green vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, legumes, cacao powder

Potassium sources: potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, mushrooms, strawberries, bananas

Phosphorus sources:  nuts & seeds, whole grains, legumes

Zinc sources: cashews, tempeh, quinoa, lentils, sesame seeds, tahini, pumpkin seeds

Iron sources : nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, lentils, dried fruits, peas

Tip: For iron sources, eat with vitamin C source to help increase absorption.


Menu Planning

In this short menu planning video, I am sharing with you a 5-step system to begin meal planning.

Try it out and begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle. You will feel empowered and have the tools to begin cooking healthier meals. You can plan it all in one day or take a few days to accomplish the 5 steps. Start implementing this 5-day step and see positive results.


Reading Labels

Only a small pourcentage of people, pay attention to nutrition labels. Even fewer people, know how to read them. Food labels are suppose to help us make an informed decision before buying, yet some are misleading and confusing!

The front package can be misleading. Always check the back of the package for the ingredient list. It is usually below the nutrition facts label. 

The ingredients are listed on the label in descending order, based on weight.  The ingredients taking up the most weight are listed first and those with the least are listed last. Therefore the first ingredients are important and must be real food!


Extra Tips for Reading Labels

Are plant ingredients listed first? Great!

Is the list short? 5 ingredients or less is better.

Are ingredients easy to understand? If you can't read it; don't buy it or eat it!

Avoid added oils, added sugars or natural flavoring.


PRACTICAL PLANT-BASED COOKING TIPS

WHOLE GRAINS
LEGUMES
SOY FOODS
HEALTHY FATS
SWEETENERS
HERBS/SPICES
PLANT MILKS
EGG REPLACERS
THICKENERS
KITCHEN TOOLS

Whole Grains

The best way to eat grains is the way nature grew them, not refined.

Whole Grains & Pseudograins: Barley, Brown Rice, Oats, Spelt, Wheat, Kamut, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth, Buckwheat


Cooking with Whole Grains

Step 1: Put fresh water in a pot and bring to a boil.

Step 2: Once it comes to a boil, add grains and cover the pot with a tight fighting lid. Reduce heat to low.

Step 3: Make sure to follow instructions for cooking time on the package.

Step 4: Do not stir while the grains are cooking or it will make it sticky.

Step 5: Once the grains are cooked (all the water will be absorbed), remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.


Tips

Whole grains do not require soaking before cooking (like legumes) and require less time to cook.

Gluten-Free options: Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Quinoa & Rice. For Oats, I choose the brand Bobs Red Mill, to make sure they are gluten-free.

Leftovers cooked grains can be reheated and added into salads, used in a dessert, in a breakfast recipe and even added in soups.

Whole grains are an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and energy!


Legumes

Legumes are protein powerhouses! Legumes include: beans, lentils & peas.

Most legumes require soaking before cooking. Soaking increases their nutritional value and are better absorbed by the body.

Lentils and split peas do not need to be soaked before cooking; only beans and peas. Soaking also helps reduce symptoms of gas.

Soaking beans decreases the cooking time. Always discard soaking water and rinse well.


Cooking with Legumes

Step 1: Inspect dry beans for stones, etc. and then rinse well with water.

Step 2: For every cup of dried beans, add 3 cups of water. Make sure bowl is big enough since they will expand.

Step 3: Let them soak for 8-12 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Step 4: After soaking, drain and rinse well again with water.

Step 5: Put in a large pot, add water to cover the beans and cook until they are soft.

Step 6: Add 1/4 tsp of sea salt per cup of dried beans towards the end of cooking.

Step 7: Rinse cooked beans once they are cool to prevent them from splitting.


Tips

Begin with small amounts in your diet (to minimize the production of intestinal gas) and increase gradually. 

Start with smaller legumes like lentils, split peas and tofu ; they are easiest to digest.

Soybeans are superstars! They contain no cholesterol, and less fat than animal based foods.

Leftover cooked legumes can be reheated and added into salads, or in soups.

Beans, lentils and peas are rich in protein, B vitamins, folate, zinc, fiber, iron and many other vitamins & minerals.

Fortified soy milk and tofu are abundant sources of calcium.



Soy Foods

Soy beans are a highly digestible, good protein source.

Soy products include: tofu, tempeh, edamame. Choose ''organic'' when possible.

Different types of tofu available: silken tofu, firm, extra firm tofu

Calcium-set tofu is an excellent source of calcium; always read your labels.

Silken Tofu: silken nature, soft to extra firm available.

Tempeh: is a fermented soy product, a source of protein, is made using whole soybeans. 

You can find it in the refrigerator or freezer sections of the grocery store.


Steps to Press your Tofu 

Step 1: To press tofu, remove tofu from package.

Step 2: Line a plate with paper towels, and place the block of tofu on top. 

Step 3: Place another layer of paper towel on the tofu block and apply something heavy on top (a bag of grains or cans of food). 

Step 4: Let it “press” for at least 20 minutes, replace the paper towels and let it rest for another 10 minutes for an extra chewy meaty texture.

These steps will help get delicious crispy tofu!

Check out some delicious tofu recipes!


Healthy Fats

Fat is an essential nutrient and we need it to live. Yet, it has a bad reputation!

The highest quality of fat is naturally present in avocados, nuts, olives, seeds, soybeans, and coconuts.

Eat in moderation; even if they are healthy sources!

Healthy fat plant-based sources: almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, avocado, chia seeds, hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds.

Tips

Flax seeds are very high in omega 3s and are best grinded before consumed. Add whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder and grind until powder form. Store in the refrigerator in a glass container. Add 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds into your smoothie, salad, or steamed veggies.


Sweeteners

If health is your priority, then fruits (fresh or frozen) are the way to go for something sweet!

Choose organic when possible. Check out the EWG dirty dozen, your shoppers guide to pesticides.

Dried fruit in moderation, is also a good option.

Sweetener options for baking: Pure maple syrup, stevia, organic blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar, date sugar, fruit puree.

I love preparing healthy desserts. Check out some delicious raw dessert recipes!


Herbs & Spices

Herbs & spices are so important in plant-based cooking. They make everything taste good.

Herbs are leafy parts of plants and spices come from different parts of plants. They are best stored in dark glass jars with tight fitting lids. Avoid storing them near heat like above the oven. You can use a coffee grinder to grind spices. 

Tip: Fresh herbs can be used instead of dried herbs. Use 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs to replace 1 tsp of dried herbs.


Non Dairy Milks

It is important to select milks that are enriched (fortified) with vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D. Be sure to check the ingredients on the label.

Non dairy milks include: almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk.

Tips

Purchase the ''unsweetened'' version to avoid the added sugar or make your own.

Soy milk is very high in protein.


Egg Replacers

Tip

You can use this as a substitute for one egg in baked goods.

You can use a mix of ground flaxseeds and water as an egg replacer in a baking recipe.

1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds and 3 tbsp of water, stir well and let rest for 10 minutes until thickened. 


Thickeners

Plant-based thickeners can come from sea vegetables, pectin, gums like xantham gum, or ground flaxseeds.

Agar agar powder : sea vegetable extract, can be used as a substitut for gelatin.

Tip: 1/2 tsp agar powder will thicken 1 cup of liquid; it needs to be dissolved in a hot liquid to be able to gel.

Arrowroot starch: can be used as a substitut for cornstarch to thicken puddings, sauces, and gravies. It's gluten-free.

Tip: 1 tbsp of arrowroot starch will thicken 1 cup of liquid; before adding it to a recipe, dissolve it in cold water.


Kitchen Tools

Set up your kitchen for plant-based success. It will make life and your transition, so much easier!

Here is a list of kitchen equipment that can help you on your journey!

Here is a list of kitchen tools that can also help you with daily cooking tasks.


EAT MORE PLANTS SERIES

This FREE 5-part series can help you add more plants to your plate and/or slowly transition to a plant-based lifestyle.

PART 1
PART 2
PART 3
PART 4
PART 5

Part 1: Popular Veggie Trends

Part 2: Plant Based Starter Kit


Part 3: Common Questions Plant Based Lifestyle

Part 4: Benefits of Eating more Plant Based Foods

Part 5: Plant Based Meal Ideas

*Disclaimer: Information and products on this website (PlantBasedEva.com) are meant for general use only and are not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat disease. The content within is for educational purposes and nothing should be considered as a medical diagnosis or advice.