There were seasons in my life when I would abstain from meat and fish and follow a vegetarian diet. Then, after months of eating nutrient-dense foods, the cravings for variety would come and I would eventually revert back to my meat-eating habits. After watching a documentary on healthy eating recently—and becoming enlightened to the truth about meat, dairy and fish—the decision to convert to veganism was immediate.
To avoid a radical change I transitioned slowly choosing one day out of the week to go strictly vegan. Taking inventory of my food consumption, I found the foods that I naturally gravitate to is rice (Basmati or Jasmine), dry beans (Red, Black, Lima and Green Pea), soups, fruits, vegetables and nuts. So I went to work revising my shopping list and opened my mind to creating plant-based meals.
Well, one day a week easily turned into two as I prepared sizeable portions of food that lasts for several days. The satisfaction in creating delicious, nutrious meals inspired me to go full vegan in no time. So let me share with you some of my meals that are easy to prepare.
- Some of you may be aware of the joys of a smoothie for breakfast. I prepare mine with fruits, vegetables, natural juices and blend away. Favorite flavor among them are my mango, banana and spinach fusion. For a delicious, nutritious drink to go, I combine pineapples, bananas and mangos with oatmeal.
- Eggplant and pasta with a tomato sauce is one of my favorite meals. I prepare my sauce from scratch using onions, peppers, garlic, mushroom, fresh oregano and turmeric. Added with that, a simple salad including: spinach leaves, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red or green peppers and cranberries.
- Sautéing my vegetables (onions, peppers, carrots, mushrooms and shredded ginger) in coconut oil, with a light sprinkling of walnuts and just a touch of soy and sesame seed oil over a bed of basmati rice is a meal to die for.
- Then there were the rice and beans day where I added a lightly fried, golden brown, sweet plantain. Did I mention the beans were made with olive oil, onions, peppers, garlic, curry, turmeric and white wine topped with mushrooms? Ah, the presentation on the plate is mouth-watering alone.
- Who knew that those beans made from scratch would lead to a line of bean soups? Green and yellow pea soup or my Lima, red and black bean soups are packed with nutrients and so comforting on those cold winter days—served with crackers, over a bed of rice or both. I was actually getting requests for them, but haven’t found the time to go into the bean soup business yet.
- A sautéed kale with garlic and mushroom over rice or pasta was not only filling, but left me feeling energetic and clear headed. Add to that a carrot and raisin salad with coconut oil.
- But wait—the baked sweet potato. That delicious,powerfully nutritious, whole-body orange vegetable has become one of my staples. I will have one for breakfast—which for me begins after 12 noon—at least 4 times a week. I’ll alternate sometimes and eat the baked sweet potato for dinner with a green vegetable like collards, okra, cabbage or spinach.
- Did I mention grilled vegetables? Onions, peppers, pineapples, corn, carrots are just a few that I find simply delicious. On a skewer….amazing!
- Avocado or vegetable sushi? Well, I simply visit my favorite Japanese restaurant for that.
- Vegetable burgers are simply delightful…and fun to make. Add to that some baked sweet potato fries.
Converting to a vegan lifestyle wasn’t as difficult a transition as I had anticipated. It all kind of happened organically (no pun intended) by eating the good foods I love. Oh, and by the way, I began to lose weight—effortlessly. I have to admit, though, I still love to snack on chips, cookies or enjoy a slice of chocolate or carrot cake occasionally.
A plant-based diet with an exercise regimen does the body wonders and has even impacted my mood. I won’t promise you a lifestyle of veganism forever, but a hiatus from meat, fish and dairy really feels good right now.