Are you scared of letting go of your favorite foods when transitioning to a plant-based diet? For me, pho is my weakness. The warm beef pho on a winter day... until I was introduced to vegetarian pho. Let me just say- i never thought it would be possible to break up with my favorite comfort food.
Before we dive into this easy yet delicious meal, it is important to clarify what a plant-based diet truly entails. Although I love my beef pho, transitioning into a plant-based diet encourages whole, plant-based foods as its benefits both, personal health and environmentally, outweighs the consumption of meats, dairy products and eggs (McManus, 2018)This means having the addition of nuts, seeds, oils whole grains, legumes, and beans. Whether or not you are vegetarian or vegan, having a plant-based diet is proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources (McManus, 2018).
Health: Maintaining a plant-based diet produces greater cardiovascular outcomes that includes reduced risk of morbidity and heart disease, decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, producing lower body mass index, glucose levels, improved oxidate stress, and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure (Lynch, 2018).
Environmentally: Dietary choices also affect the environment as producing plant protein requires less, water, land, and energy. This diet is an affective strategy for reducing GHGEs, agricultural land, and phosphorous (Lynch, 2018).
Throughout the past decade, google searches about plant-based diets have taken a huge jump (Medawar, 2019) shown within the graph below. This graph shows the amount of publications on Pubmed throughout the years. From 2000-2010, vegetarian publications were on the rise; however, starting 2011, plant based diet searches were rising more than both vegetarian and vegan combined. Although veganism seem to be the talk, people are more prone to ease into a plant based diet than jumping straight into becoming vegan/vegetarian.
So how can I start? (Mcmanus, 2018)
1. Add more color into your plate!
2. Change the way you think about meat. Have smaller amounts while letting your colors shine and only using meat as a garnish.
3. Choose healthy fats: olives, avocados, nuts
4. Include whole grains. Try having oatmeal for breakfast!
5. Cook a vegetarian meal at least once a week (baby steps!)
6. Eat fruit for dessert
- Meat -> mashed beans (chickpeas, black beans), mushrooms, eggplants, jackfruit, tofu
- Milk -> oat, soy, almond, rice milk
- Eggs -> chickpea flour
What changed the game for me.. and how I developed the JOY OF MISSING OUT #jomo
As mentioned, I love my comfort foods. What detached me from transitioning into a plant-based diet was the fear of missing out on enjoying these types of foods with my family and friends; however, it was important to realize that any of my favorite foods could also be made using whole, plant-based ingredients. While I only show one recipe, there's plethora out to search! From soy chorizo tacos to cauliflower tacos, egg rolls and more! Furthermore... let's get eating!
My aunt's vegetarian pho (instant pot)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 star anise
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1/4 tsp whole cloves
- 3 inch piece ginger (halved)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 small rock sugar
- 1 tbsp mushroom seasoning, more to taste
- 4 oz cooked rice noodles
- 4 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
1) Grill ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and star anise until charred
2) Add vegetable broth, water, rock sugar, mushroom seasoning, soy sauce, onion and grilled spices into your instant pot
3) Pressure cook on soup for 20 minutes, turning the vent to "Sealing". Once done, pressure release.
4) While the soup is cooking, grill shiitake mushrooms with some oil
5) Cook noodles according to package directions, drain into colander, rinse with cold water
6) When broth has simmered for about 30 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the onion, ginger, and spices
7) Add additional mushroom seasoning or soy sauce, if needed
8) Serve! Place noodles in a bowl, add mushrooms, spoon in your soup
9) Additional toppings: bean sprouts, thai basil, lime juice, hoisin sauce
1. Center for Nutrition Studies. (2019, May 24). Plant-Based Food Tips: Healthy Recipe Substitutions - Nutrition. Retrieved from https://nutritionstudies.org/plant-based-food-tips-healthy-recipe-substitutions/.
2. Lynch, H., Johnston, C., & Wharton, C. (2018). Plant-Based Diets: Considerations for Environmental Impact, Protein Quality, and Exercise Performance. Nutrients, 10(12), 1841. doi:10.3390/nu10121841
3.McManus, K. D. (2018, September 27). What is a plant-based diet and why should you try it? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-a-plant-based-diet-and-why-should-you-try-it-2018092614760.
4. Medawar, E., Huhn, S., Villringer, A., & Veronica Witte, A. (2019). The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review. Translational psychiatry, 9(1), 226. doi:10.1038/s41398-019-0552-0
1.Catharine Paddock, P. D. (2015, July 13). Americans 'not eating enough fruits and vegetables'. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296677.php#1.
2. If you eat a plant based diet you could save: ~ courtesy Cowspiracy #plantbasesd #diet #eco: Vegan facts, Going vegan, Plant based. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://pin.it/hirjlauqoqt2lc.
3. Kate, Paula, Kate, Sonal, Pedersen, T. M., Michelle, … Deepthi. (2019, September 19). Vegetarian Pho Recipe (Vietnamese Noodle Soup). Retrieved from https://cookieandkate.com/vegetarian-pho-recipe/.
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The Digestible is student driven through a Nutrition and Dietetics course at San Francisco State University, NUTR 551 Nutrition Education and Communication. This course is taught by Gretchen George, Ph.D., R.D.
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