While I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, I've dabbled for periods of time when I’ve ditched animal protein and felt pretty darn amazing. Maybe the folks at Harvard Medical School were on to something when they concluded that plant-based and vegetarian diets have been shown to lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and increase longevity.
While I generally lean on some type of meat or fish to get protein and healthy fats, as a nutritionist I know full well that the same nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals can be found in plant-based places—lentils, beans, hemp, quinoa, nutritional yeast (sounds funky but whoa will it change your life - and your popcorn) and even veggies. Fun fact: broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts typically contain 4–5 grams of protein per cooked cup. Broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak; use that next time you’re asked for “two truths and a lie" at a party. You’re welcome!
While I'm not ready to go whole hog and give up my beloved charcuterie board, I find that carving out at least one day a week—say, Meatless Mondays—are a great gateway to fueling up with more plants and non-meat proteins. If you're feeling so inclined, I've rounded up my favorite sources of vegan inspiration below. Bon appétit!
Vegan, at Times by Jessica Seinfeld
A fun perspective for those of us dabbling with vegan recipes, yet not necessarily committing to the full lifestyle, Seinfeld's book frames everything in an accessible manner that feels encouraging for those that might be new to this way of cooking. The vegan macaroni and cheese is just plain deceiving. Because it's so good.
Oh She Glows For Dinner by Angela Liddon
One of my favorite parts of this book is the heating and reheating instructions for each recipe. Sounds sort of simple and obvious, but I definitely skip this step almost 100 percent of the time and it’s so interesting to learn how ingredient flavors are best highlighted through the right temperatures and storage both for the day of and leftovers. Be sure to check out the Oh She Glows recipe search engine while you're at it. The Cheerful Vegan Nachos check all the boxes over here!
The Brown Vegan
My book of choice is typically audio. So if there’s a podcast on a topic, sign me up. The Brown Vegan is a must listen. The host, Monique Koch, also recently published a blog with tips for beginners and it's super helpful way to get started OR restarted. I find her approach encouraging and her path to vegan quite admirable.
Whether due to dietary restrictions or simply needing some great meals to supplement cooking on busy weeks, I’ve really fallen in love with meal delivery. Purple Carrot, Factor_ and Green Chef are some creative meal delivery options that serve up some insanely delicious vegan cuisine. to name a few. The best part is they all have skip and pause buttons so that your commitment is flexible, not required.
Cheers to adding some plant based meals into your rotation!