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Feeling “Full” on a Plant-Based Diet

A friend of mine recently asked me if it was normal to feel hungry a little while after eating a meal based mostly on vegetables. She made a vegetarian pizza at home to be exact. I always welcome questions like this because it gives me an opportunity to share what I have learned over the past few years about what it means to be healthy and so on.

Also, with veganism on the rise, you may be wondering, “How can anyone feel satisfied on a diet of plants?” I’d love to help you with this question!

Plants Are Satisfying!

If you are starting out on a plant-based diet, or are just adding more vegetables while minimizing animal protein as my friend is trying to do, you may feel like you aren’t quite full after you eat, or even a little while later. I like to compare it to this. Remember a few years back when everyone drank whole milk? Then all of the sudden health headlines stated we should be drinking skim milk instead-so many people switched to that. When you first switched, the skim milk probably tasted very watery. But your taste buds adjusted and so did your body. Then, did you ever taste whole milk again after getting used to skim? If so, you probably thought it tasted too heavy-like cream, and couldn’t imagine how you ever drank it before. So that’s a good analogy for the change that you might feel.

More importantly, make sure you are eating enough. One of the most common things that people new to plant-based diets do is not eat enough. Don’t limit yourself. Eat until you are really satisfied. 400 calories of meat compared to 400 calories of vegetables adds up differently, as shown below. So eat up! That’s one of the beauties in this lifestyle; you don’t have to count calories if you are simply eating a diet based on beans, vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, and seeds! Come on, did you really think you were destined to be counting calories your entire life? Nah, not necessary.

veg-stomach

Also, it is very much worth noting that feeling “full” on a plant-based diet is different than feeling full eating the standard American diet. Since moving to a plant-based vegan diet, I have noticed how much lighter I feel after meals versus when I was also eating dairy. So going from eating meat, dairy, and processed foods to eating whole food plant foods will feel very different for you. I used to not feel “full” until I was uncomfortable, stuffed, and tired, sitting on the couch-done for the night. Now when I eat, I feel satisfied and still have energy afterwards! There is a real reason for this. Your digestive system is built to break down starches, natural sugars and complex carbohydrates. It is not set up to digest animal protein. Therefore, when you eat animal protein, it takes a lot longer for your body to process it along with a lot more energy focused on it. Plants tend to make a quicker “exit”, as you will notice. This is a great thing that you will come to enjoy, as crazy as that may sound right now!

Hunger Can Be Mental – Pay Attention

The feeling of being hungry is not only physical for most people, but also mental and emotional. We want to eat when we are happy, when we are sad, when we are watching a movie, when people around us are eating, etc. Food is not just a need today, but a want-and we are used to indulging whenever we may feel the slightest “hunger” coming on. So, first and foremost, know that it takes a few weeks for your body to adjust to a diet change. Be aware that you’ll have cravings and may feel odd at times. A certain amount of detoxing occurs when you stop eating the bad stuff and start eating the good stuff. It is normal to experience headaches and cravings when transitioning. Don’t worry, you’ll feel better than ever after a few weeks. Some people experience no detoxing effects and just start to feel great immediately. Everyone is different. I suggest you get to know your body and pay attention to the signals it sends you. Typically, true hunger comes on quite quickly and feels more like a need. Try to learn to pay attention to yourself to figure out if your hunger is real or if it’s more emotionally-charged.

Tips

1. Along with fresh veggies, be sure to eat whole grains (brown rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, etc), beans, potatoes and other starchy vegetables. Complex carbs are your friend!

2. Eat variety. Explore different fruits and vegetables. The more variety, the more you broaden your taste palette. You’ll eat more once you discover of all the wonderful flavors out there that you haven’t yet experienced. You’ll also develop a true appreciation for the real flavors of vegetables because they won’t be covered in butter or cheese. You’ll be shocked, I promise! 🙂

3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This goes without saying as an all-around health tip, but it is worth paying attention to. Here is a simple indicator for you-if your urine is clear, you are hydrated. If it is yellow, drink more water!

4. Eat enough! Don’t make yourself uncomfortable or anything-but don’t limit yourself the same way you may have in the past with food. This is a guilt-free zone from now on!

5. Buy a plant-based cookbook! There are TONS of great ones on the market today! Check out Happy Herbivore, Engine 2 Diet, Eat Vegan on $4 A Day, Forks Over Knives Cookbook, The Vegan Table, Dr. McDougall, Veganomicon, the list goes on!

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We’re Now on Facebook!

Hey guys!

We decided that we enjoyed interacting with you so much that we made a Facebook page for our blog!

We can’t wait to connect with you through that as well!

We’ll be posting simple vegan foods that we make on a daily basis! Here’s our colorful recipe photo section!: recipes

We also post about inspiration for a healthy lifestyle-such as quotes and photos and videos that we like!

So please come join in our conversation! Our Facebook Page


Here’s a bit of Inspiration to end this cute little mini post!

Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak! Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.

~George Bernard Shaw

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.

~Albert Einstein

All that we do is touched with ocean, yet we remain on the shore of what we know.

~Richard Wilbur


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Ole’ Ole’ Ole’! Veg-head Mexican Tortilla Soup

Ok guys, THIS is my FAVORITE soup ever! I came across it while surfing through vegetarian food blogs and posts a long time ago and it’s officially my top dish at home! If it were a website, it would have the most hits, let’s put it that way. Mexican is one of my favorite flavors of food and I’m almost always up for it-so this soup is a major staple in our home. Plus it makes a big pot so I can eat on it all through the work week!

I had to have portraits taken with my favorite soup!

It’s seriously AMAZING! The original recipe suggests cheese, sour cream, chips and avocado as garnishes to the dish. So that was all that I had to alter in order to vegan-ify it! -just use whole grain chips and avocado-cilantro would be great too!

Let’s get cooking!

You’ll need:

Water for sautéing
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans RoTel Diced Tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (32 ounce) containers Organic Vegetable Broth
2 (15 ounce) cans organic black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1/2 a lime

Directions:

1. In a small bowl mix together cumin, sweet paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, and black pepper. Set aside.

2. In a large pot heat the water over medium high. Add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and garlic; cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the green chile peppers, RoTel, corn and vegetable broth. Cook until warmed through. Add the black beans and cook for 2 minutes before serving. Squeeze in lime juice. Serve in bowls and garnish as desired.

This original recipe is linked here: http://www.thecookingphotographer.com/2010/11/spicy-vegetarian-tortilla-soup-giveaway.html (Thanks, Cooking Photographer!!!)

Happy Eating! Ole!

-Kelli 🙂


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Tofu Lettuce Wraps!

A few weeks ago, I was CRAVING P. F. Changs tofu lettuce wraps. I figured that they couldn’t be too difficult to make, and decided I should give it a try. I found this recipe and got to work. It was so easy and SO delicious! I am definitely going to be cooking this regularly.

  • cooked brown rice
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu
  • 2 – 3 cups chopped shitake mushrooms (we have used 1.5 portobello mushrooms chopped up and that works great too)
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic (fresh)
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger (if you have fresh, then grate 1 tsp. of grated fresh ginger for every ¼ tsp. of dry ground ginger-we use both options depending on if we have fresh or not, if you’re new to ginger, ground up may be a better option)
  • 1/2 to 1 can chopped water chestnuts (8 oz)
  • red pepper flakes
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • pepper
  • onion powder

Chop tofu into tiny squares. Spread out the tofu on cookie sheet. Top with pepper, red pepper flakes (don’t over sprinkle because it could get too spicy) , soy/tamari sauce, and onion powder. Bake on 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Saute chopped up garlic and ginger in a little water for 5 minutes until they soften, then add the mushrooms, water chestnuts, and a dash of soy sauce, onion powder and sprinkle a bit of the red pepper flakes.  Cook for another 10 minutes.

Once the tofu is finished, add the tofu and some rice to the pan and mix all ingredients together and cook for another few minutes to mix the flavors.

Wrap mixture in pieces of lettuce, and enjoy!

-Jenn


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Shlop Shlop Sloppy Joe! er, Sloppy Jason

I wanted to share with you guys a vegan sloppy joe veggie burger that I have been making lately-and can’t get enough of! I adapted it from another veggie burger recipe I found online. The one I found online was full of ingredients and I just wanted to use what I had on-hand—and it was delicious and it stuck so I now make it once a week at least! And it doesn’t require too many ingredients or anything fancy. Here we go! 🙂


You will need:

  • 4 tablespoons of hickory BBQ sauce of your choice
  • 1 15oz. can of Organic Black beans (find some without sodium chloride in it)
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice (I use Lundberg Long Grain Brown-it’s organic and gluten free–first image above)
  •     or 1.5-2 cups of cooked Quinoa (second image above)
  • 1 tablespoon of oats
  • a handfull of chopped onion (I like a lot of onion crunch and flavor so use to your liking)
  • 1 teaspoon of Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (I use Alessi)
  • A splash of organic vegetable stock/broth to grill in.
  • Avocado, tomato, lettuce, sprouts, whatever fixins you like 🙂
  • Sprouted Wheat bun (I use Alvarado St. or Ezekiel Bread)

Directions:

Cook your brown rice. This particular brown rice takes 50 minutes to cook, so allow time for that. beyond this, its quick!

In a large bowl, mash beans. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce-reserve some for brushing. Now stir in the remaining ingredients. This will be a yummy sloppy mushy mess. Now instead of forming into patties-bc it’s too sloppy to do so-just scoop whatever amount that you want per burger into a frying pan with vegetable broth. Cook it for about 2-4 minutes flipping it around. Brush on some BBQ sauce as you move it around in the pan cooking it. Once finished, slop it onto a bun and top with fresh avocado, tomato, lettuce, sprouts and all the fixin’s that you like!

Enjoy and let me know if you like it or have suggestions! Also, I’ve decided that since this recipe doesn’t really mimic sloppy Joes, (it’s just sloppy) and because I personally do not know this “Joe”, that I’m renaming them “Sloppy Jasons”-bc Jason is my husband and I know him! 🙂

-Kelli