Where do you find your healthy living motivation? For me, it’s a lot of places. Blogs and social media, the ladies and trainers at Burn Boot Camp, friends, books, my own realization of how good I feel when I’m taking care of my physical health, and my family.
I’m grateful to have two parents who have modeled healthy living and moderation for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I remember going to watch them play tennis on the regular, my mom always had a vegetable of some sort with dinner (unless she was baking cookies for dinner, which happened every now and then too), and now they both still stay busy with 20+ mile bike rides, long walks, and good food (with a martini thrown in here and there for good measure).
Let me back up real quick- this past weekend, my parents came to visit!
It was so nice to have them here for a relaxed visit. We filled the time with games (the girls are so into board games right now), football watching (GO DAWGS!), walking around the neighborhood garage sales, and even an early fall boat ride.
The relaxed schedule left plenty of time for hanging out and chatting. One thing I really got into talking to my mom about was a book she’s been reading called How Not to Die.
This uplifting title (lol) is a New York Times Best Seller by Dr Michael Greger and it’s now on my list to dig into at some point. However, just talking to my mom about it invigorated me. His work (to my understanding) focuses largely on the benefits of whole food, plant-based eating, backed by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. I don’t think I actually ever heard the word vegan, but it sounded to be in that arena.
We eat a lot of vegetables in my house, but I’ve experimented off and on with a more paleo-style of eating, which focuses on whole foods, but eliminates beans, dairy, and grains among other things. To be clear, I have never eliminated anything (I eat it all- #moderation) but have leaned that way with my eating.
The thing with eating paleo-ish is that it does call for a lot of meat. I like meat, but sometimes I felt like it was a little more than my liking (eggs for breakfast, turkey for lunch, chicken for dinner, etc). Also, buying the quality cuts of meat is expensive. Buying it for a family of four is even more so.
Anyway, talking to mom about how she’s transitioned into a more plant-based way of eating (she isn’t committed to a label of any sort) got me jazzed up about trying more plant-based meals for our family too. Being that I’ve been half-assing my meal plans lately (a busy summer was my excuse but here we are a month into our fall schedule…), it was just the boost I needed to feel re-energized about cooking and food.
Sunday morning we sat on the porch, perusing cookbooks and blogs, and I made a more veggie-focused meal plan for the week. In fact, 5 out of the 6 meals I planned are vegetarian, which is a decent switch up from our 1-2 vegetarian dinners a week. We started last night with Angela’s Golden Red Lentil Dal.
The smell of curry, the taste of coconut milk- so good! The whole fam agreed. I just have to remember to chop the spinach in small pieces for Kaitlyn and make a little more rice next time too. Anyone else sometimes struggle with a recipe being enough to feed the whole family?
I’m looking forward to trying it out this week and will report back to you with the meals we tried, my family’s feedback, challenges and successes. I asked for some veggie-inspiration of Instagram and you guys offered some great suggestions, like My New Roots, Minimalist Baker, Cookie and Kate, among others. I really appreciate the recommendations and if you have a veggie-focused resource you love, please send it my way!
I got my workout in early this morning and am going to cook up some steel cut oatmeal. It feels good to have this renewed energy and health buzz pumping through my veins!
Where do you find your healthy living motivation?
Jennifer U says
I too enjoy a way of eating centered on more plant based foods rather than the alternative – however I avoid those label too and enjoy all things in #moderation! 🙂
For breakfast I would enjoy a homemade granola cereal (I adapted the recipe from 100daysofrealfood to make it nut free , dairy free, and well… simpler than 20 ingredients) mixed with a banana and fresh berries.
Dinner we like meatless meals (but usually have cheese) and we are also big on beans! My husband is from Central America so he grew up on rice, beans, and plantains! Now our kids are too! 🙂
Have fun this week and I look forward to your review!
Brittany Dixon says
I could probably live on rice, beans, and plaintains too if my stomach can adjust to beans again. I think that combo is delicious!! I decreased beans after I felt like they were causing a few minor digestive issues, but I want to try incorporating them more again. I’ll have to check out that homemade granola cereal too- it sounds so good!!
This is right in my wheelhouse lately! I’ve recently been making some more veggie focused meals from the Oh She Glows cookbook and site. In general, my husband loves his veggies and healthier carbs, but he also really loves his meat. I agree with you – moderation! So I’m trying to mix in a few more vegan options, plus I really wanted to try some more vegan diary substitutes, like for creamy pasta. Tofu stuffed shells are on my menu for this week too! My husband eats most his daily calories at dinner (it works for him, not for the rest of us) and I find the Oh She Glows recipes to often be a little small. One of her pasta recipes said it made 3 servings so I increased everything by 50% and only ended up with a small amount of leftovers after feeding my husband, toddler, and myself. We like our leftovers here too 🙂 I love the My New Roots site, but her recipes are def a little more complicated. She has a chickpea flour pasta one I’ve been wanting to find the time to try!
Brittany Dixon says
David eats the bulk of his calories at dinner too, which is why we need serious portions. I’d love to come up with a filler food to serve, like bread, but not bread? Maybe bake more homemade bread? Ah, who knows! Let the search continue!
Also, I saw that chickpea flour pasta too and was quite intrigued!!
JOHN J STATHAS says
What a wonderful visit with our loving, energizing, and inspiring daughter and her wonderful family. So enjoyable!
What a lovely weekend you had. And thanks for mentioning a new book to look into. 🙂 I too am a dedicated plant based eater but enjoy some cheese every once in a while. I too am always looking for new inspirations.
I must say seeing that picture of your mom and Kaitlyn–Kaitlyn looks just like her. 🙂 Sweet!!
I know you are energized after getting to BURN this morning !! Great job!!
Brittany Dixon says
Cheese, right?! I agree… cheese is just so good. I don’t think I could ever say goodbye to it 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement Kathy!
We usually have vegetarian or seafood dinners 4- 5 times per week. I just made a dal recently in the crock pot and it turned out great! In fact, there are a lot of good Indian vegetarian dishes that can be made in the crock pot (I use the book The New Indian Slow Cooker). Also tried a homemade red curry with Thai eggplant in the crock pot (Nong’s Thai Kitchen) that tasted very authentic and flavorful, and I love that it was made with all fresh ingredients. I will be making the paste in bulk and freezing it. Another tried and true meal in my house is a typical bolognese sauce replacing the meat with any type of mushroom. I blend up the raw mushrooms in a food processor then saute with onions and garlic like I would meat, then add the tomatoes, olive oil, etc. Of course, I’ve also been known to make bolognese with all sorts of meat- ground elk, bison, etc. It’s sort of a running joke in my house- guess what kind of meat is in this? Half the time, it is mushrooms and no one would have guessed!
Brittany Dixon says
I’ve had several people suggest to me lately about making paste in bulk. I love Indian dishes, so I really need to look more into this.
Also, what a great idea about the raw mushrooms! I’ve never heard of that, but will definitely give it a try. Thanks!
Bailey Hatch says
My fiance and I evolved to a more plant based diet (started with no meat during the week, transitioned to no meat ever and no dairy/eggs/butter during the week) and we both feel better about our bodies, the environment, and the animals! Glad you’re trying it out, I’ll have to look for that book!
Now off to buy that cardigan… 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
Oh wow, what a transition! Glad you guys found a way of eating that makes you feel so good. Do you have a favorite recipe to pass along? I love to hear people’s go-tos!
Hmm I keep trying to paste the URLs to the recipes but the site thinks it’s spam. I will try to email them to you.
I am so excited for more veggie recipes from you! I always love your meal plans, but I always wished there were more vegetarian meals (especially ones kids approve of!). We eat meat only once or twice a week so I am pumped and totally agree veggies will keep you living long 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
Ah, I’m excited that you’re excited! Now let the recipe experimentation and fun begin 😉
Congratulations on a really positive change! Plant foods provide everything the body needs. All the familiar comfort foods can be made vegan and it is a lot of fun trying new things as well. I think it is wonderful that your parents continue to evolve in their journey for health, and it is promising to think of your children benefiting from these advancements in nutrition knowledge. Of course it is also a win for the farmed animals who suffer so much. It is a beautiful thing to help ourselves and others!
I really want to slowly transition to more meatless eating. What I find though is a lot of vegetarian meals leave me and my husband still hungry and wanting more. I’m on the hunt to find some that will not lead him searching for a snack at 9 pm!
Brittany Dixon says
Yes! This is a concern of mine too. We ate every bite of last night’s dinner and I snagged a snack after. I should have made more rice as a filler, but I do hope to find a few recipes that offer satiating portions.
I enjoy The Garden Grazer blog for veg/vegan recipes. http://www.thegardengrazer.com
Looking forward to seeing what recipes work out! I often find myself not interested in eating meat and looking for more veggie/vegan options. Plus my daughter can’t have dairy. That said, I feel best when I strongly limit (not eliminate) grains, and I find a lot of vegetarian/vegan meals lean on grains to help them be more filling – where I’d rather use fats for that job.
So inspired after reading your blog (and spending the weekend with you ;)). I’m looking forward to reading and trying more vegan recipes. I agree that eating more plants & grains may not hold you as long as eating meat, but it is so easy to grab a piece of fruit or berries in between meals. I enjoy having roasted cauliflower and brocolli in the frig for snacking on (dipped in hummus). One of my favorites is a sweet potato chile. Looking forward to trying the mushroom, garlic, onion, combo.
I’d love to transition to more of a plant-based diet but I’m worried about not getting enough protein to stay full! My husband and I eat fish or poultry (and some read meat) with every meal so I’ve felt challenged to find enough calories and protein with an all veggie meal. That and I can’t eat eggs so I’m stuck! Looking forward to the recipes you share!
Good morning!!! I just wanted to share what I think are the best healthy vegan (whole food, plant based) recipes! HAPPY HERBIVORE, cookbooks by Lindsay Nixon. Her Light & Lean book is my favorite, and I think you would love her books!! Thanks for all you do to spread positivity, vegetables and vibrant living!