A couple of months ago (the second week of September, to be exact) we began making significant changes in the way we eat. We had decided — after watching a few different documentaries (like Forks Over Knives…Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead…Food, Inc.), reading a couple of books (like In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan), and talking with like-minded family and friends — that we wanted to shift our eating to a plant-based diet. We didn’t want to cut out animal foods completely, but we did want them to take a back seat to plant-based, whole foods.
Honestly, I had my doubts that we could do it. I was concerned that it would be too difficult, that I wouldn’t be able to come up with good recipes to satisfy my food-lovin’ family members (including myself.) But it really wasn’t as challenging as I’d expected. We’ve been enjoying hearty salads and soups, yummy stir-fry and curry dishes, doctored-up sweet potatoes, and Mexican foods piled with beans, salsa, and guacamole, with only the occasional meat-based meal (like pot roast or meatloaf.)
These are some of the steps we’ve made that I’m excited about:
- We’ve been eating at least twice as many vegetables as we used to eat.
- We’ve replaced more than half of our cows’ milk consumption with coconut and almond milk.
- We eat meat just 2-3 times a week rather than every day.
- We’re eating more nuts, seeds, and legumes than we ever have before.
- I’ve been learning to cook more Asian-inspired meals (which typically use lots of veggies.)
- We’re generally using meat as a flavor enhancer rather than as the focus of the meal.
- Our monthly grocery bill has gone down nearly $100!
The lower grocery bill was more of a side effect than something we planned. I knew we were spending a good chunk of our grocery money on meat, but I didn’t know exactly how much. Buying a cart full of produce is much easier on the wallet than buying bags full of meat…especially when you’re trying to buy mainly less processed, more chemical-free (i.e. pricier!) meats.
I’ll admit, I’ve had the occasional flop — like the evenings here and there where everyone claims to be STARVING just an hour after dinner…or the time when I made Thai peanut noodles and forgot the lime juice. (It was blah and boring and I could.not.figure.out.why. Until after we were done eating. Dinnertime fail.)
But, overall, no one is complaining about the changes we’re making, and they even seem to be enjoying our plant-based lifestyle. I’m happy to be feeding my family more whole, nutritious foods and seeing them expand their palates.
I’d still like to experiment more with different types of grains (such as bulgur and couscous) and improve my veggie cooking skills to make them taste as good as possible. I’ve had fun in the kitchen lately coming up with veggie- and legume-based soups and stews, and I’ll try to share those here soon.
What about you? Do you have any food-related goals for your family, things you’d like to change? Please share if you do…you know I love talking about food and nutrition! 🙂