Introducing A Plant-Based Diet

Perhaps you are in a position where you have started adopting a plant-based diet, or are thinking of doing so for a family that has lived largely on an animal-based diet. In this instance, it will take time and painstaking effort to replace the diet. It is important to include the whole family in the decision making and to let them learn and know what prompted the decision. Talk about a plant-based diet, be ready to answer questions especially from the children. The next step would be to plan a menu of food, think about what you are cutting out and how you can replace it on plant- based food.

Make the change gradual, one step at a time, however; be sure not to delay as this could make the family members loose interest or even you. Get vegan cook books and journals, take time to learn what nutrients are needed for different stages of children's development and seek plant-based sources for substitution. Start with familiar food like tomato and lettuce or peanut butter sandwiches, and gradually introduce new plant foods. A gradual change will help the family members to get used to the new diet and the changes related to that, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Make the food look and taste interesting, play around with the shapes, cut food diagonally, square, round. Make the food simple, but colourful, avoid placing too much on the plate though. Reserve fruits for breakfast and vegetables for lunch and light supper. Make tasty soups, let them enjoy their food, make it palatable so they won't need to eat and drink at the same time. Use enough salt and herbs in the food that it will not be necessary to place the shakers on the table.

It is important to prepare well balanced meals each time. There should be a variety of food in order to get all the necessary nutrients needed by the body. By variety is not only meant that there should be a lot of food articles on the plate, in fact the fewer, the better. It is a common practice among most mothers to place the same food before the family day after day, this habit should be avoided and instead try to cook different food each day. Make it impossible for your family to desire eating out, make the meal time an adventure, something to look forward to. Get the children involved, they'll love it!

Learning how to make simple but, great food takes time and, it is a continual learning process. Do not be disheartened when some food is given a sigh or a plain “yuk!” it takes time for the taste buds to change and appreciate natural food. Prayer helps, it also takes courage and forbearance.

For some people it is unimaginable to live without flesh, dairy and eggs, this is also the case with lacto and ovo vegetarians, “how shall I live without eggs or dairy?” the power lies in the will and the step will be a lot easier. There are plenty of substitutes to explore, and the most common one is soy.

Nutritionist link soy to clover, alfalfa and peas as it contains an excellent balance of all amino acids essential to the human body. This makes it a favourite because of its equality in protein quality to meat, milk and eggs. Many products have been made from soy beans, and the most popular are tofu, soy sauce and soy milk. Soy beans are a true wonder food as they contain iron, calcium, zinc, B and E vitamins as well as fiber  As a replacement for milk, soya milk can be used. Tofu looks like feta cheese except that it is actually bean curd and does not have it's own distinct taste, but does adapt to the taste of herbs and food infused with it, tofu can be used as a scrambled egg substitute or in salads. Milk is not only limited to soy  there is coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, oat milk and surely other varieties depending on your location.

For every cook, it becomes a major concern when one needs to bake and no more eggs are used right? Not so, there are healthy baking powders available at health food stores as well as egg replacers. Just make sure you avoid tartrazine and food additives. Read the ingredient labels, often products have an eco friendly sign or the letter v, but that may mean that it is suitable for lacto and ovo vegetarians, but not vegan vegetarians, so take time to read before making a purchase.

Fructose can be readily purchased at health food stores or honey (personal choice) can be used. Fructose works best when baking, whereas honey works best in morning cereals and in adding to cooked food. The taste of honey is much stronger infused in food or cereal than when used in baking unless you do not have a sweet tooth of which I have. Happy experimenting!

Every wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands”

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