Whole Plant-Based Eating: My Personal Philosophy

Whole plant-based eating refers to a diet centered around whole (i.e. unprocessed) plant foods. Sometimes confused with veganism (which is a lifestyle not a diet), whole plant-based eating is generally adopted by people because they believe that it is healthier and not primarily because it benefits animals or the environment. This is why you may see honey used in plant-based recipes, but not in vegan ones. Another difference is the emphasis on “whole” foods. While it’s possible to be vegan by subsisting on fries and soy ice cream, a person eating a whole plant-based diet will avoid or minimize refined sugar and processed foods, such as ready meals or supermarket cookies.

For the past few months I have been eating this way and loving the way it makes me feel. Knowing that I’m nourishing my body with good foods full of nutrients that won’t spike my blood sugar or deposit lots of cholesterol in my arteries gives me a deep sense of satisfaction from my food, that lasts even after the pleasure from actually eating it has subsided. By eating this way I’m also discovering new and exciting foods (purple sweet potato, maca, tempeh and almond butter, to name a few) and incorporating more of some familiar foods (e.g. oats, beans, broccoli, flaxseeds, turmeric), bringing more variety to my diet than before.

Eating food that is not only good for you, but also delicious is in my eyes the ultimate win-win situation (what’s not to like about having chocolate pancakes for breakfast while providing your body with proper nourishment?!). To me, whole plant-based eating is a celebration of tastes and textures, flavors and flavonoids, abundance and anthocyanins and no compromise indulgence. All this can also be a wonderful creative outlet, as it has become for me – experimenting with new foods, finding ever more interesting recipes and creating own ones.

I have also found that a passion for delicious and nutritious food can be incredibly social. Since starting this blog and my Instagram back in the summer of 2016, I have connected with so many wonderful people – both through social media and in real life. My move to London in September of the same year enabled me to (finally!) attend events by bloggers and brands I had previously been following from afar and I have been lucky enough to make amazing friends who share my passion in this area. Plant-based eating and health and wellbeing in general are something more and more people care about and therefore have the potential of bringing people together.

Let me, however, add a disclaimer to this seemingly unquestioningly pro plant-based lifestyle. What we eat and don’t eat is very personal and, of course, highly individual. I don’t believe a fully plant-based lifestyle is right for everyone, and it may not even be unconditionally right for me either. While I do believe that the more plant-based and homemade meals the better, we should all eat in a way that makes us feel our best – physically and emotionally. Food should be a source of enjoyment – not something to beat ourselves up about or to impose strict and miserable standards on. Right now, a fully plant-based diet makes me happy and I will continue eating this way for as long as feels right, without feeling bound by any labels.

Finally, let me end this by saying: Whoever you are and however you eat (vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, ovolactovegetarian, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, plant-based or, as my Mom likes to say, simply “normally”), I hope this blog inspires you to eat some delicious, nourishing food and maybe try out something new.

 

xoxo

 

Reading Tip: If you’re interested in reading about the benefits of eating lots of yummy plant food, check out How Not To Die, by Dr. Michael Greger (it’s what kick-started my journey to plant-based eating).

 

Avocado-Berry Breakfast Smoothie

This is what I’ve been having for breakfast almost religiously for the past months. In recent times I’ve started varying my breakfasts occasionally, making the odd chia pudding, homemade granola or trying out healthy pancake recipes (my favorites are the Banana Pancakes from Deliciously Ella – the blog – and the Sweet Potato Pancakes from Deliciously Ella Every Day). On most days, however, I automatically go for this smoothie in one variation or the other, as it’s what I crave the most in the mornings. I used to be a big oatmeal person, making overnight oats with mashed banana (check out this chocolate peanut butter and this tahini honey version), but one day, on a whim, I decided I wanted to make an avocado-containing smoothie. I’d just read more about the health benefits of avocados and figured a smoothie would be a fun way to incorporate them on a more regular basis.

I was in heaven from the first taste and, like I said, I’ve hardly looked back ever since. What I love about this smoothie is that it’s filling – the combination of healthy fats and protein keeps me going for longer than my classic oatmeal used to – yet doesn’t make me feel sluggish as a higher-carb breakfast sometimes would.

My recipe has slightly adapted over time, but here is my go-to version:

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ripe avocado*
  • 1 ripe banana**
  • handful of frozen blueberries
  • handful of frozen raspberries
  • 1 heaped tbsp hemp powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • sprinkling of cinnamon (for extra antioxidants)

*You can wrap the other half in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for the next morning, use it to make some yummy guacamole or chop it up and toss it into a salad.

** To make this into delicious and highly nutritious ice cream use a frozen banana and add some plant-based milk. Great for hot summer mornings.

Throw all of the ingredients into your food processor (I use a hand-held blender from the Swiss brand Bamix – I find it very powerful and easy to work with) and combine until a mousse-like texture forms. I should probably add the disclaimer that this isn’t the classic smoothie texture, as I’m not a fan of drinking my meals! The texture of this smoothie is something between yogurt and ice cream, or frozen yogurt, and I eat it with a spoon (does that make it a smoothie bowl…?). If you prefer a more conventional liquid smoothie, just add some plant-based milk, such as rice or almond milk.

I’ll be honest: since I make this pretty much every day I just eat it straight out of the container in which I make my smoothie (unless I want to put it on snapchat, obviously 😉 ). If you’re less lazy, you can serve this in a nice bowl with whatever topping you like: more berries, banana slices, crushed nuts or even granola. Whatever lights up your morning.

Variation: If you’re out of avocados (so annoying when all the avos in the grocery store are rock-hard and useless for the next morning’s smoothie!) or just feel like changing it up a bit, replace the avocado with a generously heaped tbsp (or two) of peanut butter. Here you might want to add a dash of rice milk if your blender is struggling, but for me it works fine without. Lately I’ve been making this version more and more and absolutely loving it.

Feel Good Fact: Avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which contribute to heart health.

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