Plant Based Diet Tips for Spring and Summer
What is a plant based diet?
Unlike most diets, a plant-based diet is defined by what it focuses on, not what it excludes. When you eat a plant based diet, you maximize consumption of nutrient-dense plant based foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods. Eat veggies, fruits, beans, seeds, and nuts. Include local and sustainably-raised dairy, eggs, poultry, and meat in smaller amounts if you wish.
Food writer, Michael Pollan, coined a 7 word phrase that makes it easy to know how to eat a plant based diet:
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
"Eat food" means to eat real food (vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and small amounts of eggs, fish, and meat if you wish), and to avoid what Pollan calls "edible food-like substances.“
You can watch Michael Pollan's take on healthy eating in the wonderful PBS documentary: In Defense of Food. You can also read his book Food Rules, An Eater's Manual.
Here are a handful of food rules from Michael Pollan's book Food Rules that you can start using right away:
"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
"Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry."
"Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle." Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
"Eat only foods that will eventually rot."
"Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature."
"If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.
"Treat meat as a special flavoring or special occasion food."
"Eat your colors."
The new year is an opportunity to get out of an eating rut and try some new plant based foods. Head over to your local grocery store, food co-op or farmer’s market and see what’s in season.
Plant-based foods to add to your diet this spring and summer
- In-season fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, and melons. Eat on their own, make a fruit salad, or make them into a dessert.
- Leafy greens such as all lettuce varieties, kale, arugula, bok choy, chicory, spinach, and chard. Addes to salads, steamed, sauteed, leafy greens are some of the best nutrition around.
- Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, thyme, oregano, and tarragon. Use herbs as garnishes for any main course dishes or salads. Add to your favorite salad dressing. Make them into pesto.
- Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and kohlrabi. Add raw to salads. Enjoh them steamed, added to stir-fries, roasted or grilled..
- Root veggies like turnips, parsnips, carrots, beets, celeriac root, and rutabaga. Enjoy these raw in the summer months and as it cools off, enjoy them roasted.
- Summer vegetables like cucumber, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
- Nuts and seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia, walnut, almond, brazil, pecan, and hazelnut. Add nuts to salads. Sprinkle them on your morning oats or eat them by the handful.
- Dried legumes such as lentils, mung beans, split peas, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and black eyed peas. Soak your legumes before cooking them to improve digestibility. Make them into dips like hummus. Season them with warming spices and eat them on their own or add them to salads or stews.
- Whole grains such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat, bulgar wheat, brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, oats, and barley. Eat whole grain porridges for breakfast. Enjoy whole grains next to stir-fries. Use whole grains in bowl meals. Add grains added to soups.
- Healthy fats such as extra-virgen olive oil, coconut oil and avocados.
Simple plant based meals for Spring and Summer
I have curated a variety of recipes for plant-based eating. Check them out here!
Healthy happy plant based eating!