Transitioning breakfast and lunch

The Joyful Elephant is all about transitioning to a more healthy way of eating by reducing the amount of animal foods we consume and increasing plant-based foods.  This means reducing milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish, and eggs and increasing the amounts of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds that we eat. 


It’s all about making choices.  Instead of having a turkey or tuna fish sandwich for lunch have a big salad and top it with a variety of plant foods.  Or, have a bowl of rice and beans with a Mexican spice blend and some fresh cilantro.


If your health is important to you.  Keep an open mind.  Try something new.  Learn to enjoy new foods.  Get out of your routine of grabbing lunch on the go and instead plan ahead and make your lunch the night before and take it with you to work.  Even if you start doing this just one or two days a week you’ll notice a difference in the way you feel, especially in the afternoons!


My tips for beginning a transition to a plant-based diet are:

1.  Think “replacement” at lunch.  The easiest meal to replace with a plant-based one is lunch.  If you work, you typically are responsible for your own lunch so you can eat whatever you want!  Choose a big salad or a rice, bean and veggie dish.  If you’re a mom or dad who stays at home treat yourself to a wonderful lunch of nutrient packed foods!


2.  Ditch the cereal for breakfast.  All boxed cereals have added sugar.  This sugar programs our bodies to store fat.  If we’re trying to stay trim, we need to stay away from packaged foods with added sugar.  What to eat instead of cereal?  If you prefer to have grains in the morning one of my favorite options is Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  Locally, both Giant and Wegmans carry it in the freezer aisle of the natural foods section.  Top a couple of toasted slices with no sugar added Medford Farms Apple Butter spread found at Wegmans.


My other favorite breakfast option is Bob’s Red Mill Meusli topped with sliced banana or your favorite fruit in season.  Locally, both Giant and Wegmans carry it.  I scoop a ½ cup Meusli into a small sauce pan, add a ½ cup of water, cover and cook on very low heat for 4 ½ minutes.  (The water is absorbed and the grains are soft.) You can also microwave it but times vary by microwave so check it every minute until the water is absorbed.  If you’re making this for kids you can stir in a tablespoon of the apple butter spread to add some sweetness (after the muesli is cooked.)  If you like it sweet and a little sticky then top it with maple syrup.  Make sure it is organic maple syrup then you can be assured it is free of formaldehyde, pesticides, and other processing chemicals.


So, for your first steps in transitioning, focus on breakfast and lunch.