Today I’m over at Pretty Petals reflecting on breast cancer…warning: you may see more of me than you cared to see. I wanted it to feel like an intimate tete-à-tete about cancer between friends so the pics are vulnerable.
Our guest, Leslie, is a master aesthetician, nutrition guru, and a close blog pal since the beginning of time. Although we have yet to meet, from time to time I find myself thinking “Leslie would love this recipe!” or “Leslie would totally approve of my smoothie!” Her blog inspires with delicious ways to live healthier, and I always take away ideas for nutrition, skincare, and lifestyle. Insider secret: plenty of millennials blog on those topics, but she only appears to be one…Leslie is in her 50’s like me and understands well the milieu of the midlife woman!
Transitioning to a more-plant-based diet has been a priority of mine since the wake-up calls of my mother’s breast cancer and my diagnosis with BRCA2. My anti-cancer and wellness journey includes minimizing animal products, and Leslie’s blog reinforces this beautifully.
Thank you Michele, for giving me the
opportunity be your guest today! My blog Pretty Petals is a place where
you can pause, feel refreshed, share wisdom, laugh, and relax. Today
I’m speaking about beauty and how to take care of yourself on the
inside. My hope is that after reading this today, you will walk away
with an idea or two that might make it easier for you to take better
care of yourself!
Considering a more plant based diet?
Before we talk about the specifics,
let’s consider our unique nutritional needs. Age, activity
level, and potential food sensitivities all need to be factored into
the equation when considering dietary changes. A female in her
childbearing years would have different nutritional needs
than a woman in her fifties, as would a marathon runner vs. a yoga
instructor, make sense? Food preferences (Veggie Burger or a meat
burger?), our desire to cook (or not) and personal life style all
need to be taken into account. Maybe you aren’t a morning person and
don’t care for breakfast right away. All the literature says it’s
best to start the day with breakfast. I think otherwise and
believe that waiting later in the morning to eat is perfectly fine.
We are all unique, imperfect human beings and that’s what keeps life
interesting! Be open, and yes we can change. Baby
Can you define “plant based diet”?
A plant based diet contains fruits,
vegetables, legumes, and beans; and excludes or reduces meat, chicken,
fish, eggs, and dairy products. Plant based also means less or no
refined foods like sugar and white flour and instead uses sprouted,
whole grains, and fruit based sugars such as date, or coconut. There
is so much information on social media about the pros and cons of
certain ways of eating that it often feels overwhelming and the result
is that we do nothing to change in any direction. People are
interesting! Health status, ethical and and social reasons will
impact our eating style. After reviewing all the information I can
possibly handle, the takeaway for me is that it isn’t all or nothing
and common sense should prevail! In other words you may select the
elements from one or more plans (vegan, plant based, paleo, carnivor)
to help you figure out what works best for you. Personally, I’m not
going to go totally vegan however I will eat less meat and make sure
that when I do that the animals are ethically raised; living in a
pasture and fed grass. There are plenty of pros and cons to this
topic and “both sides” make sense it all makes sense but again,
common sense prevails and I’ll just take a walk right in the
- To transition to a more plant based diet, consider reducing the
amount of meat, chicken, or fish on your plate and replace those
calories with legumes (peas, beans, or lentils) and vegetables.
Rather than eliminating a food group, simply reduce and replace with a
- Try to eat a wider variety of foods including plenty of healthy
carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice, and sprouted grains. When you
need a snack, go for something with nutrient dense ingredients like
kale, garbanzo beans, and lentils.
- Try Almond or Hemp Milk. During early development, children
need vitamin D and calcium and the lactose (milk sugar) in cow’s milk
helps absorption of these nutrients. Work with your healthcare
provider when making substitutions here to assure that your child is
receiving an equivalent replacement of these nutrients. For the rest
of us, you can get your daily dose of calcium by eating lots of green
leafy vegetables. Vitamin D can be found in egg yolks, cheese, and
fish (oil). If you are going totally plant based, vegan omega fatty
acid supplements can be purchased on line. There’s been some
controversy over Soy products recently. The general consensus is that
you should buy organic and soy can be eaten in moderation and remember
that soy based products can cause sensitivity reactions just like
lactose based dairy in children and adults. Soy, Hemp, Almond, etc..
are all available with and without sweetener. You can also make your
own nut milks however it does take some prep time and by the time you
purchase the ingredients and factor in the time it takes to make it,
you may find it easier to purchase your nut milks already
- Gluten free and Vegan prepared foods are available everywhere!
Some are delicious and mimic the flavor and texture of dairy and meat
products. Spread a nut based cheese on a cracker or grill bean or
vegetable burgers on the grill. These items are often made from soy,
tempeh, legumes, vegetables, and grains, and can be tasty depending on
the brand you are sampling. Add lots of condiments like pickles,
vegenaise, nut cheese, and vegetables to create a juicy burger!
- Add a vegan protein powder like Garden of Life to your smoothie.
Look for one that contains less than 6 grams of sugar per serving and
made has ingredients like pea and bean protein. As a bonus you also
might find one with pumpkin, hemp, berry, and turmeric added.
- Including plant based foods in our daily diet may help
get us on track health-wise but if you are still struggling to get
those extra pounds off, remember that even healthy foods contain
calories and at the end of the day it’s about balance.
Leslie, thanks for the encouragement to take baby steps to greater wellness!