From the comments that have been left lately it seems that a lot of people are thinking about adopting a whole foods plant based diet or have tried to move to a WFPB but are finding it difficult. I understand that is does seem overwhelming. The following comment prompted todays post.
“I love to read your blog and use and enjoy your recipes. I am wondering does your family only eat a strict Vegan Diet? I
I don’t eat any red or processed meat but still enjoy and would miss Salmon and other favorite fish once in awhile.
How do you cook when entertaining, I find that especially difficult. Thanks, Donna”
Here is my reply to Donna.
We are empty nesters now so just me and hubby Tom here. He eats about 80% plant based and the other 20% of the time he eats beef, chicken or fish. I don’t fix meat at home so he orders meat when we eat out or when he is traveling for business. At home for us I am cooking all plant based now with very little added oil, salt or sugar.
A year ago when we first started moving towards a plant based diet I did have an occasional fish meal and a little bit of chicken a couple of times. I haven’t had any fish for months now and really don’t have any desire for it anymore. That’s not to say that I will never eat fish again -if I decided I want a fish meal I will have one.
Our daughter does include some plant based meals in her menu plan for her and her husband each week. Our son survives on restaurant food and does not eat plant based nor is he really interested in trying much of it. I keep a supply of frozen foods for him to help himself to when he is at home at meal time. He will eat the Mexican plant based recipes. In the beginning if we had the family over we did go ahead and make something with meat for them. The last few times we have made plant based recipes. See this link http://nutmegnotebook.com/2014/02/plant-based-vegan-entertaining-what-to-serve/ to see what we served one night.
Entertaining non plant eaters really does stump me too! Our taste buds have changed and adapted to this new way of eating but our family and friends are used to a different way of eating. What other plant eaters / vegans have told me is that you can’t serve up the no oil, no salt, no sugar added recipes to those who eat a typical American diet – they just won’t enjoy it. So you need to find recipes that are plant based but still use some of the oil, salt and sweetness to have it be enjoyed by omnivores.
I am still a work in progress and haven’t done much entertaining since going plant based. Every recipe I try I analyze and think would this taste good to people who don’t eat the way I do? There are two schools of thought on this – choose something the company would be somewhat familiar with and serve them a plant based version of it – or choose something completely new to them so they don’t have anything to compare it with.
There are some foods that people already enjoy that are plant based, beans and rice with tortiallas, chili soup with beans and no meat, pasta dishes with lots of veggies and tomato sauce, stir frys with veggies and tofu, vegetable and grain soups like a barley vegetable, tomato soup, grain salads like a Greek tabbouleh salad without the feta, falafel sandwiches, hummus and veggies, bruchetta, Indian Dal or African Peanut Stew with garbanzo beans, Thai vegetable dishes, veggie lasagna. You don’t realize how many plant based entrees people already enjoy until you stop and think about it.
Dr Fuhrman suggest that people try to eat plant based 90% of the time or have 90% of your daily calories be from nutrient dense plant foods and only 10% come from animal products. So if you eat say 1600 calories a day then 160 of those calories could come from animal products. Your fish could come in under that amount but it would be a small piece of salmon. Some people are able to go straight to a plant based diet and others need to take baby steps and gradually make the change.
For me it has been so worth the effort. I won’t kid you, it makes your head spin at first trying to think of what to make and figure out what your new daily menu looks like. There are so many resources on the internet and so many awesome books, cookbooks and resources to help you navigate the change.
If you have more questions or want more links, books and such just let me know. If there is an interest I am very happy to blog about it!
Stay in touch,
I would also add that we did a completely whole foods plant based/vegan Easter Sunday meal. It was wonderful and I felt good about serving it to my family. It can be done! We enjoyed BBQ Lentil Loaf Muffins, Green Bean Casserole, Vegan Scalloped Potatoes, Cashew Rice Loaf Muffins with Red Pepper Sauce and whole grain bread. Non dairy cheesecake and fruit salad for dessert.
Happy Plant Eating!
Feel free to add your hints, tips and comments. What do you fix when you are entertaining omnivores?
Great post Tami! I like to quote Lindsay Nixon (Happy Herbivore). She says “Nothing tastes as good as health feels”. Sure, it might be “easier” or less complicated to just go back to my old way of eating, but after 2 years of plant-based living, I’ve lost 75 pounds! AND, I was pre-hypertensive and my doctor was talking about starting me on blood pressure meds. Now, my BP is always in the normal range.
I’m 54 years old and I want to be healthy and happy when I’m 90! That’s all the reason I need to persevere with this way of living!
A 75 pound lost is awesome Terri not to mention the additional health benefit of having normal blood pressure. It makes eating plant based so worth while. We are the same age and I too want to be as healthy as I can be as I get older. I want to be active and enjoy each and every day! We will do just that through a healthy diet and determination to make it happen! 🙂 It’s so much easier with an on line support group – where would I be without all my fellow plant based friends on line?
Yes, there are many plant-based meals omnivores enjoy. For one of our recent get-togethers, I made several salads (a green salad, a Greek salad, and veggie/quinoa salad) and a spaghetti squash casserole with tomatoes and mushrooms (it did have some cheese, so it wasn’t vegan). When I told my husband the menu I had planned, he was surprised and skeptical and worried that some people may not like it or expect something else. But everyone enjoyed the meal, and I don’t think anyone missed meat or other animal products.
Personally, I have been making changes to how we eat slowly over the past 5 years (it’s actually surprising to me what we ate 5 years ago because at the time I considered it healthy…). At this point, I don’t see myself going completely vegan (for numerous reasons), but we eat a lot of vegan meals, and we enjoy them a lot.
Andrea I love your menu for the get together! I shudder at what I used to consider to be healthy food. But when we know better we can do better.