Burgers, turkey sandwiches, pizza and ice cream—four foods that I frequently enjoyed up until a month ago. Although they were yummy, I had stomach pains and nausea every time I ate those foods and similar ones. Throughout my life, I visited multiple doctors, trying to find answers, but I was never given a diagnosis or solution. So recently I decided to try a completely plant-based diet to see if that had any impact on my tummy troubles.
It would have shocked my system to abruptly transition from eating dairy and meat products every day to just eating plants. Instead, I incorporated more and more plant-based meals into my life over time. I started drinking oat milk in my lattes and eating sorbet instead of ice cream. After a few days, I no longer felt the urge to eat meat or dairy products, and my diet was strictly vegan.
I noticed my stomach pains and nausea went away, I had more energy and overall I felt happier. I originally thought that the only reason for the change was my mentality—that my conception that my diet was healthier was the only thing making me feel better. It didn’t seem possible that eating exclusively plant-based food could change how I felt so drastically.
However, after some research, I discovered a whole community of people with similar problems that they had fixed by becoming vegan. I was scared of the idea because it seemed pretentious and impractical, but I have now realized the legitimate advantages. It made an undeniably positive change in my life.
I am allergic to nuts, and I have discovered that most plant-based products found in grocery stores, besides fruits and vegetables, contain nuts. So I shop at natural stores and co-ops to find a wider variety of plant-based options.
For breakfast, I normally eat a great brand of coconut yogurt I found called Coco June’s, which I top with berries and blueberry hemp granola. For lunch, I will often have something like veggies and pita with hummus, which is an easy dish but still filling and energizing. My dinners, are typically some sort of rice bowl, which I have found are both delicious and a great way to empty out your fridge since they can incorporate so many different ingredients.
Below, I have included the recipe for one of my favorite creations. I like to call it the “superwoman bowl” because it is made with a bunch of superfoods, which are foods with a lot of health benefits.
1 cup of brown rice
½ cup of quinoa
½ cup of split pea lentils
1 small head of cauliflower
⅛ cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
5 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ cup of kale salad (You can find this at any natural food store or you can mix a little maple syrup with kale)
¼ cup of kimchi (I like to use the brand Mother in Laws because it is extra fermented and has a great flavor)
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
The bowl can be topped with any sauce you want, but I found that the kimchi adds enough flavor that it’s not necessary.
Cook the brown rice, quinoa and split pea lentils according to the instructions on the packaging. While they are cooking, preheat your oven to 425°F. Cut the head of cauliflower into small florets and chop garlic into small pieces. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and cover with olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and salt and cook for 20 minutes. Once everything has cooked, combine the brown rice, quinoa and lentils in a bowl and top with the roasted cauliflower, kale salad, kimchi, pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast. Add a sauce if you would like, and enjoy!