Hi, I’m Cassie from Plant-Based Adventure! I’m so honored to be doing a guest post for Rebecca this month as she focuses on health and wellness. Let’s dive in with how I got started plant-based eating, how I got my family on board, and what I learned in the first year.
How I got started with plant-based eating
My plant-based adventure started over a year ago. In 2016 my circles in social-media were buzzing with reviews of The China Study, a book co-authored by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, MD. I devoured the 400 plus page comprehensive study of human nutrition in less than a week.
The nutrition facts and research stats from the study made me question everything I have ever learned about nutrition. It was the first time I heard animal protein promotes the growth of cancer, proper nutrition can reverse heart disease, and a whole foods, plant-based diet can protect you against diabetes and obesity, among many other conditions.
I was always under the impression there are many nutrients you can only get from animal-based foods, but this book gives all the scientific reasons and examples of how you can get all the protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need from plants. So I learned my body could get all the nutrients it needs from plants while lowering my risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other western diseases.
How I got my family on board
I never thought my husband would be on board with eating meals that did not involve meat. I also wasn’t sure what my children would eat at mealtime without mac ‘n cheese or chicken nuggets. But I wanted to share every detail with my them because I want to live our best life!
We watched the documentary Forks Over Knives together, which is based on the findings of The China Study. My husband was impressed with the healing effects plants have on our body and how filling our stomach with vegetables helps keep us lean because of their low-calorie density. This means we can fill our stomach with 400 calories of leafy greens and other vegetables and feel full, but if we eat the same 400 calories in meat, dairy, or oil our stomach is barely full, and our satiety and fullness receptors tell us to eat more.
We decided to try eating plant-based as a family, aiming to get at least 90% of our food intake from fruits, vegetable, tubers, whole grains, and legumes while restricting our consumption of meat, dairy products, eggs, oil, bleached flour, and refined sugar.
Our transition year
It’s been a fun adventure in the kitchen ever since we started. As we figured out how to make meals focused primarily on plants, we still used a lot of oil to prepare our meals. We eventually learned how to cook without oil. Did you know you can sauté vegetables in a pan using only water or vegetable broth instead of oil or butter? I didn’t, but it works!
Instead of adding processed oil to our food, we enjoy the whole food it comes from — avocados, olives, and nuts. These provide the healthy fat, fiber, and nutrients our bodies need.
Our adventure in overhauling our diet and nutritional habits is a work in progress and we are trying to eat as many plants as possible. We feel great and have lots of energy to raise three young boys, and my kids are eating and enjoying vegetables. I encourage you to eat more plants — you won’t regret it!
I will leave you with a family-friendly plant-based recipe for your slow-cooker or InstaPot since Rebecca thinks you really need one! This is a favorite soup of mine for lunch and also a good dinner starter in place of a salad.
Thanks again Rebecca!
Leave your questions about plant-based eating in the comments below and I am happy to respond!
Plant-Based Crock-Pot Vegetable Soup Recipe
A family-friendly plant-based Crock-Pot soup recipe for your slow-cooker that is also oil-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan.
Prep Time 30 minutes | Cook Time 6-8 hours in slow-cooker
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 ¼ cups celery, chopped (about 3 celery stalks)
- 2 cups carrots, peeled and diced (about 4 large carrots)
- 3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 medium potatoes)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (32 ounces)
- 5 ounce can tomato juice
- 5 cups green beans, fresh or frozen
- 5 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 5 cups peas, fresh or frozen
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 Tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Prepare ingredients – dice onions and celery, peel and dice carrots and potatoes. Measure broth, tomato juice, green beans, corn, peas, and seasonings.
- Place all ingredients inside a 4-quart slow-cooker. Set slow-cooker temperature to low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
- Before serving remove bay leaves.
If you would like more information on plant-based eating I recommend the resources listed below.
- How Not to Dieby Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM
- The China Studyby T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD
- Eat to Liveby Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
- Nutritionfacts.org, backed by Dr. Michael Greger
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine at PCRM.org, backed by a staff of physicians, dietitians, and scientists
- Forks Over Knives(2011)
- Eating You Alive(2016)
- Food matters(2008)
- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead(2010)
- Hungry for Change(2012)
- Food, Inc.(2008)
- What the Health(2017)
Cassie Donathan is a food blogger, MilSpouse, and mom of 3 boys. Her blog, Plant-Based Adventure, focuses on family-friendly plant-based recipes that help short-on-time moms get dinner on the table.