Eating the WFPB way is not rocket science. Anyone can do it. Really. Case in point: my culinary-challenged boyfriend cooked the inaugural Project Squishyplum dinner in my honour. And it was damn good!
When I say this man is a neophyte in the kitchen, I’m not exaggerating. Until that day, he had never — and I mean never ever — cooked a dish from a recipe or prepared a meal that involved much more than heating something up. His culinary repertoire rested solidly on such gourmet classics as Cup Noodles and Lipton Sidekicks. Indeed, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, and small appliances frighten him. But after a quick lesson in knife skills and a tour of our spice cabinet, this fledgling cook managed to pull off a bloody delicious Three-Bean Tomato Curry Soup. (Thank you to Dreena Burton for her fabulous cookbook: Vive Le Vegan. Check out Dreena over at www.plantpoweredkitchen.com or on Twitter @dreenaburton.)
The happy chef and his delectable creation!
Kickstart your own WFPB adventure. You can do it. And you don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen. Grab a plant-based cookbook from the library (I currently have Dreena’s The Everyday Vegan checked out) or peruse the shelves of your local bookstore. Here are a few ideas that I have in my kitchen to get you started:
- Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton
- The China Study Cookbook by Leanne Campbell
- The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard
- Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin
- Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas
My scrumptious Project Squishyplum kickoff meal of Three-Bean Tomato Curry Soup can be found on page 79 of Dreena’s awesome Vive Le Vegan! Simple, Delectable Recipes for the Everyday Vegan Family. (To limit consumption of refined oil products in this and any recipe, I would recommend using a splash of veggie stock instead of olive oil to sauté the veg. I’ve been doing it for all my culinary experiments with happy results.)
Give this soup a whirl! You’ll be glad you did.
So the plan is to eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet for one year, track the results, chronicle the challenges, and develop some sort of blueprint to help others channel their inner herbivore. Let’s get started, shall we?
Whole-foods, plant-based diet. Just rolls off the tongue, eh? WFPB. Even the acronym is awkward. But thankfully the benefits outweigh its phonetic shortcomings.
There is a difference between a vegan diet and a WFPB diet. Surprisingly, it’s very possible to eat a less-than-ideal vegan diet. Consider the possibilities: Frosted Flakes or a raspberry Pop-Tart for breakfast. Tofu hotdog with fries and a Coke for lunch. Oreos and a grande Starbucks soy coffee frappuccino for your afternoon pick-me-up. Frozen vegan pizza to round out your day — and, of course, a chocolate vegan cupcake for dessert. And maybe some of those moreish root crisps while you’re working your way through your PVR. Nutritional disaster!
So what’s a girl to eat? WFPB! All plants, all the time. That’s my new mantra. Vegetables (in everything from my soup to my smoothie), fruits (no-brainer snacks), legumes (think 3-Bean Chili or garlicky hummus), grains (my morning oatmeal drizzled with maple syrup and topped with a handful of walnuts is dee-lish), seeds (pumpkin and sunflower seeds in my salad always makes me feel gourmet), nuts (freshly ground peanut butter on my toast? — don’t mind if I do), and nut milks (I’m partial to Silk True Almond, although I need to learn how to make my own). You’d be surprised how many foods fit into these categories.
The idea is to aim for foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For all of you take-out addicts, I’m afraid the WFPB path is going to require some actual cooking — and not the kind where you shuttle something from the freezer to the microwave. But that has to be a good thing, right?
So let’s get this party started! Project Squishyplum. 365 days. All plants. All the time. We’ll figure it out together as we go. Just think how bloody fabulous we’re going to look and feel!