Happy Herbivore Blog

My Transition to Whole Foods

Posted by: Courtney Hardy |

Category: Advice

Hi Herbies. It's Courtney again. I thought I would write a post on how I went from just being plant-based to eating whole, fresh foods. Since Lindsay has been away all weekend & we just got over 2 feet of snow, hopefully she is too busy snowboarding to see this and see how much processed foods I was eating before (I doubt it though).

I was a processed plant-based food junkie. While making the switch to a plant based diet was easy for me, eating healthy whole foods was not. Looking back, I'm not sure if it was laziness on my part or a slight resentment in making the switch.

For those of you unfamiliar with my decision to go plant-based. I was diagnosed with food allergies of black pepper and cottonseed. On the cottonseed handout from my doctor, it said that cottonseed oil is used in most processed foods, and cottonseed meal cakes are fed to cattle. 

The old adage 'you are what you eat' is also true for animals, like cattle. What they eat comes through in their milk (and thus cheese) and their meat, ie., cottonseed. Even though I made the decision to stop eating these things, I was still a little upset about it. I felt forced. Why did I have to give up these foods that I grew up eating and enjoying just so I can breathe?

I made the switch overnight to being plant-based, but not necessarily to whole foods. Having a frozen chesse-less pizza, dairy-free mac & cheese, or a veggie burger were easy replacements to the food I could no longer eat, and at the time made the transition to plant-based easier for me.

As time went on, and I was more open to listening to the advice of Lindsay, I ventured out and tried more whole food. I became great at cooking HH recipes online and from the Happy Herbivore Cookbook for dinner, but I was not so good about breakfast and lunch. And my snacks were even worse - why did my sister tell me about oreos?!?

Would it have been that much harder for me to grab a handful of grapes or an apple to take with me? Not at all, but for some reason I always choose the junk food instead.

Knowing that I was moving here, and would be with Lindsay, I knew I had to cut this food out of my diet, and fast. The snacks were the easiest to overcome. I stopped buying the processed plant-based crackers and cookies and I kept a bowl of ready to eat fruit on my desk and another in the front of my fridge. I even had bananas in my gym bag! No matter where I was or where I went, I had a whole food snack with me just in case.

The next step was lunch. I worked almost an hour away from my home, and all we had was a refrigerator and a microwave. How was I not suppose to have a microwavable meal for lunch? That's when I realized I could still have the convinience of my quick microwave lunch, just by having leftovers from dinner. Before I would have those leftovers for dinner again. This forced me to not only have healthier lunches, but to try more recipes for dinner as well.

Breakfast has always been my downfall, I guess that's why I put off doing anything about it until the last minute (or should I say week). I would sleep in as late as I could, and make a dash out the door, without much thought to breakfast other than some kind of quick bite. No matter what I did, I just couldn't find the time to cook breakfast in the morning. That's when I started making it at night. I would make the Fruity Cereal Bars  (pg. 240, HHC) or the Tofu Scramble. This way I could just grab a bar and go or reheat the scramble in the morning.

Once I got the ball rolling by changing my snacks, changing the rest of my meals was easy. I just needed that extra little push. And to top everything off, I am down almost 20 lbs since giving up the processed foods! 

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