A Plant-Based Diet-One Meal at a Time

The case for eating plant-based foods is getting stronger. Eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can help manage body weight, decrease the risk of diabetes, and lower blood pressure. According to the latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (2015): “A healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meats; low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.”

I think of myself as a flexitarian, since I eat mainly vegetarian food, but occasionally meat, poultry and seafood. I don’t like the idea of depriving myself of the foods I enjoy because eating a variety of good food keeps me feeling healthy. Finding a balance might seem daunting, but if you break down your day, and start slowly, you can ease yourself towards a commitment to eating more plant-based foods. I start my day with delicious homemade muesli, a Swiss German cold breakfast cereal. The ingredients are inexpensive and it’s easy to make. You can buy muesli, but making your own enables you to add only what you want – keeping it healthy and simple.

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup whole walnuts

1 cup shelled, raw sunflower seeds

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup raisins or other dried fruit (dates rolled in oat flour work well)

Spread the oats on a baking sheet and toast for five minutes at 350 degrees. On another baking sheet, spread the walnuts and sunflower seeds and toast for three minutes at 350.

Mix the oats, sunflower seeds and coconut in a large bowl. Chop the walnuts and dried fruit and add to the mixture. Stir thoroughly and store in a sealed jar.

Yogurt or milk can be added to soften the oats, making it a vegetarian option for breakfast. Nut milk can also be added, as can fruit juice. I add fresh fruit and a little water to dampen the mixture and I am on my way to a delicious and nutritious start to my day. Plant-based breakfast, done!