Ivan and I became convinced that eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet was simply a matter of resetting certain habits we have developed over the years. Once we were able to create new patterns (or new habits, let’s be honest) for ourselves, maintaining this lifestyle has been simple, even if it is not particularly easy.
Let me explain what I mean.
It is easy to show up at a networking mixer and nibble on hot wings with bleu cheese dressing, veggie sticks dipped in Ranch, mini-sliders, and the like. You know what I mean. But it is simple to have a protein shake before we come or to bring our own Cheesy Quinoa Muffins and eat a couple of them instead of the normal mixer fare. No one really cares if we eat something we brought or if we don’t eat at all! What’s important is being with the BNI members and doing the networking. We never knew Ivan’s mantra “It’s not net-sit or net-eat, it’s net-WORK” would take a new meaning for us 28 years later!
I guess the first thing to change had to be our snacks. We had gotten used to eating frozen chicken strips tossed in Tabasco, baked up and served with Ranch. I also made a refried bean dip from canned, vegetarian refried beans, fat-free sour cream and lowfat Kraft shredded cheese. Canned food was out now, due to the BPA coating on the insides of the cans, dairy was out unless it was goat cheese with no mold inhibitors and goat cheese does not seem to pair well with pinto beans. And the chips we were eating the dip with were made from GMO corn and had, not only preservatives, but canola oil, another ingredient we were eliminating.
I had to get creative, but we found that it was simple to switch from bean dip to guacamole. I developed a quick guacamole recipe for when I just wanted to whip up a quick snack. It is tasty and very, very fast to prepare from all-fresh ingredients. We found a baked chip made from black beans and brown rice and two more ingredients, sea salt and safflower oil. When I have a little more time, I make homemade crackers to have with the guacamole (four ingredients: gluten-free flour, grape seed oil, sea salt and water).
I make a mean yogurt dip with Italian herbs, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt and cayenne pepper to use with veggie sticks. I also make my Cheesy Quinoa Muffins and have them on hand for when we want a light snack. Two of them can even make a handy meal for flights where we do not choose to eat the airline food.
Now that we have released the notion that nuts are too fattening and we cannot snack on them, we eat a small serving of cashews, macadamias or walnuts with raisins for a snack. Delicious!
And that is another thing. As we have shifted our ingredients, we have gotten into a rut with these foods and miss them when we cannot have them. I can’t even imagine having scrambled eggs anymore without sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes and spinach or some other combination of veggies. And the gallbladder and liver cleansing combo of olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice is our new dressing of choice. It goes on omelets, wild rice, fish, salads and even over the Cheesy Quinoa Muffins! We like that so much that it is in my carry-on bag or my purse when we travel for those meals out.
Again, it’s simple to make these substitutions, but it’s not easy. You must overcome the entropy and lethargy which keeps you from doing what you need to do to switch. Once you overcome that, you are good to go.