Just a week before Spawn’s due date, I had an opportunity to hang out with Melissa of The Valentine RD, and attend a book launch for Sharon Palmer, RD, at Real Food Daily in Pasadena. Palmer wrote a new book called Plant-Powered for Life! (Her previous book was The Plant-Powered Diet.)
The event was held at Real Food Daily in Pasadena – one of the few vegan restaurants I’ll eat at -Â andÂ moderated by another registered dietician (RD), Matt Ruscigno, which was neat because all three stars had something to say about a vegan lifestyle as well as other food concerns from the audience. The founder of RFD, Ann Gentry, was also there to share her insights and sign her books as well!
Before the Q& A started, we were treated to a few dishes from Sharon’s book as well as RFD, including Tu-Nut on gluten-free crackers, French lentil salad with cherry tomatoes, Bombay Bulgur carrot salad, black bean brownies with walnuts and a chocolate parfait. NOM.
Well, we already know that Americans eat a sh*t ton of meat. Sharon mentioned that we eat three times the global weight of meat. #murica!
Did you know that there are over 40,000 edible speciesÂ of plantsÂ on the planet? There are 1,000 varieties of tomatoes alone! Well, dang. What am I eating a boring tomato when there are 999 other types!?
General tips for newbies looking to change things up and add more plant-based meals into their diets:
- Sharon: A simple change is to try “Meatless Mondays” – take one meal on Monday and switch it to a non-meat meal. You want to refocus how you see food on your plate – and NOT look at meat as the center of your plate.
- Ann: “Take it easy on yourself” when you’re switching things up. We give ourselves a hard time when we “cheat” and that discourages us to keep going.
- All: You can’t substitute two exact proteins for your two eggs because you get proteins from a variety of plants. So instead of thinking 5 cups of kale = 2 eggs, think of the sum of your plant-based foods as equal to your eggs. (My take on their suggestion.)
An audience member asked how important it was to eat organic vs GMO. There’ve been recent articles that came out, touting organic having a bit more nutrition over GMO plants and products. (I think that’s kind of a given, no? I mean, do you eat pesticide-laden fruit or organic fruit?) All three speakers pointed out that it wasn’t a matter of percentage of nutrition gain but a matter of human rights and sustainable farming. The question needs to be about how to protect the whole ecosystem of farming and its workers, not just what we’re eating.
A question about proteins came up. How much protein should we really be eating, regardless of whether we follow a plant-based diet or not? So… you’re supposed toÂ take in about one gram of protein per kilogram of your body weight. Calculate/translate your weight to KG and then you end up with your ballpark number of proteins to consume per day. Matt estimated it’s about 1/2 your body weight in pounds. Who knew?
Melissa asked Sharon her thoughts on stevia and other plant-based sweeteners. While it is an alternative to white sugar, it is still processed. Sharon suggested using it sparingly (not everyday, people!), and to use agave instead as it is less processed. [My note on this is that not everyone can have agave – I know I’m in the minority right now with my gestational diabetes. So be sure to check with your own dietician and doctor for help.]
I thought the event was well done and would have been great for newbies. I know it’s hard to change eating habits sometimes, but restaurantsÂ like Real Food Daily and easy recipe cookbooks should make it easier for anyone to switch one meal out during the week to a plant-based meal.
Take a look at the recipe books and let me know what you think! It’s got 125 recipes to try out!Â I’d love to hear if you’ve switched to a plant-based diet or if you’re thinking about it!