It's easy to pontificate about cooking a plant-based diet at home. While it is true that a "mostly plant-based diet of sustainably produced foods" is one of the best things one can do for personal health and the health of the environment (it takes 100 times as much water to produce a pound of beef than it does to produce a pound of tomatoes), there's the reality check of what it takes to follow a healthy diet in real life.
In January, I challenged myself to see if I could get my family on a plant-based diet. As a physician, I considered our diet healthy, but after a month of trying Joel Furhman's Eat to Live, I was surprised how many processed foods I ate myself or made for my family. Even seemingly unimpeachable meals, like my morning oatmeal, came under fire.
I used to eat my oatmeal with honey, milk, and fruit but as I became familiar with a true plant-based diet I realized a healthier option was to eat my oatmeal with apples, raisins, and flax seeds. I also realized that my palate was saltier, sweeter, and more accustomed to saturated fats than it should be.
Well, it's been quite the journey, and while we've made some changes for the better, it's hard to keep all of us on a strictly plant-based diet. My kids still eat cereal and pizza and we eat fish and chicken and even the occasional perfectly braised short ribs, but we try to restrict it only on the weekends.
We are the modified plant-based diet family. Honestly, it is hard to be social and be the family that people have to cook a different meals for at a dinner party. Our society loves meat and being a strict plant-eater has its challenges, at least in our social circle!
Now it is Sunday and the busy workweek looms in front of me once again. The refrigerator needs its weekly restocking and I'm wondering if the family can get a bike ride in to the farmers market before the kids' baseball and soccer games.
We'll be able to pick up some beautiful kale, chard, red onion, tomatoes, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, fresh fruit, butternut squash, and tofu. It will be a colorful array of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Although we could still eat healthier, with my new knowledge of the benefits of the plant-based diet, I feel armed to start the week with a new approach to our family diet that still works in our busy family life.
Spaghetti squash tacos come from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. My kids enjoyed this recipe too!