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28-Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot
Reset Your Body, Lose Weight, Gain Energy & Feel Great
By Jessica Jones, Wendy Lopez
Page Street Publishing Co.Copyright © 2017 Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez
All rights reserved.
ABOUT THIS REBOOT
If someone were to have asked us five years ago to name our ultimate dream upon starting our healthy cooking and nutrition web series, Food Heaven Made Easy, it would have been to write a cookbook: A cookbook full of delicious, easy, vegetarian recipes that would debunk the myth that healthy eating is time-consuming, expensive and, frankly, gross. Although we absolutely loved the idea of writing a cookbook, having something published seemed big. Almost too big. A pipe dream that maybe would happen, one day, but not anytime soon.
And yet here we are, with a cookbook of our very own. A cookbook full of delicious, easy, vegetarian recipes. Pipe dream turned into reality? Yes, please. We've put a lot of blood, sweat and onion-induced tears into this cookbook. Our goal was to make this something that we loved. Our hope is that you love it, too.
In 28-Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot we've created 100 recipes — all plant-powered, simple and cost-conscious. This book is perfect for those who want to become more comfortable with preparing nutritious (and delicious) vegetarian meals. Also, if you are new to the vegetarian lifestyle and want a book that helps you through the transition, this book is for you. During the first week, we give you a sample meal plan you can follow to a T (or not — it's completely up to you). Throughout the subsequent weeks, you will be the captain of the ship, deciding which recipes work best for you and how much (or little) you want to cook for the week. This plan allows you to effectively plan meals using all of our recipes, so you will be comfortable on your own after the 4 weeks are up. The beauty of this book is that you don't have to cook a completely new recipe for each meal every day. If you want to save cooking time by rotating between two to four dinner recipes throughout the week, that's fine, too — just choose recipes that have more than one serving and enjoy the leftovers throughout the week. How you structure the plan is completely up to you.
As registered dietitians, we made a point to focus on the nutrition of every single one of the recipes included here. For us, each meal needs to have the right balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein, while being under a certain number of calories (typically between 300 and 500 per serving). Within each recipe you will find the nutrition facts for each serving to help keep you on track. We also eliminated any ingredients that were not absolutely essential to the perfection of the recipe and that didn't add superior nutrition to the dish.
We want you to feel amazingly whole and nourished while completing this reboot and with minimal stress. That's why our recipes don't require 20 ingredients or obscure items that will break the bank. Who needs to spend extra money or go through the stress of creating fussy meals? Not us. Some call it minimalism; we call it Food Heaven Made Easy.
THE POWER OF PLANT-BASED EATING
Many of our readers ask us why we've adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. We became vegetarians for different reasons. For Jess, eating meat was as unpleasant as hearing nails scratching on a chalkboard. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but almost. She never, ever, everrr, liked eating meat growing up. Fried chicken? No, thanks. Seared sirloin steak? As if. It wasn't until she was 12 years old that she learned being vegetarian was a thing, and that anyone could do it. On a family car ride home after visiting her big brother in Lake Tahoe (who at the time had a vegetarian girlfriend who introduced her to the lifestyle), she announced that she was going to become a vegetarian. That was that. She never ate meat again, and it was very easy for her to make the switch.
We realize that completely cutting out meat overnight is not a reality for most folks. For Wendy, the journey into a vegetarian lifestyle was a wee bit different. She grew up eating meat and loving every bite. Maybe a little too much. As a Dominican growing up in the Bronx, chronic illnesses — like diabetes and hypertension — were very common among her family and community members. It wasn't until she went to college that her poor nutrition started to catch up with her. She found herself in constant chronic pain with frequent, crippling bouts of constipation. As she learned more about nutrition, and began to incorporate more whole foods into her diet, she started feeling significantly better and many of her physical symptoms resolved.
Although our journeys into plant-based eating started very differently, we both agree that a plant-based way of eating is extremely important when it comes to optimizing your health and well-being — not to mention the health of your community, family members and loved ones. Notice that we said "plant-based" and not "vegetarian." That was no accident. The truth is, you do not have to be vegetarian to enjoy this cookbook or to be healthy. Shocking to hear from vegetarian dietitians, we know!
When we say "plant-based," we are referring to a diet centered around mostly whole, unrefined or minimally refined plants. It's a diet based on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and beans. This doesn't mean you have to be strictly vegan or that you have to completely eliminate meat if it is something you love. As a plant-based eater, you may want to complement meals with animal-based proteins, such as eggs, dairy, meat and seafood. The only difference is they are not the focus of your meals; instead, they are used as flavor boosters. Make sense? Keep in mind that a plant-powered diet should always be individualized based on culture, resources, religion, health needs and food preferences. It doesn't have to look the same for everyone.
There is a ton of research that suggests a plant-powered diet can help in the prevention and management of chronic illness. We've seen it time and time again with our patients. The more they include plants in their diet (mostly vegetables, but also fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.), the more they shed those extra pounds, reduce their blood sugar and lower their blood pressure and cholesterol (among countless other health benefits). Some research even suggests that plant-based eating can improve your life span. And let's not forget planet Earth. Plant-powered eating helps reduce greenhouse gases and our carbon footprint, resulting in a more sustainable environment.
GETTING THE NUTRIENTS YOU NEED
You might be wondering whether it's possible to get all of the necessary macro and micronutrients on a vegetarian diet. The answer is absolutely. A vegetarian diet can be suitable for both adults and children, as long as you have a varied and balanced food plan. For example, greens are great, but it's not the only color vegetable you want to have on your plate. Eating a balanced diet means that the fruits and vegetables you eat should be green, red, yellow, white, purple, blue and orange. (Taste the rainbow.) Eating a variety of colors means you are consuming a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (health-promoting properties found in plant-based foods). If you are going to transition to a vegetarian (or even plant-based) lifestyle, here are seven key nutrients you must consider:
Daily Recommended Intake: 0.36 grams per every pound (454 g) of body weight OR
56 grams per day for the average sedentary man / 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman
Sources: Tempeh, soy foods, soy milk, legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, dairy products, eggs
Contrary to popular belief, it's actually really easy to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet. For example, the average sedentary man needs 56 grams of protein per day. This could be obtained by eating 1 ounce (28 g) almonds (6 grams protein), 1 cup (200 g) cooked lentils (18 grams), 1 cup (235 ml) soy milk (8 grams) and 1 cup (245 g) nonfat, plain Greek yogurt (24 grams). Whatever you do, try not to go overboard on all the heavily processed vegetarian "meat" products because they contain a lot of preservatives and other not-so-healthy ingredients.
Daily Recommended Intake: 20 to 35 percent of your total calories per day
Sources: ALA — Ground flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, soy products, nuts, seeds, avocados
EPA/DHA — Fish/fish oils, specialty eggs
There are good fats, sometimes fats and horrible fats. Good fats (unsaturated) are mainly found in plants. Sometimes fats (saturated) are mainly found in animal products. Horrible fats (trans) are man-made.
Forget what you've heard. Fats are good. In fact, we absolutely need them to aid growth and development, supply energy, assist absorption of certain vitamins, provide cushioning for our organs and maintain cell membranes. Whether you are a vegetarian or meat eater, aim to consume mostly unsaturated fats, which have more beneficial health properties.
Daily Recommended Intake: 1000 mg per day for adults
Sources: Almond butter, tahini, figs, soy protein, soy nuts, kale, broccoli, collards, mustard greens, corn tortillas (processed with lime), vegetarian baked beans, black beans, fortified soy milk, fortified rice milk, dairy products
We need calcium for heart function and muscle contraction as well as strong and healthy bones and teeth. However, this mineral is poorly absorbed from some beans and high-oxalate veggies, like spinach and beet greens. It's better absorbed from soy products, kale, collards, mustard greens and broccoli, so be sure to incorporate these foods into your diet. Also, having adequate vitamin D in your diet is essential, as it helps with the absorption of calcium.
Daily Recommended Intake: 600 International Units (800 for older adults) per day
Sources: Fortified soy milk, fortified cow's milk, fortified breakfast cereals, egg yolks, cod liver oil
Vitamin D is synthesized via sun exposure, so the darker your skin, the greater chance you have of melanin interfering with synthesis. Research suggests that 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at least two times a week without sunscreen, should be enough for your body to make the needed amount of vitamin D. If you aren't getting sun, fish and egg yolks are among the few sources of vitamin D in foods. If you're vegan and don't get adequate sun exposure throughout the day, be sure to consume foods fortified with vitamin D. If not, supplementation is a must.
Daily Recommended Intake: 2.4 mcg per day
Sources: Fortified meat analogs, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified soy milk, fortified almond milk, nutritional yeast, dairy, eggs
Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that occurs naturally in animal products. For vegans, it's important to consume products that have been fortified with vitamin B, such as breakfast cereals or soy milk. If not, we recommend supplementation.
Daily Recommended Intake: Varies depending on age and if you are pregnant, but generally between 7 and 27 mg per day
Sources: Bran flakes, instant oatmeal, 100% whole-wheat bread, nuts, nut butters, potato with skin, dried fruits, legumes, fortified cereals, whole-grain cereals
There are two types of iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron, which is found in animal products, is better absorbed by our bodies than nonheme iron, which is found in plants. Additionally, vegetarians are more likely to consume whole grains and legumes, which contain phytate, a property in some plant-based foods that inhibits the absorption of iron. To counteract this, try eating iron-rich meals with vitamin C (lemon, orange and other citrus), which enhances iron absorption. Avoid eating calcium-rich foods while eating foods high in iron, because calcium can also inhibit iron absorption.
Daily Recommended Intake: 8 mg per day for women / 11 mg per day for men
Sources: Tofu, tempeh, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fortified breakfast cereals, dairy
As with iron, the phytate in vegetarian diets interferes with the absorption of zinc. Soaking dried beans and tossing out the water before cooking can lower the phytate content, increasing zinc absorption.
CALCULATING YOUR CALORIC NEEDS
Below is a guideline for estimating caloric needs, based on your age, sex and physical activity level. Every meal and snack in this plan comes with the exact amount of calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein to make sure you are falling within your daily ranges. Keep in mind that this estimated caloric intake is appropriate if you want to maintain your current weight. If you are looking to lose weight, you should subtract 250–500 calories from your total daily calorie needs. For example, if you are a 31-year-old sedentary woman, to maintain your weight, you would need an estimated 1800 calories per day based on this guideline. However, if you wanted to lose weight, we recommend you cut your daily intake down to 1300 to 1550 calories or increase your physical activity level. Always remember that you should never eat less than 1200 calories per day.
RECOMMENDED MACRONUTRIENT RANGES
45–65% of total calories from carbohydrates
10–35% of total calories from protein
20–35% of total calories from fat
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
The goal of this 28-day reboot is to help you support your body's natural detoxification process by learning to fuel yourself with whole, delicious, plant-based meals. This book can also be used by people who are transitioning to a vegetarian diet and are unsure where to start, and it's helpful for people who simply want to learn to cook more vegetarian/plant-based recipes.
As part of the 28-day reboot, we provide a sample meal plan for week 1 (here). This is because we want to start you off with structure in your quest to eat healthy plant-based meals. After the first week, we empower you to organize a meal plan that best suits your taste preferences and lifestyle using the breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and drink recipes in the cookbook. If you are someone who needs a lot of direction, we have you covered in week 1 with an outline and grocery list for exactly what to do. And if you are someone who likes to have a bit more autonomy with meal planning, in weeks 2 through 4 you have the power to choose the breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack(s) that best suit your daily needs. After you finish the sample week 1 plan here, we provide you with weekly meal-planning charts and weekly grocery shopping templates (starting here) for each subsequent week. This makes it easier for you to plan (and write down!) exactly what you will be having for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Once you've laid out the recipes, you'll create a grocery list and go shopping.
After completing this 28-day reboot, you should feel more energized, nourished and whole. You may even lose a couple of pounds along the way (all of our recipes are super satisfying, yet calorie-controlled). You'll also have a bevy of new, healthy, creative recipes for your cooking tool kit, likeChia Banana Pancakes, Crispy Black Pepper Tofu with Green Beans, Lentil Sloppy Joes and Spiralized Zucchini Pesto Pasta. There is absolutely something for everyone in this reboot.CHAPTER 2
MEAL PLANNING MADE EASY
Meal planning is essential to healthy eating, especially when making the transition to plant-based eating. The wonderful thing about home cooking is that you control exactly what goes into your meals. As a result, you're less likely to consume high-calorie meals loaded with sodium, fat and unnecessary additives. When you have your meals prepped and ready to go, you maximize money spent on groceries and save tons of time in the kitchen. Food shopping becomes more efficient, and when going to the market, you know exactly what you'll need.
The good news is that meal planning doesn't have to be a burden — it's all about creating a setup that works for you! The first step to effective meal planning is making it a priority in your schedule. At the very minimum, dedicate 1 day per week to put your plan into action. It may be helpful to keep this meal-planning day consistent each week. Once you have chosen your day, do a food inventory. Dig into the pantry and refrigerator and find out which foods you have on hand. Aside from minimizing food waste, doing a quick inventory will give you an idea of what options you have for the week. It may be helpful to categorize your ingredients into food groups, making a list of which protein, carbohydrate, vegetable and fruit options you have.
After the inventory is done, brainstorm which meals you'll be preparing for the week. We have included a meal-planning chart here, which will help you organize recipes you'll be preparing for the week. Keep in mind that for recipes that yield more than one serving, you can repurpose them throughout the week to minimize time spent cooking in the kitchen. If you find the meal plan too ambitious, just repeat your favorite recipes during the week, or make double or triple batches to cut down on time.
Excerpted from 28-Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot by Jessica Jones, Wendy Lopez. Copyright © 2017 Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
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