Designed to support people through making the transition to a vegan/plant-based lifestyle, this book is a great resource for even a seasoned vegan like me – it is full of clever strategies, the science to back it all up, inspiring stories and great recipe ideas.
Lani Muelrath is an award-winning teacher, author, speaker, plant-based, active, mindful living expert. She is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University (I am too!) and has served as presenter and consultant for both the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Complete Health Improvement Project. She has written several books but more importantly, she has lived this life – for more than 40 years – and has coached thousands of others in their transition to plant filled lives.
Part therapist, part coach, part trainer and part chef, this book takes us through the concept of living a plant-based. It starts with the awakening – making the plant-based connection, all the reasons not to eat animal protein or drink milk (ugh!), and models for change. Then comes setting the stage for success – a description of what being plant-based is, what a plant-based meal looks like, how to satisfy hunger, and what you need to do to fix your kitchen and pantry. Then comes actually making the switch and sticking to it by creating systems for success. Then the book turns to taking the lifestyle on the road and dealing with work, restaurants and what Lani calls “food pushers” which is a nice way of saying people who can’t deal with the fact that we don’t eat what they do and want to try to force us to eat their way which is to say the SAD way (Standard American Diet.)
Even with all of that info, I still wanted to ask Lani a few questions directly.
LPV: Why did you include a lot of case studies in the book?
LM: There are many kinds of personal stories in the book that are inspiring because they show us what people have overcome – as simple a thing as changing what is on their plate. All the examples from people’s personal transitions are deeply instructive because they use one of the most powerful teaching tools of all – modeling!
LPV: All of the tips you offer are fantastic, but if you had to boil it down to just one, what would it be?
LM: I am thrilled to see that an overwhelming response from those who already have a copy of The Plant-Based Journey is the overwhelming sense of relief and empowerment people feel. Instead of being overwhelmed by “don’t do,” they are telling me they feel a surge in “can do!” As a teacher and coach, this is high marks!
So to answer your question, start where you are and begin to incorporate more of what you want in your life—in food, fitness, and frame of mind. Remember that you are a project in the works—and will be for the rest of your life—and be specific about small changes—I call them micro changes—that you can make to move in the direction you want to go. Some people can manage several micro changes at once, some only one at a time.
And, respect the stages of the adventure! The five steps in Journey are universal to everyone who has experienced sustainable success on this transition. And that’s what I am interested in—sustainable change. And I think most people are too.
LPV: I love the recipes in the book. The portobello pot roast, which was reviewed on A Virtual Vegan’s site as part of this blog tour, a version of which has already happened in my kitchen, was especially inspirational, a definite crowd pleaser as you call it. But you also present a really great idea – recipe templates – a recipe with several easy variations. Sort of like a no recipe recipe which is how I like to cook! What was your rationale behind them?
LM: Thank you! I put the templates in as a practical tool for people to prepare plant-based meals in a simple fashion—plus it’s how I cook! The templates are pulled from my kitchen. One of the stumbling blocks to getting started is that people feel they have to learn fancy recipes and a long list of unfamiliar and strange foods. I want to blow that one out of the water by showing how easy it is to simply get more plants on your plate.
With permission from the publisher, I am posting one of the templates right here.
Bean Spread Template
Yield: About 1 cup
Bean spreads make quick and easy sandwich fillings, an irresistible dip for vegetables or baked chips, or, thinned with vinegar, a delicious dressing for salads, whole grains, or starchy vegetables.
1 (15-ounce) can chickpea, pinto or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (about 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon seed or nut butter or ¼ cup pitted olives
1 1/2 teaspoons seasonings, to taste (ex: cumin, paprika, chipotle)
2 cloves garlic, crushed, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon mild yellow miso or salt or 1/2 teaspoon tamari
3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons water, as needed
Place the ingredients except for the water in a food processor or blender. Process, adding the water 1 tablespoon at a time, to the desired texture (chunky or smooth).
Note: For a lower-fat version, eliminate the nut butter/olives; for a richer version, add more. Adjust the lemon/lime juice and garlic to taste. This goes fast, so I usually double the recipe.
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