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Are you a Vegetarian?

People ask me this question often. My response of “no” often leads to some confusion as a vegetarian eats vegetables and plants are vegetables. Right? Absolute truth; however, I follow a plant-based diet and a plant-based diet includes much more. (I use the word “diet” as a way of eating, not a way of eating to lose weight).

There are many definitions of plant-based diet. Just start googling it if you haven’t already. It will be overwhelming but ultimately, you will find one that is right for YOU. My daily diet aligns best with Harvard Medical School’s definition that states: “Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.”

The word “primarily” is key for me. Over the past 10 years, my desire for animal and dairy products has waned, not to elimination, but just barely present. I eat cheese and eggs occasionally but my desire for those foods has significantly diminished, while animal meat has vanished except for occasional fish. Over the years, I noticed that I didn’t feel the joy, energy, nutrition and deeper connection to nature with these foods as I did when I entered the produce section of the supermarket or picked up my weekly organic farm share, foraged for mushrooms or cooked a recipe with vivid color, taste and livelihood. Foods like sweet potatoes, swiss chard, red lentils, sunflower seed butter, avocado, squash, and roasted cauliflower explode my taste buds!

One of the bonuses of a plant-based diet was the discovery of seasonal eating. My favorite cookbook, The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O’Donnell, guided me in a snap! Ayurveda is a blueprint for seasonal living and bringing balance into our mind/body through food, lifestyle and self care practices. It makes so much sense as we follow the rhythm of our day otherwise known as the circadian rhythm. Additionally, seasonal eating freshest provides the tastiest food grown in the peak of their season and also nurtures our gut microbiome. If you weren’t sure, our gut microbiome is bacteria living in our digestive tract that are critical in fighting off disease.

I have thrived following a plant based diet. My energy is consistent. I have a breadth of food choices. I have zero health issues and most importantly, I continue to learn ways to embrace nature and the land we live on.

I love to cook and create recipes. So here’s a freebie for you! This recipe is an old favorite of mine AND it was the first plant-based soup I ever made. This soup will warm you up on a cool, crisp autumn day.

Also, if you want some originals of mine, head over to my shop and download the spring and winter seasonal e-recipe cookbooks.

AND if you want Tips on a Plant-Based Lifestyle, then head to my home page, scroll down and drop your email. Your tips will be on their way!

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