Over the years I’ve gone back and forth on vegetarianism and veganism. I know they are healthy diets, but the month or two that I have tried these diets I would usually feel tired, low energy, and sometimes get cuts on the side of my mouth (I think it was a b12 deficiency?). So, I decided it probably was not the best diet, or healthiest one for me.
I did quite a bit of research to supplement my diet as needed when I went vegan for a month. I even wrote a post on it- read here
. But, I was too concerned that having low energy was not right and I went back to my healthy diet of lean meats and cheeses.
But fast forward to a few years and while I feel great, I have pretty healthy eating habits (meat is more of a side dish for me), and I exercise 30 minutes a day- but there are some things that bother me.
It’s not really my health I question, but more my family’s.
I’m like the typical American family, sadly to say where family members are diagnosed with chronic diseases in their 50s and 60s. For my family, it’s heart disease. So, I can’t just eat what’s put in front of me anymore. Eating on autopilot in America is an early death sentence! But more importantly a lower quality of life. It’s not about living to 120 years that I want, but I want to feel alive, vibrant and pill free when I’m 80 years old! Is that so much to ask?
The only people that can claim they are pill free at 80 are the people I read about- vegans. So, I am back again researching the vegetarian and vegan diets to improve my quality of life. And hopefully through my example some of my family members may be curious to learn more. I know I can’t change anyone if I don’t first start with myself.
So, if you’re still here reading my rant and feel some of these same concerns, I want to share with you my new vegetarian menu for the week. I am not perfect and continue to research how to make my meals more nutrient rich. I’m sure long time vegetarians have better meal plans. But, I have to start somewhere.
I am not a dietician, so take this weekly meal plan as an idea or inspiration, not set-in-stone dietary meal plan. It probably needs to be boosted up with a few more nutrients. But, I wanted to document my journey here.
My background is Armenian and Mexican, and I love international foods, so I hope you enjoy some of the ideas I have to cook up for the week. It has to be exciting!
I am starting with Monday to Friday and allowing myself meat (mostly chicken or fish) on the weekend if I feel I need it.
The goal from going vegetarian is to slowly incorporate more vegan foods and go vegan for a bit if it feels right.
What better time to do this than during a pandemic? – When there are less social pressures to eat what friends are eating and I can cook and eat in my kitchen the whole day. Social pressures are one of the hardest challenges on the vegan diet. The other one is not having options when you are out and about.
Now, those are easily overcome! No excuses lol
Of course I had to sit down on Saturday to plan out a loose meal plan. I’m sure it will change as I go through it, but it was necessary (even as a creative chef) to have an idea of what I would eat to have a balanced meal. See the italicized text for the plan and the bold text for what I actually ended up eating.
Check back to see how it unfolds and my take on this whole new vegetarian thing.
Click on some of the items to see my recipes for these.
- Trail Mix + Orange
- Banana Cocoa Nice Cream (coffee, ½ frozen banana, oat milk, ½ Tbsp. cocoa powder, blended)
Workout 30 minutes
- ¼ cup yogurt, granola, raspberries and honey
- 1 cup coffee
- Flax muffin
- Peruvian bean taco with kale and avocado
- 2 tangerines
- 1 slice whole grain bread with olive oil
- (Take-out) Pasta primavera with pink sauce and vegetables
- Garlic roll
- Turmeric Tea- fresh turmeric slices, honey, lemon, hot water
- Southwest Black Bean Burger (open-faced) on ½ whole wheat bread, ¼ avocado, ½ cup dandelion greens with olive oil, lemon juice, 3 cherry tomatoes
- Small slice jalapeño cornbread
- Warm ⅓ cup oat milk with cinnamon and drizzle of honey + ½ biscotti cookie
30 minute workout
- 1 Flax Muffin, couple raspberries
- 1 black coffee
- Oatmeal with 1 tsp. maple syrup, nutritional yeast, cinnamon and clove
30 minute Pilates
- Flax muffin and black coffee, a few raspberries
- Green Tea and Blueberry Banana Bar
45 minute bike ride
1 flax muffin and raspberries, yogurt and granola
Roasted tomato soup, dumpling leftovers, sweet potato and broken quinoa cakes
Lemon water and babka
To your happy and healthy life,
Wanna learn more?
Follow me on Instagram! @chefjoannas
Message me if you are interested in 100% whole food plant-based, low-fat cooking classes!
This post contains affiliated links. Please read my disclosure page.