Plant Based Eating
My preferred way of eating is plant-based and gluten free. It works wonders for my body and my mind!
Eating plant-based has always been the intuitive way for me to nourish myself. The last time I touched meat was when I was 12 years old, and the decision to go vegetarian couldn’t have come soon enough! I have my older sister to thank for that, who finally convinced our mum to allow it.
A vegan/plant-based diet feels wholesome, clean, and invigorating to me. When eating freshly picked organic tomatoes or drinking my homemade raw almond milk, I can tangibly feel the energy and life force fuelling my body. In the ancient Indian health care system of Ayurveda they call this energy ‘prana’, and consider that fresh, organic, raw food has the highest pranic energy.
Vegans eat a completely plant-based diet, with no dairy, eggs or honey, and refrain from wearing leather. This way of living is motivated by a strong belief in animal rights. I was strictly vegan for 17 years but nowadays I allow myself a little more freedom. So if I am eating out and the vegetables have some butter on them, I won’t freak out! I still hold the same principles but accept that we live in a culture where my beliefs are not representative of the majority, so I am content in the belief that I do my best under the current circumstances.
We are what we eat, and so much of the animal produce in our food chain is pumped full of artificial hormones, preservatives and antibiotics, which invariably ends up polluting our bodies. Even if you believe humans are meant to eat flesh, what we see on our supermarket shelves is often far from natural, healthy or sustainable.
Food author Michael Pollan says: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” By ‘food’ he is referring to ‘real food’. He substantiates this with: “If it’s a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.”
You may not feel that you want to give up meat or dairy completely, but could still benefit from an occasional plant-based detox. The recipes and advice here can help you to reduce your animal produce, and increase your repertoire of fresh, plant-based meals at your disposal. Plants are often much gentler on the digestive system, and the high fibre, enzyme and nutrient content can help clear out the gut and result in increased energy, clarity of mind, weight loss, and overall wellbeing.
Of course there are some people who are extremely sensitive to gluten, namely those with coeliac disease. For them, the slightest hint of gluten can cause extreme inflammation in the gut, leading to serious health consequences. However, I don’t believe it’s a black-and-white issue. From my experience with clients it seems likely that there is a sliding scale of sensitivity, where many people report improved wellbeing when they eliminate gluten from their diets. With today’s wheat being so overprocessed, and with the widespread use of pesticides in wheat production, it makes me wonder whether these aspects are causing heightened sensitivity. It may also be the fact that so many products we eat on a daily basis contain wheat, so we are probably consuming a lot more of it than we intend to, and overexposure is also linked to sensitivities.
There are other grains which contain gluten but at much lower levels, which seem to be easier to digest, such as the ancient grain kamut, and also rye and spelt are often well tolerated. It’s beneficial to mix up the grains in your diet so as to avoid having too much of one thing. Everyone reacts differently, so experiment and see what works for you.
WHAT TO EAT
For some ideas on how to eat balanced plant-based gluten-free meals, check out the Meal Ideas & Recipes section. Since I’m not a trained chef, my recipes are very simple and quick to make. Rather than being a great cook, I consider myself to be very good at putting food together! It’s really not necessary to be a gourmet chef to make meals nutritious, convenient and delicious.
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