This week we are introducing you to one of our star E2-ers, Ami. Ami has had great success on Engine 2 and has a passion for being plant-strong. She loves writing about how being plant-strong is an adventure.
Let’s hear what Ami has to say when people say “The food is boring.”
An athlete friend of mine recently announced to the world at large via Facebook that he had chosen a whole foods plant-based lifestyle as part of his rigorous training regimen. He received a few positive responses, but the majority of them were not. From jokes about ordering broccoli at a pancake house, to the inevitable: “Where will you get your protein”? The consensus was that he’d be giving up a lot and getting nothing but boring cuisine in return.
For those still eating the standard American diet and those making strides toward a 100% Plant-Strong way of life, know this…it can be as interesting and adventurous as you make it! When my husband and I began the Engine 2 – 28 Day Challenge, I did a little research. I bought a few books and bookmarked a few web sites. I was building a knowledge base to ensure success and prevent boredom with our food. I started pinning recipes on Pinterest and following bloggers who were plant-based as well. Inspiration in the kitchen is what I was seeking. I was really excited by the incredible options I had found.
There are a lot of recipes out there to keep your plant-based way of life interesting. Whether you are a pro in the kitchen or you have only heated up processed packaged food before, there are recipes out there for every skill level. Start simple. For fast and easy, we really like Jeff Novick’s 5 ingredient one pot meals. They include a grain, a tomato, a bean, a vegetable and a spice. There are hundreds of possible combinations!
I use several salt-free spice blends and other seasonings that help keep things diverse without making them complicated. A simple baked potato can change drastically by changing the spice. A few ideas to try include: curry, Italian seasoning, southwest blend, lemon pepper or Caribbean Jerk seasoning. How would the flavor change if it were a baked sweet potato instead? Maybe try pumpkin pie spice or cayenne pepper? The same idea holds true for vegetables. Instead of using oils and butter, we use a squeeze of lemon on steamed kale or a touch of hot sauce in yellow split peas for a spicy twist.
We have a few simple dishes that we eat all the time, like quinoa with black beans and kale. Having a few go-to meals that can also do double duty for a packed lunch the next day is a great idea. Find a few favorites that work well for your family to get you started. Later, try new things along the way. Don’t be afraid to experiment now and then. If I see a vegetable or fruit I have never had before in the produce section, I may buy one, just to try. I also try new flavor combinations. Some work really well and others, well…let’s just say were more on the adventurous end of the spectrum!
I’ve had a lot of fun in the kitchen since starting Engine 2. I think you will as well!
My favorite online resources:
By Ami Mackey