The Daily Beet

05 Jun Guest Post: by Cathy Fisher from Straight Up Food!

Share this story

We LOVE Cathy Fisher and her amazing site: Straight Up Food! If you haven’t checked out her site and her wonderful recipes, you are in for a real treat. We asked Cathy to write a post on some tips for easy plant-strong meals, she has 8 tips for living an easier plant-based life. We are breaking the post up into 2 days, so check back tomorrow for part 2!

8 Tips for Easier Plant-based Meals

We humans are wired to follow the path of least resistance, which is especially apparent when it comes to feeding ourselves: We want it now and we want it easy.

While eating the standard American diet has been a breeze for most of us (because that’s all we’ve known, and because we have been advertised to relentlessly), many who have taken the leap into plant-based eating have reported feeling like they’ve leapt into a bouncy house of confusion and struggle.

Even when people have read the books and articles, and seen the videos and lectures advocating a plant-based diet, it’s not uncommon to hear, “Okay, I get it, but how do I do it?” “How” is the question that many of us working in the plant-based community strive to answer on a daily basis and in countless ways.

Toward helping provide answers to the “how” questions and creating a more enjoyable existence in plant-land, here are 8 tips for making your meal preparations easier

1. Eat fewer foods at a meal: There is no rule that says you need to eat a certain number of different foods or dishes at a meal. While variety is just fine within a meal, you can also just eat one, two or three foods. For example, a breakfast of 10 tangerines or 3 bananas (a “mono meal”); a lunch of salad greens, beans and carrots; or for dinner, a plate of baked yams and Yukon potatoes with a little mustard or hummus (or even a big bowl of oatmeal or brown rice with cinnamon and almond milk). Try not to get too locked into what your plate used to look like or what it’s supposed to look like. As long as you’re eating an overall varied diet of wholesome plant foods, your plate can be arranged any way you like.

2. Repeat what you eat: There is also no rule that says you can’t eat the same types of dishes repeatedly. I have a short list of meals that I make over and over, and I vary their ingredients a little each time to keep things interesting. Whether I’m eating salads, soups, pasta, or baked potatoes, I might use black beans instead of pinto; grated zucchini instead of grated carrots; thinly sliced cabbage instead of lettuce; or Brussels sprouts instead of broccoli. Find 5-10 dishes that you love, and mix up the ingredients a little each time. For many of us, this happens somewhat naturally, as the seasons present their various fruits and vegetables to the farmers markets, and we adjust our shopping so that we are eating the very best that is available at the time.

3. Prepare ahead: This is one of those tips that many of us have heard but don’t seem to get around to doing. But if you can find some time on the weekend to do a little preparation for the week ahead, when presumably things will be busier, this will make your meals a lot easier. It’s such a dream to open the refrigerator to find that your next meal is nearly ready. You can do lots of things ahead of time, like cut up veggies, make pasta sauce, cook double batches of rice or beans, make a dozen whole-grain muffins to eat at breakfasts, or blend up some hummus or salsa to use as dressing, dip or sandwich spread throughout the week. One idea I saw lately is to make up a few complete salads, each in a mason jar with vegetables layered and the dressing at the bottom. When it’s time to eat, you just shake it up and pour it into a salad bowl. Clever!

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2. In the meantime, tell us some of your tricks for simpler plant-strong life.

Cathy Fisher teaches cooking classes at True North Health Center and the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California. Visit StraightUpFood.com to view more of Cathy’s healthful plant-based recipes.

Share this story
Cathy Fisher
Cathy Fisher

Cathy Fisher teaches cooking classes at True North Health Center and the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California. Visit StraightUpFood.com to view more of Cathy’s healthful plant-based recipes.

  • wendy@healthygirlskitchen
    Posted at 08:01h, 05 June

    I’ve been seeing the recipes from Straight Up Food cropping up more and more on Pinterest and other social media and I had no idea that Cathy works at True North. That’s really cool and exciting! Thanks for sharing Cathy’s tips.

  • Lori
    Posted at 11:18h, 05 June

    LOVE Cathy! You guys posted one of her recipes a few months back and I’ve been in love ever since, I think she’s the best out there and hope she gets a cookbook soon. I would love to travel up to True North just to take her class, can you give any details?
    She seems like such a nice person!

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 11:22h, 05 June

    I also love Cathy’s blog and hope that she comes out with a book. Between her and Lindsay Nixon from Happy Herbivore I never worry about what to make for a meal.

    I make a ton of soups and freeze them, that is what has helped me, even in the hot weather.

  • Bob Bachman
    Posted at 11:50h, 05 June

    Cathy is the BEST! Her ideas keep me on the plan and help me get over the little roadblocks and speed-bumps! Very practical stuff.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 11:56h, 05 June

    I really love Jeff Novick’s videos, they have helped me a lot.
    Thanks for the great post Cathy, I love your site and have been following it for a few months and I’ve made a lot of your recipes! They are all AMAZING!
    Hope to see you with a cookbook and maybe some Engine 2 events?!

  • Pam
    Posted at 19:15h, 05 June

    I just love Cathy’s recipes. The most delicious plant based meal in the universe is Cathy’s Thai Vegetables with Couscous. I make it once a week and take leftovers to work. Her website is wonderful. Thanks Cathy!

  • Cathy - StraightUpFood.com
    Posted at 22:58h, 05 June

    You guys are the BEST! Thank you for all the kind and supportive comments! Wheee! I am putting a book together; email me your address and I’ll add you to my mailing list: cathy@straightupfood.com. Lori, you can find more info about True North at healthpromoting.com. Hope to see you there! 😉

    • mary
      Posted at 09:35h, 15 June

      Cathy, my sister can not eat protein, only small amounts, she only has one kidney and forms cistene stones. Doctors tell her to limit protein even plant based. I am trying to get a better idea of plants she can eat. She is getting really tired of lettuce and tomatoes. I do not blog so I am having difficulty getting into the blogs to get Rips or any of the others who have been doing this long enough to help me with infofmation. Please help if you can.

  • Bedstemor
    Posted at 16:39h, 06 June

    We love a quinoa salad made with balsamic vinaigrette to taste, a small amount of Craisins and toasted pecans, chopped scallions, and quinoa of course! Fresh garlic adds to it, too. It’s so easy to add or subtract ingredients with this salad that can be the main part of your meal. Love this web site. 😀

  • Linda Welsh
    Posted at 23:42h, 06 June

    This guest post was very hard to read. The text size and style and color combined with the khaki background was not a great idea. I’m not sure what your demographic is but I’ll bet a lot of the Forks over Knives and Engine 2 folks are older people with heart problems and old eyes. Your default text size and style for this comment is also not the best for online viewing.

    • MarthaLA
      Posted at 19:10h, 09 June

      In internet explorer, this page comes in as rather large print at 100%. If you use a mouse with a scroll wheel, sometimes “scrolling down” equates to reducing the text size on screen and “scrolling up” to increasing the size. If your browser has a menu that includes View, you should be able to check what size will appear. If the website uses really small text, you can adjust it with either Ctrl + (or Ctrl -) as Anita indicates, or by scrolling up or down with the mouse wheel.

      Your mention of a khaki background indicates to me that you may be talking about a Forks over Knives page rather than this engine2diet page, which is white, yes?

  • Terri
    Posted at 09:24h, 07 June

    Super advice. Sunday is my preparation day for the week. I make a large pot of soup or stew, oatmeal and cook some brown rice. That way you’re ready for the week. I am looking forward to reading the next steps. Thanks!

  • Anita
    Posted at 19:12h, 08 June

    @ Linda Welsh – an easy solution to too small text on any website: Press “Ctrl +” to increase the text on the page as many times as you need to. I just did! Works every time! Press “Ctrl -” to decrease size.

Copyright 2017 Engine 2 Diet | Terms Of Use | Privacy Policy | Disclosures