Tag Archives: #plantbasedliving

5 Benefits Of A Wholefoods, Plant-Based​ Lifestyle

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“Eat your veggies” my parents used to say, “it’ll help you grow up big and strong”. I choked down those veggies because my mom always overcooked them until they were MUSHY and she never salted or buttered anything! They were full of vitamins and minerals, I was told and while my infantile mind didn’t know how or why they were important, Mom and Dad told me that they were and this message was enforced after many nights staying at the table for hours because I refused to eat them and wasn’t allowed to leave until I complied. As an adult, I learned that if I don’t overcook my veggies and I actually season them – they really are delicious! I realize that my household was different than the majority of homes where most were told, “Eat your meat.” Regardless of what our parents told us, most of us were brought up to believe in a balanced diet. And better advice, our parents could not have imparted. A healthy mix of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, along with a sprinkling of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients allow us to be the best that we can be…


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And then came the fad diets

For generations, a balanced diet was enough for us. But then came the fads. The latter half of the twentieth century and the twenty-first century gave rise to a whole host of fad diets. The Atkins Diet, the Dukan Diet, the Pritikin Diet, the zone diet and various soup diets, juice cleanses and formalized methods of formalized starvation found fame when they gained celebrity advocates and were used by Hollywood stars who needed to lose weight quickly to slim down for a role. These fad diets aimed to convince us that we’d been getting eating wrong our whole lives. They tried to make us believe that we’d dedicated our lives to an inefficient form of eating and that they alone held the keys to a healthier, happier, sexier version of us. They often demonized entire food groups (usually either fats or carbs), and bade us to eliminate them altogether from our diets. They promised quick and easy results and often they delivered. Cutting your caloric intake significantly and dropping an entire food group will often result in initial weight loss. But this inevitably leads to cravings and lapses and whatever gains are made are often lost just as quickly.

That may be because these fad diets fundamentally damaged the way we see food in a number of ways. They’ve made us demonize fats or carbs and value a slim body over a healthy body. Moreover, they’ve made us jaded and cynical. Thus, as more and more people turn to a plant-based diet (with this year’s veganuary seeing record numbers of people eschewing meat and animal products) it’s easy for us to dismiss it as just another fad. But a plant-based diet that eschews processed foods rich in animal products for whole foods, is much more than a fad diet. Here we’ll look at why a vegan or plant-based lifestyle differs from the fad diets of yesteryear before going into some of the health benefits…

A plant-based diet is still a balanced diet

First, I do want to say that the definition of plant-based has changed over time. It used to mean entirely vegan, but then moved to also incorporate vegetarian diets, and now includes few or no animal products. Regardless, the MAJORITY of your diet consists of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits. A plant-based diet can still be perfectly balanced while fad diets advocate the omission of entire groups of macronutrients. There’s very little in an omnivorous diet that can’t be found in the plant world. “But what about protein?” you may be asking. Here’s the thing. All proteins come from plants. Only plants can take nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into the amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. When we eat a T-bone steak or a chicken breast, we’re simply recycling the plant-based proteins stored in their muscle tissue. A plant-based diet has all the complex carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats and protein we need to live long and healthy lives. The only possible exception is vitamin B12. This is important in maintaining metabolic function and is found abundantly in eggs, meat, fish and dairy products but it’s harder to come by in the plant world. Mushrooms have some, but not enough to sustain us which is why a B12 supplement is advisable (I personally take SuperB from Young Living – you can buy it here and B12 spray from Dr. Mercola). But then most omnivores probably aren’t getting enough vitamin B12 either. Let’s look at some more benefits of embracing a whole food, plant-based diet…

Your risk of cancer is drastically reduced

History will remember our time as an era in which most of the population courted the risk of this dreadful disease. Modern cancer research has come an incredibly long way, with breakthroughs in gene editing meaning that a cure for this awful sickness could come within our lifetime… But until then, prevention remains the best cure. Those on a plant-based diet reduce their cancer risk in a number of ways. Plant-based diets are high in fiber and this has been directly linked to reduced risk of colon cancer. Unlike meat, eggs or dairy products, plants are rich in essential vitamins and minerals and contain phytonutrients which are essential for a healthy immune system and keeping serious illness at bay. It also means that they eschew processed red meats like bacon, salami, pastrami and pepperoni which have been labeled by the World Health organization as Type 1 carcinogens.


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You spend less money on food

It’s a common fallacy that eating right is more expensive than subsisting on processed convenience foods than ready meals. In fact, in many cases the opposite is true. Fresh veggies, fruits, grains, and pulses tend to be far cheaper than meat, eggs, fish and dairy products and in most cases are less expensive than high calorie, low nutrient processed foods as well. This Time magazine article shows that vegetarians save around $750 a year more on food than meat eaters.

You vote for your wallet against animal suffering…

The primary motivator for many to cut animal products out of their diet (as well as their clothes, shoes and beauty products) is because they’re voting against normalized animal cruelty in the only way that matters in a capitalist society… With their wallets.

… And for sustainability

As our population grows, our animal agriculture industry is going to more and more environmentally damaging lengths to feed it. Raising animals for their meat, milk, and eggs utilizes far more land, water, and natural resources than growing plants. Animal agriculture is the world’s leading cause of species extinction, habitat loss, water pollution and ocean dead zones. In fact, 70% of soy grown on the planet is grown to feed livestock rather than humans. That should tell you everything you need to know about world hunger right there.

What can you do? This spring, I persuaded my husband to stop eating his daily turkey sandwich for lunch to a big delicious salad (it took his stomach a couple of weeks to adjust so please keep this in mind as you increase your veggies and decrease your meat). If I’m not home to make him a salad, he will prepare a bag salad kit, and I’m really proud of him! This switch must be attainable and easy friends! Try going plant-based, or simply reducing the plants : everything else ratio in your diet. You may be surprised at how much you benefit. If you would like a daily smoothie, salad or other plant-based recipe inspiration, follow me on Facebook or Instagram!


Red, White, & Blue Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)

This cake is vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar free, beautiful, and is a crowd pleaser at a 4th of July party with its patriotic theme. No one else at the party was vegan or gluten-free, and everyone enjoyed it. This is not a light and fluffly cake, but a dense fruit one. The fruit gives it sweetness. Keep it refrigerated after icing in order to keep the texture and whipped-topping firm.

I was a little disappointed with the lack of color that came from the cake when I cooked it. I was hoping for red and blue cakes! I used Watkins Food Coloing (100% natural vegetable juices and spices). I guess you have to use good old-fashion food-dyes to get the color you want, not the healthier vegetable based ones and fruit.

So here’s my take on it – the cake is a little labor intensive with washing the containers to make the red and blue cake, but healthy and yummy. That said, I have recreated it easily with my Perfect Paleo Brownies in a snap; equally beautiful and so much less time-consuming. The brownies make it a little sweeter, and personally I’m a huge chocolate lover. However, both are great – it’s just a matter of how much time you have!










4th of July Pinterest

Red, White, & Blue Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
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A patriotic inspired cake with coconut whipped topping, blueberries, and strawberries. It is gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan.

Credit: myrealdish.com


Whipped Topping


  • 2 cups coconut sugar
  • 2 sticks of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs (3 teaspoons Ener-G + 4 tablespoons warm water)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 mini-bottle) of gluten-free blue food coloring (vegetable based)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 mini-bottle) of gluten-free red food coloring (vegetable based)
  • 2 1/2 cups Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend 
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used Redmond Real Salt)
  • 1 cup almond milk (I used Unsweetened Original Almond Breeze)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cup blueberries
  • 3/4 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup frozen cherries


  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint strawberries


  1. Heat water in a tea kettle for egg replacer
  2. Purée with a Vitamix or high-powered blender blueberries (I used fresh), and set aside in a bowl. Rinse out the Vitamix or blender.
  3. Purée frozen cherries and set aside.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Prepare egg replacer (combine 3 teaspoons Ener-G and 4 tablespoons warm water)
  6. Cream coconut sugar and vegan butter in a mixer. Slowly add the egg replacer continuously until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  7. Combine Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend and Redmond Real Salt together in a separate bowl.
  8. Add dry mixture to the coconut sugar and vegan butter mixture alternating with the Unsweetened Original Almond Breeze.
  9. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  10. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Line bottom of cake pans with fitted parchment paper rounds and grease top of parchment paper.
  11. Pour half of the batter to a separate bowl and set aside.
  12. In a smaller bowl mix 3/4 tablespoon cocoa powder and blue food coloring together (mine didn’t mix throughly) add to the mixer bowl of cake batter. Add puréed blueberries and mix with mixer.
  13. Combine 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 tablespoon vinegar in a smaller bowl, then add to the blue cake mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix one last time.
  14. Add blue cake mixture to one 8-inch cake pan.
  15. Begin the second half of the cake with cherries and red food coloring. Add the container of red food coloring to the mixer bowl of cake batter along with puréed cherries and mix with mixer.
  16. Combine 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 tablespoon vinegar in a smaller bowl, then add to the blue cake mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix one last time.
  17. Pour the red cake batter into the 2nd 8-inch cake pan.
  18. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (My red cherry cake took 30 minutes and the blueberry one took 40 minutes. Check often that the toothpick comes clean in the middle).
  19. Set cakes on the wire rack to cool completely ~45 minutes.
  20. Wash and dry strawberries and blueberries (I use Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak because it cleans well, it’s natural and chemical-free; buy it here).
  21. Slice strawberries. It’s best to select berries of similar sizes to make them fit in the design.
  22. After cake cools, prepare coconut cream topping. Keep coconut milk cans in the fridge until you are ready to make the topping. Prepare it immediately before “icing” the cake.
  23. Scoop out the thick cream from the coconut cream or milk. Leaving the remaining water below.
  24. Add the guar gum, vanilla, and Powdered Xylitol. Mix on high-speed. Slowly add coconut water from the can, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the cream as it whips until it is light and fluffy.
  25. Carefully remove one cake from the cake pan, and place it on a cake stand or large serving platter.
  26. Spread coconut cream with a rubber scraper on the top of the cake.
  27. Remove the other cake from the cake pan, placing it on top of the coconut whipped cream.
  28. Spread the coconut whipped topping on the top and sides of the cake until it is fully covered and appears to be “iced”.
  29. Decorate the top of your cake with blueberries and strawberries. I easily created the blueberry design by connecting these two lines to a point with blueberries and symmetrically filling them in.
  30. Slice and serve.

I served mine by the pool!


Happy 4th of July!


Asparagus and Artichoke Tofu Scramble (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Every time that I ate eggs, my gut would be distended. I heard of tofu scrambles, when I discovered my high sensitivity to eggs, but they never really appealed to me. I loved omelets, and nothing can replace the flavor of an egg. However, since starting a plant-based vegan diet a month ago, I have been making a different tofu scramble every weekend. It switches up my morning smoothie routine; you can see my smoothies if you follow me on instagram @myrealdish. So, I’ll be doing a series on tofu scrambles, and this is the 1st dish in the series. This Asparagus and Artichoke Scramble is a favorite for not only breakfast, but also dinner! I love easy ways to add veggies into my morning meals, and this gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan dish is easy and packed with flavor! It’s a win for everyone!




  • Servings: 2-3
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This vegan and gluten-free tofu scramble has asparagus, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and shallots.

Credit: Country Living

Tips: (1) Snap the ends of the asparagus with two hands, and where the natural break occurs is how you know which part of the stalk needs to be discarded. (2) Drain the tofu before using it. (3) Extra firm tofu works best if you want chunks like a stir-fry, but the softer tofu, creates more of a soft scrambled egg consistency.However, the softer tofu has a tendency to stick to the pan, requires more oil, and is more wet.

Asparagus Tofu Scramble


  • 1 can (8.5 oz) of whole artichoke hearts
  • 12 oz asparagus
  • 2 large tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 14 oz organic tofu
  • 1 – 2 large cups of spinach
  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare your vegetables: break the asparagus in ~3 or 4 parts discarding the ends, chop the shallot,  and slice the whole artichokes in half.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat, with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Sauté the shallots and asparagus first for ~4 minutes.
  4. Drain the tofu, and slice it into chunks
  5. Add the tofu, spinach, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  6. Continue to sauté for ~4 more minutes or until you see the asparagus is crispy-tender, but not mushy. Add a little extra olive oil as needed to the pan.
  7. Serve and enjoy!


What are your favorite vegetables to mix with tofu?




Summer Squash and Edamame Salad

Last week when I was at Sam’s club, this magazine From Garden to Plate caught my eye, probably because of the color on the cover – turquoise is my favorite color!
620_1_.jpegThis magazine is “both a resource for creating an organic, edible garden as well as a cookbook for making the most of the harvest.” I don’t have a garden. While I love the idea of fresh organic produce, since I killed some cactus recently – it’s probably a horrible idea. I’m aware of my skills and time constraints. However, these recipes had tons veggies and perfect for summer! I felt like I didn’t have to tweak them too much to make them vegan or gluten-free! I’ve made three recipes so far and they are delicious and easy!

For this Summer Squash and Edamame Salad, you just chop….




and voilà!


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  • Servings: 8
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This Summer Squash and Edamame Salad is vegan, gluten-free and a perfect bbq or picnic dish.

Credit: Country Living

This recipe called for butter, but I changed it to make it vegan by preparing it with olive oil. It also called for thinly slice red onion, and I chopped it.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped yellow summer squash
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 2/3 cup red onion (chopped or thinly sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or champagne vinegar (I used white vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Heat skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium heat
  2. Add yellow squash, zucchini, edamame, red onion and garlic.
  3. Sauté for 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender, but still crisp.
  4. Stir in vinegar, basil, salt, and black pepper.
  5. Serve at room temperature, or cover and chill up to 24 hours before serving.