The Lovejoy Kitchen Cookbook
Whole Food, Plant Based in a Nutshell
Whole food, plant based eating includes consuming unrefined plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, and seeds. It does not include meat, dairy products, or eggs, and eliminates or at least minimizes refined sugars, oils, and flours, added salt, and processed foods. A vegan diet is not necessarily whole food, plant based because a vegan diet can include any foods as long as they have no meat, dairy, or other animal products in them.
Why Whole Food, Plant Based?
If adhered to properly, the WFPB food plan can lower blood pressure and blood sugar, promote weight loss, and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer. It can also reduce inflammation and improve autoimmune conditions. See the Resources section at the end of this book for more information on the research on the health benefits of WFPB eating.
Protecting the Environment
Not eating meat or dairy products decreases the need for commercial animal agriculture, which is a contributor to global warming as well as the destruction of waterways, rainforests and other wild lands.
Not eating meat or dairy products decreases the demand for animals that have been raised in commercial feeding operations, which many people feel are inhumane.
I have studied in depth the research of Doctors T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, John McDougall, Michael Gregor, Dean Ornish, Joel Fuhrman, and others who have all devoted much of their professional medical careers to studying and documenting the effects of the WFPB diet on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity among other medical conditions. See the Resources section at the back of this cookbook for videos and books that explain their research in detail as well as other resources for individuals choosing the WFPB food plan and lifestyle. Each of these doctors has a different area of specialty, which gives them their own unique perspective, and they have drawn their own conclusions, which at times conflict with those of the others. Some of the doctors say no salt, and some say moderate amounts are okay; the same goes for nuts and avocados and even maple syrup and molasses. I have tried to strike a balance between the various opinions in developing the recipes for this cookbook. Most of these doctors have their own cookbooks or online recipes, which will be helpful if and when you are ready to transition to an even stricter WFPB food plan.
How to Use This Book
This book is intended to help individuals who have decided to transition to a WFPB food plan. Eating 100% WFPB without allowing time to adjust can be so limiting that some people find they are unable to stick with the plan in the long term. Some doctors agree that eating WFPB 95% of the time is enough to provide major health benefits and is well worth doing. This means, for example, on occasion having a small amount of olive or avocado oil or eating something with a little refined flour or sugar. Allowing small amounts of these ingredients in your diet, at least temporarily, broadens the number of foods and meals you can eat and makes the transition easier.
Most of the recipes in this book are 100% whole food, plant based. However, some list ingredients that are okay in very small amounts, but not optimal, such as salt, avocado oil, and maple syrup. These are highlighted in italics in the recipes and often have a strict WFPB option noted. The goal is to eventually eliminate these foods entirely if you want to be on a strict WFPB food plan. The good news is that once you give up meat, dairy, and processed foods, your palate will change, and foods that you may not have liked at first will taste very good to you—even without added salt and sugar.
To paraphrase Dr. Joel Fuhrman from his book, Eat to Live, the goal is to eat the most nutrient dense foods as often as possible. For example, dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and legumes are more nutrient dense than pasta, breads, or corn tortillas. When eating foods from this cookbook, it’s important to include these nutrient-dense foods when eating starchy dishes like macaroni and cheese or potato pancakes. Remember, when in doubt, always include beans and greens.
The most enjoyable way to eat WFPB is to mix and match flavors. For example, tamale pie or chili can be eaten topped with taco slaw, or salsa, guacamole, and black olives. Eat baked potatoes with chili, sour cream, and sliced green onions. Add the special sauce, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and onions to the veggie burgers, and throw green onion and jalapeño corn biscuits in the soups. Experiment with the sauces and suggested garnishes to make interesting flavor combinations. It’s fun and delicious!
A great way to start your transition is to cook double batches of main courses or soups on the weekend and freeze the extra. After two or three weeks, you will have a good stash of frozen food for lunches and dinners. I cook big pots of oatmeal and freeze most of it, except for one container. Each morning, I heat some up in a small pot and add fruits, nuts, and seeds. See the Sample Meal Plan at the back of this book for more ideas.
An added benefit of eating whole food, plant based is that you will discover you can eat a lot more than you imagined. These foods are usually lower in calories and much higher in nutrition than those of the standard American diet. A friend of mine started the food plan and was really sad that the scones from his favorite coffee shop were not on the food plan. So, he ate two scones with plant-based cream from this cookbook each day, in addition to other foods from this book. He lost 50 pounds in six months. He doesn’t need to eat two scones a day anymore and is still on the food plan. I’m not advocating eating mostly desserts from this book, but if these treats help you with the transition and bring you joy, then by all means eat them. As your taste buds and body chemistry change, you will find yourself willingly letting go of foods you never thought you could live without. Relax, enjoy whatever you want to eat from this book and let the transition happen naturally.
Feel free to customize the recipes to your taste. As long as the ingredients you are using are WFPB, you should be making these foods to provide maximum enjoyment for yourself. For example, if you like the apple sauce and a sprinkle of granola on your oatmeal in the morning, then get a sticky note and add it to the recipe. Please note that ingredients in my recipes that also have a recipe in this cookbook are in title caps, followed by the page number of the recipe. You can also watch me make the recipes on YouTube at The Lovejoy Kitchen. And check out thelovejoykitchen.com for new recipes, cooking videos, resources, and a WFPB blog.
The bottom line is that, even if you only manage to eat 95% WFPB, you will notice significant benefits to your health. The key to transitioning is to take it in gradual, manageable chunks. For example, start by just changing to WFPB breakfasts and then switch over your snacks, then lunches, and finally include dinners. It is best to eat some salad and dark leafy greens every day regardless of where you are at in the transition. If you are able to stick to just eating the foods in this book, you will be making the transition. If the recipes in this book are as far as you can go, then enjoy…it will be good enough!
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