How to Plan Your Meals Traveling on a Plant Based Diet | Week 4

How to Plan Your Meals Traveling on a Plant Based Diet | Week 4

I've been raving about the upsides to plant based eating; however there may be one downside – traveling while eating a plant based diet.  Now I'm up for challenges and I took this one head on.  Even I needed to learn how to plan my meals traveling on a plant based diet.

Challenge #1:  Lack of plant based options that are readily available, i.e. there is not afast food, plant based restaurant on every corner.  You have to look for healthy options.

Challenge #2:  Airplane food!  Need I say more?  It's not fresh and there isn't a vegan option.

Challenge #3:  Eating out with colleagues, family, or friends who aren't vegan.  When trying to find a restaurant that can accommodate everybody's food likes – it can be challenging, especially when you're the only vegan.

How I Planned Healthy Food Options for the Plane Ride

Knowing that the airline wouldn't have options suitable for a healthy plant based meal – I struck it out ahead of time to plan my food and the container to put it in.

I searched everywhere online for just the right organizer to store my goodies for traveling.  Bento boxes were at the top of brain as a resource for storing the foods.  I needed something that traveled well, kept my food separated, especially for items that were wet, and provided generous compartments.

On Amazon.com, I found a bento box called Modetro Ultra Slim Leak Proof Bento Lunchbox shown below.  It has a sealing lid so that each compartment wouldn't leak liquids into the other compartments or even worse into my travel bag. It also comes with a very slim, form fitting bag that you slide the bento box into, zip it up, and has handles.  It easily slid into my travel bag with my laptop.

Airline travel lunch

Next on the list was packing my lunch.  I opted for “finger foods” only because I didn't really have anything prepared, like a salad, or sandwich items, so this worked out well.  Carrots, blueberries, dried figs, homemade red pepper hummus, artichokes, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, almonds, and lastly organic tortilla chips for scooping up the hummus.

Even the flight attendants were asking me where I bought the bento box.  It worked out really well and traveled well too.  No spills!

Airline travel lunch

While leaving Seattle and flying high above the clouds, we got the most beautiful glimpse of Mount Rainier.  Watch the video for more footage and beautiful pictures of this awesome sight.

Mount Rainier Screenshot

App for Finding Vegan Restaurants

Another way I planned was to download an app called HappyCow – which I sometimes accidentally call “Holy Cow”.  I can't tell you how many times I called it Holy Cow when I filmed this weeks video and then had to cut it all out!

Anyways…. this little gem will use your GPS to find restaurants around either fully vegan, fully vegetarian, or with vegan/vegetarian options.  One of the things I love about this app is the planning feature of creating a trip ahead of time, researching restaurants in the app and adding it to your trip.

The beauty of adding the restaurants to your trip is knowing ahead of time what's available so you can make quick recommendations when traveling with others.

Happy Cow App Screenshot
We ended up finding a really great restaurant called Chelsea's Kitchen with a fabulous vegetarian taco plate that I veganized aka hold the dairy, hold the cheese please.

Chelseas Kitchen

Ethan's Vegetarian Tacos came with roasted brussel sprouts – yum – cauliflower, greens, grilled vegetables, and kale coleslaw (hold the cheese).  Oh, and these little homemade corn tortillas to die for!  It was so good, I ate their twice while in Scottsdale, AZ.

Besides being dehydrated – due to not wanting to drink a ton of water then constantly have to excuse myself to the ladies room during my meetings – I did pretty well with eating healthy.

While it can be challenging to travel on a plant based diet or vegan diet, it's completely possible with PLANNING! I keep saying it so I hope you're hearing it – planning is key to success especially in the early days of learning how to eat more plant based foods.  Once you figure out the places you can go to on the run, then you don't have to plan as much – for those of you who are more inclined to be spontaneous.

And by the way, grocery stores are the ultimate fast food.  You can head straight to the produce department, grab some fruit like blueberries, strawberries, a banana (you don't have to buy the whole bunch), bag of ready to eat carrots, the bulk bins of nuts and seeds, a ripe avocado, a bag of fresh or dried figs, a container of grape or cherry tomatoes, and the list can go on.

I think you get my point.  You have choices.

Week 4 Weight Loss

It's been 4 weeks now since I fully went whole food plant based and I feel incredible!

Even with challenges thrown in my way, I still lost weight and I found away to mitigate the challenges.  Since my focus is on getting healthy, I didn't let these challenges overcome my mind and give in to eating foods that are unhealthy.  Instead, because I feel so incredible and know this is a lifestyle, not a diet, I'm eating foods that feel nourishing (including healthy carbs and fats), and I don't feel deprived.

That is key!

This week, I lost 1 lb for a total weight loss of 12 lbs.

Week 4 Weight Loss

What are some of your challenges with eating healthy or sticking to other diets?

Lost Weight Eating Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – Week 3

Lost Weight Eating Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – Week 3

Whoever said carbs are “bad” for you apparently has never lost weight eatting mashed potatoes and gravy.  They probably are not on a whole food plant based diet either where eating as much as you want of fruits and vegetables – until full – is normal.  I'm here to tell you that you can lose weight eating healthy carbs.

Superfood Oatmeal Breakfast

In order to get the day started off just right – I love me a hot bowl of oatmeal.  Not only is it filling, but it's tasty, warm, and nutritious.  I remember growing up in Texas where mom always cooked oatmeal for breakfast with raisins scattered throughout.  She had a method to adding the raisins.

You can't just add the raisins on top of the cooked oatmeal.  Oh no.  There's a secret to the raisins.

First you have to add the water to the pot for you oatmeal and then toss the raisins in and let the water come to a boil, then add your oats and cook as per instructions.  Then your raisins will be warm and soft.  Such yummy goodness.

Plant based oatmeal

Once your oatmeal is ready, I add a little bit of honey for sweetness and stir well to spread the amber colored honey throughout the oatmeal.

Next, I add my superfoods of about a tablespoon of chia seeds, a tablespoon of hemp seeds and then top with some fresh organic blueberries.  Did you know chia seeds come from the mint family?  These tiny black seeds having some amazing benefits:

  • Lowers triglycerides and supports healthy cholesterol levels
  • Lowers blood pressure and reduces heart disease
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • High in plant based omega 3s
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Helps to regulate glucose levels
  • Great source of fiber

Buying Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Many years ago when I was learning more and more about nutrition, my cousin would implore me to buy organic.  I realized the health benefits, but my pocket book was saying “no”.

Instead of buying everything organic, I started off slow and bought a few things organic at first, like bananas and corn.  It got to the point where I could taste the difference between organic and conventional foods (sprayed with toxic pesticides) and I began buying more and more organic.

I just tasted better.  More fresh.  Sweeter.  Juicier.

Buy organic

Now I buy almost everything I can organic and have adjusted my budget over time.  My mindset adjusted as well.  Where I thought I couldn't afford it – I could.  I changed my priorities.

So I say to you, if you aren't already buying organic – start!  Just buy a little at a time.  It's so much better for you.  If you're reading this, then you're interested in getting healthy.  Getting healthy also means getting rid of toxic chemicals sprayed on your food.

Buy local.  Find local farmers.  Join a CSA.  There's all kinds of creative ways to buy organic, whole, nutritious, toxic-free food.

Week 3 Weight Loss

It's been 3 weeks now since I fully went whole food plant based.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  I don't even miss meat.

I'm eating more healthy carbs and foods that are filling.  The key is it's whole food and it's plant based.  My stomach feels full.  My mind is alert and it doesn't have that “diet” brain where it's all fuzzy due to lack of carbs.

I'm cooking more but also keeping it simple so that meals are cooked in the Instant Pot so it takes less time.

This week, I lost another 3 lbs for a total weight loss of 11 lbs.

Can you believe I ate mashed potatoes and gravy this week?  Rice?  Bean chili poured over rice?  These are all healthy carbs and contributes to my fullness and not feeling deprived.

Week 3 weight loss

Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy

Now on to the recipe for the mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy that I made in the Instant Pot.  Quick.  Easy.  Delicious!
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
 
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Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy that's completed whole food and plant based.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Mashed Potatoes:
  • 4 medium russet or yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk (I used soy)
  • Salt
  • For the Mushroom Gravy:
  • 16 oz portabella mushrooms
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. For the Mashed Potatoes:
  2. Chop the potatoes into about 8 chunks per potato.
  3. Place into the Instant Pot with the vegetable broth and garlic.
  4. Close the lid per instructions and turn the steam valve to sealed.
  5. Select "Manual" mode/button and change the time to 4 minutes.
  6. Once the Instant Pot beeps that the 4 minute cooking cycle is complete, take a towel over your hand and move the pressure valve to "venting" and allow the pressure valve to come down until now steam is coming from valve.
  7. Carefully open the lid.
  8. Mash the potatoes with a masher or a hand blender and add soy milk to your liking as you mash.
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. Transfer mashed potatoes to a separate bowl and clean out the Instant Pot to use for the mushroom gravy.
  11. For the Mushroom Gravy:
  12. Place all ingredients in your Instant Pot.
  13. Close the lid per instructions and turn the steam valve to sealed.
  14. Select "Manual" mode/button and change the time to 4 minutes.
  15. Once the Instant Pot beeps that the 4 minute cooking cycle is complete, take a towel over your hand and move the pressure valve to "venting" and allow the pressure valve to come down until now steam is coming from valve.
  16. Carefully open the lid.
  17. You can thicken the sauce by turning the Instant Pot to saute mode and letting it come to a boil with the lid off.
  18. Combine ¼ of water or juice from gravy with 2-3 T of corn starch or flour, and when the gravy is boiling, add the mixture.
  19. Stir well and let cook for 1 minute.
  20. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Are you eating a whole food plant based diet?  If so, tell me how you're doing below in the comments.

Plant Based Mukbang Breakfast Week 2

Plant Based Mukbang Breakfast Week 2

Have you ever eaten a plant based Mukbang breakfast?  While my mukbang was rather small – not the traditional Korean definition of eating large quantities of food in front of viewers – I did, however, interact with the camera for my YouTube video on making my tomato hummus toast and all things happening in week 2 of my whole foods plant based way of eating.

Plant Based Mukbang Breakfast

Years ago I would eat this very simple breakfast of toast with cream cheese slatherd on top and sliced tomato laid over the cream cheese.  My mouth just waters thinking about it.  Since I'm eating plant based now, I thought, “Why not use hummus instead of cream cheese?” – and so tomato hummus toast was born.

Somehow my explaining how to make tomato hummus toast morphed into just a simple discussion, not only on the plant based breakfast itself, but also a recap of the week – as I eat my breakfast.  I've seen mukbangs before and am somehow intrigued by the notion of watching people eat – but only when the topic is something I enjoy.

If you want to see more plant based mukbangs – let me know in the comments below or in the video comments.  I kind of had fun with this and can show you more of what I eat throughout the week.

I hope you enjoy my vegan, plant based mukbang breakfast and how I've still lost weight any carbs this week.

 

Tomato Hummus Toast
 
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This is a very simple breakfast to make when you're in a hurry. You can either make your own hummus or buy an whole food organic brand.
Author:
Recipe type: Plant Based, Vegan
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of whole food organic bread, toasted
  • 4 slices of organic whole tomato
  • 4 tablespoons Hummus (whole food organic or homemade of your choice)
Instructions
  1. Toast your bread until golden brown.
  2. Cut the tomato into thin, round slices.
  3. Spoon the hummus onto each slice of toast. You can use more or less depending on your liking.
  4. Place 2 tomato slices on each piece of toast.

 

Crazy Changes to My Body in Two Weeks

I'm really enjoying this incredible way of eating.  For years now I've drifted towards eating more and more plants rather than meat.  When I had a food sensitivity test many years ago, it noted that I am highly sensitive to eggs and dairy.  Consequently, it was then that I began changing my diet and testing how my body reacts to foods.

Literally, after only two weeks of eating whole food plant based, my body is experiencing some incredible changes.

My joints feel loose and not stiff.

I have so much more energy and I'm not as tired anymore.

My mind is more alert and I appear to be thinking more clearly.

Increased Energy and Alert

I'm just so surprised at how quickly I'm feeling better which is a great testament to how you can heal your body with proper food and nutrition. I'm just so happy that after all the diets and mental anguish related to serial dieting – that I'm finally free of the self sabatoging, judgement, and shame.

For me, this is a lifestyle – it's not a diet.  I no longer believe in diets and the confusing information out there that lead us all to confusion on how we should or shouldn't eat.

Breathing Increases Metabolism

One of the beautiful messages I learned while getting my certification as an eating psychology coach – was that simply taking the time to breathe more increases the oxygen in our blood, increases metabolism, and reduces stress.

Simply – it causes you to slow down and really think about what your eating.  When we eat, even with low level constant stress, our bodies can still gain weight even if you're eating healthy food.  Have you ever gone on vacation and ate whatever you wanted only to come home thinking you must have gain at least 5 pounds, yet you lost weight?

Breathe to reduce stress

It's called the relaxation response.  Your body relaxes on vacation.  You're enjoying life and taking the time to slow down, breathe more, and destress.

So next time you eat, take some deep breaths before you begin and maybe a few during.

What I Eat When I'm Hungry Between Meals

In order to make sure that I'm not left completely hungry between meals – or if work gets so busy that I can't run downstairs to grab something – I make a fruit and vegetable bowl in the morning to sit on my desk all day.

It usually consists of blueberries, a banana or apple, grap tomatoes, maybe an orange, some sliced cucumber and hummus, dried figs, and raw almonds.

Through out the day I can snack on this gorgeous bowl of color and still feel full.  Now compare that color to baked piece of chicken and tell me this isn't prettier.  Yum!

Result of Eating Whole Food Plant Based After Two Weeks

Even though I'm insanely busy with work, staying dialed into a plan and working that plan is creating a successful result again this week.  I'm experiencing more fullness which is probably attributable to adding more carbs – like potatoes and rice.  Imagine that – potatoes and rice and still losing weight.  That will be another blog post sometime.

This week I've lost 3 more lbs for a total of 8 lbs.  I know losing this amount of weight this quickly won't be the norm.  I presume it will begin to level off at some point to a more slower, consistent loss each week.

Week 2 Plant Based Weight Loss

Let me know in the comments how you liked my vegan, plant based mukbang and anything you all might have questions on so I can continue to add more to the videos each week.

My Meals this Week:

I've been making many of my meals, like rice, potatoes, bean chili, mushroom gravy, etc in my Instant Pot which I highly suggest.  It creates delish meals in fraction of the time and under pressure giving it more flavor.  This will replace your rice cooker, your pressure cooker, and your crock pot.

  • Instant Pot Vegan Mashed Potatoes:  MakeRealFood.com
  • Instant Pot Vegan Mushroom Gravy:  KlunkersKitchen.com
  • Spicy Peanut Tofu Bowl with Rice:  VanillaandBean.com
  • Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothies using my VitaMix Blender
  • Tomato Hummus Toast (recipe above)
  • Bean Chili and Rice using the Instant Pot.  I literally just threw in beans, canned tomatoes, onion, and spices for the chili and then served it over rice that I also cooked in the Instant Pot.
  • Fruit/Veggie Bowl with tomatoes, blueberries, banana/apple, dried figs, carrots, almonds.
  • Raw fruit and veggies

Equipment Used to Film this Video: