Whole Plant Homies

Well, this post was initially going to be about eating healthy while traveling. Now none of us are traveling and for the first time in months, I have a full kitchen and all the supplies to cook food. I can stock up, which I didn’t realise I loved doing.

I’ll say that quarantine and isolation have been difficult for me, so it must be difficult for you. It’s easy to give into the bottle of wine and the potato chips and just watch TV (which I genuinely think you should do. Those are soul bandaids right there). But the Coronavirus isn’t that only thing that can hurt you right now.

Inactivity and poor diet are still big dangers to people with health risks and I imagine even increasingly so as the entire world prepares to sit for an indefinite amount of time.

(I know it probably doesn’t need to be said, but, like, stay home. I need to get back to traveling. I’m literally in purgatory right now, a weird limbo where all my dreams are suspended in time. Stay home so I can get back to my dope life please thanks). 

If you’re still allowed outside in the wild, go for a jog, go for a walk, keep your distance and go home when you’re done. The fresh air and the blood pumping in your body are good for you. If you have room to do workout videos in your home or yard, do some! Do yoga, do cardio, do whatever gets your heart rate up. The Instagram world is wild right now, and you can tune into a number of live stream workouts from many, many different celebs and influencers. So treat yourself right. It would be so embarrassing to die of something unrelated to Coronavirus right now.

And eat healthy. Why not take this opportunity to get it under control so it’s not something you continue to stress about in the new unknown future? Gone is the life when you used to say “I don’t have time for [enter literally anything].” Now you do!

Fortunately, I’m related to an ultimate vegan and healthy lifestyle badass. My little brother, Scott, is on a personal journey to get away from medications that regulate his cholesterol and find ways to heal himself with a whole food, plant based diet.

He let me pick his brain about being vegan, getting tips and learning tricks on how to ease into a healthier diet. So here’s how to keep your shit together (as in full, regular BMs) while in purgatory.

When I called, he was making himself lunch. Whole wheat bread with infamous, west coast Yumm Sauce (if you don’t know, I pity you) mixed with tahini for a spread. He put greens and sliced peppers on top for two open face sandies. I don’t know if it’s because he just looks really healthy that made the food look good, or if it really was just beautifully put together, but it made me hungry.

I asked what some easy, healthy ideas for meals were, and he lifted his plate. Toast. Whole wheat or sourdough breads are the best for you. Mash garbanzo beans on toast and slice up vegetables. It’s a cheap, easy way to get your fiber and your protein. Garbanzo beans have a lot of Vitamin K, which is good for blood health. 

Eat calorie and nutrient dense foods. Almonds (vitamins and protein), walnuts are a good source. Eggs, tempeh or tofu for protein.

Favorite healthy options that are easy on the wallet include apples, oranges and bananas. Oats are easy and quick. Nut butters or bags of nuts can be found anywhere (though careful about how much nut butter you’re eating).

Do your carb heavy meal early, then do more greens and veg for lunch, protein meal at night or something to make sure you get all the nutrients throughout the day. This means eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, fiber from whole wheat breads, beans and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, and plenty of lean protein. Also important are healthy fats (avocado, olive oil etc.) and lots and lots of water. (This is actually my note because I have thoughts too).

Actually, drink water right now.

Seriously. Stop reading this. Its the only time I’ll ever stop you from reading me. That’s how seriously I take water. Go. Grab a glass and come back. We’ll wait.

Great. 

Of course I asked about dessert because duh. Scott suggested were medjool dates, about four, sliced open and stuffed with nut butter (which I have done, and honestly don’t know how a person only eats four of them. I do realise there’s loads of sugar and fat here, but I’M HUMAN I CAN’T HELP MYSELF SOMETIMES). Another good dessert option is dark, vegan chocolate, something 80% or darker. 

If you’re on Instagram, go follow Scott’s account @wholeplanthomies. He shares his personal journey, which is interesting if you’re used to hearing proud vegans preach the benefits of their lifestyle.

He went vegan a long time ago (if I remember correctly it’s been almost ten years? Scott? Check my math?). 

“We have shit blood,” he said about our family, which is true but also a point of pride, if you were to ask me. “Our cholesterol is just naturally high, and my vegan diet, in my mind, was going to help that. It didn’t really, and I started having heart palpitations toward the end of last year. I had thoughts like, ‘Oh shit, I’m going to die.’ So I really started to be more diligent.”

He went on medication for his cholesterol and it started causing digestion problems. Actually what he said was, “Two weeks ago [from the interview] I came off my medication because I was having a hard time digesting. I was bloated and gassy. I had rotten Satan farts. Farts from down under. It was the Outback over here.”

I was gagging and laughing and also writing down everything he said because he’s stupid and funny.

“I could talk about farts for fifteen more minutes,” he said when I promised him I was going to put all that in the post.

Anyway, he made the decision to find his own way. Which is a scary thing to have to take on, but if you can’t find solutions elsewhere, sometimes you have to do your own homework.

I love Scott’s relationship with food because it’s totally personal. After years of being vegan, he admits that just because a vegan diet consists of not eating some things that contribute to harming the planet, animals and your own body, veganism isn’t necessarily 100% the answer.

“Vegan is a loose term. Oreos are vegan.”

He started researching and watching videos about whole food, plant based vegan diet. 

“It essentially is just like omitting cooking oils and sugars, like refined sugars, refined flours or enriched flours, white flours, white rice. Though I do eat them sometimes, but trying to eat more plants without being modified or processing.”

So a day in the life of eating like Scott looks a little something like this:

For breakfast he’ll have a fruit smoothie with banana, greens, berries, fermented vegan protein powder. Alternately, he eats oatmeal with nuts and berries.

Lunch is usually toast with vegetables or a big salad.

For dinner he has what he calls “Derek Bowls” named after a Vegan YouTube influencer, Derek Simnett whose channel is about gaining muscle, being healthy and eating vegan. The bowls include a base like rice, quinoa or rice noodles with greens, sweet potatoes and a protein like beans, tofu, tempeh or soy curls.

Since Scott has made the changes from medication and casually vegan, to eating a more whole food, plant based diet, he’s noticed the improvements.

“I’ve been eating healthy and weight lifting and trying to gain muscle. I’ve slimmed down signficantly [while gaining muscle weight]. My mental health is better. I’m not thinking about death all the time or feeling like my heart is going to stop.”

If you want to go vegan, Scott suggests you start small.

“Start with one meal a day or something. Something I see often is some people will try to just go straight into vegan, not that it’s difficult, but you can’t force your body to go from one diet to another diet. It takes a long time for your body to get used to [the fiber in a vegan diet].”

Mock meats can bridge the gap for some who are struggling to give up meat. 

Finally, a little disclaimer for all of you:

“I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. Anything I’m talking about is based on my experience and things that’ve worked for me. What works for me might not work for someone else. Starting small, replacing meals over time applies to everybody who’s trying to make a switch to a vegan diet or trying to make healthier choices.”

Again, go follow Scott @wholefoodhomies. He posts delicious food recipes, and his progress as well as positive posts which we could all use right now.

I hope to get an interview in soon with his dope partner and my literal closest-thing-to-a sister, Alisha who just recently graduated with a degree in massage therapy, has her yoga teaching license and has also been on a vegan and whole food journey alongside Scott all these years. (She’s hands down my favorite cook of all time cause someone she turns dates into carmel sauce and cashews into cheese and it’s crazy).

Y’all, if you’re reading this it’s because you care about me, and so that probably means you’re someone I care about. I need you in my life, so please, in all this madness, take care of yourself. I need to see you all again. Stay indoors, wash your hands, eat healthy and prepare thyself for my homecoming party. Literally everyone on the planet is invited and I’m going to conjure Bowie from the dead to be my musical guest.

I love you all, seriously. I’m so alone. Send help.

Wish my luck this week, and do some Jumping Jacs, in my honor XOXO.