Health: How to begin a Healthy Plant Based Diet

October – March 5 Month Results
My Story:
Left Ventricle Hypertropy was the diagnosis of the problem that meant my heart was damaged. It all started with a series of hypertensive crisis events, increasing in intensity. The last leaving me with the feeling I was having a heart attack. Shooting sharp chest pain started the 911 incident that lead me to the hospital in the back of an ambulance, with a nitro sizzling warm and soothing under my tongue. By the time we reached the hospital, I was feeling better. That started my Plant Based Diet journey.
“From this day forward, your diet is to eat nothing with ears, eyes, nose, tail or a mommy!” -Sutter Hospital Doctor
Well that felt depressing and a little scary. I spent the night looking for loopholes I could live by… Cheese? Eggs? Butter? I was scared enough about the results I asked rather than assuming the liberties I hoped he would confirm. I can be vegetarian if the food is interesting.
  • Cheese? No , its 3 things you dont need salt, fat and cows or goats milk, all from a mommy.
  • Eggs? No that’s just basically liquified not yet a chicken.
  • Butter? Thats fat and cows milk, same as cheese
The ambulance ride had me scared straight. I would immediately stop looking for loopholes and instead look for the way to make it work. You know, all things considered, it was not so difficult. I share my starter here. The results of a plant based diet reversed years of chronic hypertension. I went from a size 28 to a size 18 on the plant based diet from October to March. I was on business travel and modified my plant based diet somewhat for the environment as things got tricky during Covid, but in San Bernardino there was a fabulous discovery of Plant Power Fast Food!! Oh my goodness, plant based food so good you’d choose it over meat based alternatives! Holy Guacamole Burger, Kale Slaw and a Gingerade Kombucha Float, was pure bliss. Will share more on my post COVID adaptations. Coronavirus would happen in June, causing a small stroke, diabetes, and a host of unpleasant covid impacts. This will be the second part of my journey, adapting my plant based diet to a Diabetic Plant Based Diet will mean cutting out sugars and more of the processed food I had come to rely upon in a rush.
Benefits from a Plant Based Diet
  • Improve overall quality of life
  • Lower risk of cancer and progressive spread of certain types of cancer
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduces Diabetes/high blood sugar risks
  • Reverse or prevent the risks of heart disease
  • Improves hypertensive blood pressure
  • Prevent or reverse the impacts of obesity
  • Improved symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  Your goal is 90% of your food coming from whole foods,plant based sources that are low fat, low salt, no added sugar. Whole foods are close to the original state. Here is a helpful video for getting started.
Substitutions to get a good start:
I needed to prepare for what I will do while I learned how to adapt to Whole Food Plant Based Diet, so I started with the big craving things, and thought about what I would do instead. Here was my start:

I want

  • Hamburger
  • Burrito
  • Meat Based Spaghetti
  • Milk
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Cocoa
  • Mocha
  • Tea or Coffee Latte
  • Buttered Toast

I will

Dairy Swaps
I am not going to lie, I am a dairy freak! So the idea of not enjoying a creamy cup of milk with cookies, pancakes, chocolates or waffles kind of hurt my soul. The idea of not enjoying a buttery grilled cheese sandwich with creamed tomato bisque on a cloudy rainy day felt like deprivation. However I did like the idea of improved health and no more ambulance rid es by 911. So here is what I found. MOST of what I craved had an acceptable substitute. Milks just take some getting used to. Butter was pretty easy. Cheese, well that was probably least satisfying, but I experimented and found what would work.  
For cooking I prefer a simple unsweetened Nut or Flaxseed Milk as a replacement for regular Milk in things like cream based soups and dishes that call for Milk. For Breakfast Cereal like oatmeal or raisin bran I like a Coconut or Almond Coconut Vanilla milk. For something creamier like cocoa, or mocha, or coffee, that you can froth or add straight into the mix, I like the Barista style nut and coconut milks.
Dawn’s Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe:
Ingredients: Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk until frothy. Optionally top with Coconut Whipped Topping from a can or KC Commerce Nature’s Charm Coconut Whipping Cream, Enjoy Immediately… add a nice and you might have to make another batch.
For plain table butter, most of the plant based alternatives are missing nothing for cooking, or in mashed potatoes, or on toast. I have not found an equivalent to the delicious creamy goodness of Irish Butter or Indian Ghee in the Plant Based World.
How happy I would be to enjoy a truly vegan brie! Elegant creamy buttery cheese alternatives do no yet exist in the Vegan world. However if you are looking for something you melt for a grilled cheese, or shred over tacos, burritos or quesidillas, there are great substitutes. For recipes that call for Shredded cheese, there are preshredded or pregrated processed cheese alternative like Go Veggie Dairy-Free Grated Topping, Parmesan and but I feel better the texture is too processed and uniform. I much prefer buying the blocks Daiya Dairy Free Medium Cheddar Style Block, or Nuttin Ordinary Plant-Based Cashew Cheese, Dairy-Free Cheese, Gluten-Free, Vegan Cheese , or Violife, Wedge Just Like Parmesan and shredding it myself.
Image by DW Davis from Pixabay
For GRILLED VEGAN CHEESE: The Cheese slices are fine in grilled cheese, I recommend using Colavita Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of vegan butter as it adds a delicious extra kick with Dave’s Killer Bread Organic 21 Whole Grains and Seeds, and Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese Slices or Daiya Provolone Style Cheese Slices, Pair it with this recipe for Vegan Tomato Soup and you have a winner
Quick snacks on the go.
Here are some of my favorite go to plant based snacks. I looked at high fiber content, did not look at sugar as I started, I may be modifying this list as I try to adopt all Plant based for Diabetics diet. Recipes:
  • Forks over Knives 10 Insanely Good Snack Recipes
  • No Bake Energy Bites (My mom made something similar as a child, and I still make them and love them with variants of butters, but almost always chocolate chips)
  • Guacamole (I use hot habaneros to this recipe) eat with veggies or corn tortilla chips. or on a salad, taco, or burrito.
For Meals, there MUST be variety
I thoroughly enjoyed my recent AirBNB visit with Blanca, and while there learned the joys of Guatemalan cooking. Blanca was an amazing cook, and she made wholesome foods from scratch every day. I want to experience and remember this food for a long time, so I started with a search of vegan Guatemalan recipes like chile relleno, anything served with roasted Elotes, and Baked Bananas. Then I consider the other styles of cooking I enjoy.. I do like global cuisine, so I look for recipes reminiscent of my travels and memories.  
Healthy Living Cookbooks
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