Being a raw vegan chef and health coach, I'm often asked if I'm vegan. As a matter of fact, I'm not. I eat free-range eggs and wild caught fish once in a while. I've found that, personally, I don’t feel my best being strictly vegan.
That being said, 90 percent of my food is plant-based simply because it's highly beneficial for my body, my mood and our environment. Here are the top five reasons I love plant-based foods:
1. Plants don’t have any cholesterol. All fruits and vegetables are naturally cholesterol free, so they won’t clog the arteries. In fact, the fiber in fruits and vegetables can help get rid of excess fat and toxins in your body.
2. Fruits and vegetables are the fastest transient foods, meaning they won’t get stuck in your colon or make you feel weighed down. If you want to feel energized and light, try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet and reduce animal proteins.
3. Plant-based foods promote health and happiness not only for the body but also for the planet. According to ScientificAmerican.com, producing half a pound of hamburger for someone's lunch releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles. By skipping animal meat, you can decrease your carbon footprint.
4. Fruits and vegetables give us the vitamins and antioxidants that animal proteins don’t have. In order to survive and thrive, our bodies need vitamins and antioxidants to fight off the free radicals. Plant-based foods are abundant in phytonutrients our bodies need.
5. Fruits and vegetables can help us decrease cravings for many foods. For example, by increasing greens in your diet to one half of each meal, you can help your body stop cravings for junk food. I've seen many clients stop craving sugary foods after they have increased consumption of green vegetables.
If you want to give plant-based foods a shot, then try these fabulous tacos!
HOT MEXICAN TACOS
1 package of sprouted corn tortilla wraps
1 Daiya cheese in cheddar flavor
1 package of guacamole
1 jar of salsa
Shredded romaine lettuce
For Mexican “Meat”
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
1-2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
Chop the onion and sauté in olive oil for two minutes.
Add quinoa and lentils, along with tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and salt. Let cook until all flavors are well combined.
Warm up the wraps with some Daiya cheese on top, scoop up the Mexican “meat” and place on top of the cheese. Add guacamole, salsa and lettuce and enjoy!
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About Alina Z.
Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida, Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.