Does Healthy Eating Have to be Boring?
Benefits of Exploring New Plant-Based Cuisine
One of the things I discovered when I started my plant-based journey was the lack of variety in many of our local cafes and restaurants. The menus were very similar. Mac & cheese, candied yams, and BBQ seitan or soy-based meat are on most menus.
These dishes are popular because they can be a bridge to help people who want to eat more plant-based foods. They are familiar and can be very tasty.
Before I chose a plant-based way of eating, about 8 years or so ago, I cooked and baked every day. I come from a family that loves to cook and eat. My love for flavorful food did not disappear when I decided not to eat meat and dairy. It became very difficult to find something, anything to eat that feel slow cooked and yummy or something new and different, that wasn’t vegetarian, something vegan.
I looked for something like a Sausage & Pepper Hero, a pot pie maybe even a Stuffed Pepper on the menu anytime I went out to eat. Unfortunately, I never found what I was looking for.
There were a few variations maybe wraps or salads but all the comforting food was the same. Going out to eat, or trying to convince an omnivore or veggie curious friend that plant-based food was amazing, became disappointing and stressful.
This is one of the reasons I started Night Owl Vegan. I knew, for sure, that if I “just wanted something to eat”, that wasn’t the same old’, same old, I knew others felt the same way.
As a former type 2 diabetic, a serial entrepreneur and vegan chef I want to open the minds of the veggie curious. I can attest to the benefits of eating a plant-based and vegan lifestyle. But one of the major complaints about meat and dairy-free way of eating is that the food is boring and predictable.
In order to entice people to enjoy meat and dairy-free meal, it must be delicious, nutritious and memorable.
At Night Owl Vegan we love food
We love the power that food has to heal our bodies and change our lives. Our customers enjoy dishes from all around the world. Bolognese & Pepperoni Lasagna, Carrot Coconut Curry Soup (we make a dessert with the same flavor profile) and Moroccan Baked Sweet Potatoes are examples of our menu. We introduce our customers to new flavors, textures and culinary experiences that make eating plant-based an indulgent experience.
There are 3 benefits of enjoying a dynamic plant-based menu. The discovery of delicious food you didn’t know existed, access to herbs & spices that have medicinal properties and fun.
The American diet is made primarily of foods that are fried, frozen, canned and processed in some way. In other countries, the water, soil, sunlight and food production create foods we probably have not tasted. There are flavors and textures most of us have not had the pleasure to experience, myself included.
More and more ingredients we’ve never seen or tasted are on the shelves, in the market on our feed. We limit our understanding and appreciation for food by eating the same thing over and over again. As those who love to cook, stepping out of our comfort zone gives us more opportunity to share our gift.
For those that love to expand their palate, 😊 the possibilities are endless. Ackee, yucca, and jackfruit are great places to start in your discovery.
Food Can Heal
Spices like Cardamom, Fenugreek, Ginger, Tahini, Coriander, mint, and more are used in plant-based recipes around the world. These herbs and spices have been said to do miraculous things like elevating your mood, Cinnamon; balance cholesterol levels, Fenugreek, and lower blood sugar levels, Coriander.
Using recipes from our African, Mediterranean, Asian and Indian neighbors can give us easy access to food that heals. Learning to eat and cook with plants, herbs, spices, nuts, and legumes on a regular basis has a cumulative effect. You may not notice it right away, but over time your body will show the benefits of daily doses of the essential minerals you may otherwise not get.
Acquiring the protein, minerals, and nutrients we used to when we were eating animals can be a struggle. When our food is enticing it makes it easier for us to stay on our path. Remember though, no one path is the correct path.
You get to where you need to be on your own time. You’ll know when you are ready, and even then you might find yourself online at Wendy’s. Be gentle with yourself, just be intentional with your actions.
Now I don’t know about you but I look forward to trying new things. The best part of my week is geekin’ out on fresh produce and new vegan products at markets during meal prep shopping.
The availability of vegan and allergy-friendly products is amazing. We can buy plant-based cheese, sausage, and gluten-free products now with a click of a button. We literally have access to almost any ingredient we want (try your local Asian, Indian, African, Italian) market. Make it an adventure! It’s fun.
If you can’t find delicious plant-based food in your neighborhood restaurants it might be time to start experimenting on your own.
Most of us were not raised knowing how to prepare meals that do not contain dairy or meat. Making delicious and creative plant-based food takes practice, just like anything else. The awesome thing is there are so many options to choose from, it will be fun discovering your new favorites.
With so many vegetables, legumes, spices, and herbs to choose from, eating healthy can never be boring.