Top 10 Plant-Based Nutrition Tips & Sweet Potato Muffins
This week, a 61-year-old woman named Jeanette Robinson reached out to me for help. She decided that she was tired of not feeling well following a meal, and knew that it was time to change her diet. Jeanette is 5′ 3″, weighs 160 lbs and takes a blood thinner called Warfarin. Warfarin, which goes by the brand name Coumidin, is an anticoagulant medication. This means that it helps prevent clots from forming in the blood. Blood thinners are used to treat some types of heart disease. The first thing I suggested was to talk to her doctor before trying a vegan diet and getting some blood tests for comparison later. She is now off, and running. Following are the plant-based nutrition tips I shared with her. I will keep you updated on her progress and lets send her lots of compassion and vegan love. Here, are Ordinary Vegan's top 10 nutrition tips on living a healthy plant-based life. Many of these are inspired by my recent excursion to Farms2Forks.
1. Focus on foods low in calorie density meaning when you have one cup of whole wheat pasta – add one cup of veggies. When you eat vegetables, your calorie density goes down. With this method, you can increase food 33% and decrease calories 33%.
2. Don't drink your calories. It is not as satisfying as eating your food.
3. Never eat processed foods. Even oils fall into that category. Two tablespoons of olive oil equal 240 calories and loads of saturated fat. If you can't do without it, at least cut back. I use veggie broth to keep foods that I am sauteing moist and vinegars with lemon and mustard for my salads.
4. Avoid salt. Always make sure the calories on a box or can equal the sodium (or less). The sodium should never be more than the calories.
5. Make sure the word whole is in front of wheat in whatever you purchase including oatmeal and breads. You can buy whole wheat white flour at specialty supermarkets like Whole Foods. Use white, whole wheat flour in all recipes calling for white flour.
6. Avoid sugar when possible. Freeze grapes, bananas and mango and serve with a drizzle of chocolate balsamic vinegar.
7. Buy nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a powerful “go to” in your fridge, and can be added to many foods. It tastes yummy in mashed potatoes or on popcorn, and I use it in many of my recipes. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein, magnesium, copper, B6, B12 and zinc, to name a few.
8. Bake without oil. Try using applesauce or Gerber baby food prunes in place of the oil in a recipe.
9. Always read labels. Do not become complacent about this. If you don't know what the ingredient is…it shouldn't be going down your throat.
10. Most important….don't try to be perfect….just do your best and live a happy, healthy and long life.
I love this video about the people of Okinawa, Japan. They have the longest and healthiest life expectancy in the world. 94% of their diet is grains, beans and sweet potatoes. They eat 10% less calories than average, – 9% of those calories are protein – 85% are carbs – 6% fat – 12% rice and 7% beans. Most of their sugar comes from fresh, natural fruits. Now the secret – 50% of their calories come from sweet potatoes especially the dark purple ones.
We all have to age and eventually die, but healthy aging is one of the best things you could do in your life. I hope the people of Okinawa inspire you as much as they inspired me. In honor of the people of Okinawa, here is my recipe for sweet potato muffins. Hope you enjoy this plant-based recipe as much as I did. Don't miss any of Ordinary Vegan's free recipes by signing up here.
- 1 c sweet potato puree
- ¾ c unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
- ¼ c applesauce
- ½ c maple syrup
- 1½ c flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ c dried cherries or cranberries (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts (or more to taste) (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly oil a muffin tin. I like to use muffin cups.
- In a food processor, mix together sweet potato puree, milk, applesauce, and maple syrup
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices.
- Combine wet and dry mixtures until just moistened. (batter should be on the thicker side - add more non-dairy milk if needed)
- Spoon batter evenly into prepared pan.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Let muffins rest a moment in the pan, then cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.