Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly common, with the emphasis being placed on the health benefits of this way of eating.
‘Plant Over Processed’ is written by Andrea Hannemann, who you can also find on Instagram @earthyandy, or via her website, includes 75 simple and delicious plant-based recipes for ‘nourishing your body and eating from the earth’.
In the book, Andrea explains how she came to follow a mainly plant-based diet following personal health problems. She was once addicted to sugar and convenience foods and suffered from a host of health issues that included IBS, Celiac disease, hypothyroidism, asthma, brain fog, and
chronic fatigue. Fed up with spending time and money on specialists, supplements, and fad diets, she quit animal products and processed foods altogether, and embarked on a new way of eating that transformed her health. She felt that plant-based was a good fit for her as it promotes being more mindful of what you are eating. Her family (including husband whose family owns a chain of burger restaurants!) largely follow the same diet.
Andrea and her family live in Hawaii and the book contains lots of photographs of the local, stunning scenery. However, she also talks about their simple lifestyle and how you don’t need to live on an exotic island to follow a plant-based diet.
I liked how the book wasn’t preachy and how she emphasised the flexibility around this sort of eating. Her main focus is to eat more foods that are plant-based and less that are processed.
There are many recipes in the book and information on good staples. The staple lists include:
- Dried goods such as grains, beans, rice, pasta, lentils
- Nuts, seeds, dried fruits
- Vegetables, fruit, herbs, condiments, sauces, milk
The 30-day challenge
There is also a section related to undertaking a 30-day challenge to eat more plant-based foods and less processed foods. During February my husband, son and I thought we would give this a try. My husband and son do not eat meat anyway, whereas I do but we do eat a lot of fresh fruit and veg so initially I felt like this would be relatively easy.
The challenge focuses on eating 80% of your calories from plant based whole foods and 20% cooked plant-based foods, avoiding processed foods where possible. It is stressed that it is not about following this perfectly but more to finish with a better relationship and understanding of eating plant-based and how it makes you feel.
The challenge is split into the following phases:
Jump start: getting involved in the challenge. My son and I went food shopping with a vengeance ensuring we were following the plan as closely as possible. I also found it to be a very expensive shopping trip, mostly due to the fact that I got sucked into the plant based section of the shop but I would say that was not necessary and in the following weeks as we worked out what we could and could not have it became easier. Handy hint, which I was not aware of, some of the Quorn items are for vegetarians and some are vegan so check the labels. Also Itsu do some vegan mushroom ramen packs with dumplings, which are delicious and I kept a couple of these in the freezer in case I got stuck with prep.
Making waves: you will either be struggling or loving it. We all complained of headaches by this point, but I read from the book that this was normal so was not overly concerned.
A whole new you: where you can notice the changes from the difference in the way you are eating.
So how did I, or more correctly we, get on?
As I said, we eat a large amount of fruit and veg and I cook almost always from fresh, so a lot of the staples were already in our cupboards. I stopped in the first week to pick up a salad and without thinking picked up some chicken breast before my son pointed out my error but that was the only time I did that.
I found there is so much to eat and still loads of choices. Lots of meals that were very colourful and super tasty! Some recipes were super simple, and others required a lot of ingredients.
Some favourite recipes
- Acai bowl – I don’t tend to like the consistency of smoothies/milkshakes and yet I loved this and the smoothie bowls. I found that I would play around with the recipes and add whatever fruits and toppings I had.
- Earth bowls – you literally cannot go wrong and there is a section that explains the guide to this recipe. You choose a leafy green base, veggies for crunch, protein, complex carb, anything else you wish to add in, something sweet if you wish and a dressing. The best one, in my opinion, was the chipotle lime black bean bowl – absolutely delicious!
- Lentil shepherd’s pie – such a comfort food!
I cook a lot so had most of the pulses, grains, lentils, spices already but if I didn’t, I could see why some people say it is super-expensive to eat this way. For me, I have never found eating fresh to be more expensive and have, and always will, prefer that option.
I struggled most with being on the go. While shops do have options it is also very easy to eat plant-based but more processed. Plus a lot of items that when you read the nutritional ingredients are not all that healthy either! I also found that if I opted for items in the shop labelled as plant based it was super expensive!
We all felt good eating during the month, however, we all missed eggs and fish especially. Moving forward we will probably adopt something similar but a little more relaxed. We will continue to focus on healthy eating rather than removing certain foods entirely and maybe just consciously eating less of them.
Find out more
The book is available to purchase from Amazon from £20.67 here.
Read more from Lisa.