We’ve been on this plant-based eating journey for a little over 100 days now. I can’t believe it myself! I’ve had a lot of friends – especially those who know my usual way of cooking and eating – ask what made us decide to embark on such a big change for our family.
Plain and simple: our health.
Michael went in February for his annual doctor visit and his doctor – a good friend of ours – took a look at his A1C number and asked him point-blank:
Do you want to live to see 60?
Michael is currently 52. Of course, he said yes. And his doctor told him that if he wanted to live to that birthday, he needed to make some major lifestyle changes.
I want him to live longer, too, so I told Michael I would do whatever needed to be done. We took a couple of days to research different eating styles and Michael remembered that a friend of his had lowered his A1C significantly and quickly by eating mainly plant-based. His friend happens to be married to my cousin, so I contacted her and she was a wealth of helpful information.
We watched a fascinating documentary called Game Changers and it sealed the deal for Michael. If you have interest in your health and changing your way of eating, I highly recommend it.
So…plant-based seemed the way to go. At the same time, we also gave up soft drinks. Cold turkey. Anyone who really knows me knows that I drank an obscene amount of Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet Mountain Dew. Obscene. So you can imagine the surprise of my students when I began drinking only water.
Mrs. Pate, are you okay? Where’s your Mountain Dew?
Seriously. When a 5-year-old notices that you’re no longer drinking Mountain Dew, you drank A LOT of Mountain Dew!
I make all the meals at our house, so the responsibility of learning what we could and could not eat fell squarely on my shoulders. I don’t mind. If it means keeping Michael here for as long as possible, I’m happy to do it!
So away we went. No meat. No beef. No chicken, No seafood. No dairy. No eggs. No animal products at all. Not even honey.
I love creating new recipes and a lot of my old recipes still worked – with a LOT of revisions and substitutions. Dinner wasn’t really that difficult. I just tried to make sure that every dish I made was beautiful and delicious.
Breakfast wasn’t too bad either. Michael eats oatmeal every day. The kids don’t really care for breakfast beyond a piece of fruit. And I chose to meal prep my breakfasts. I had roasted sweet potatoes and plant-based sausages on most school days. At home, I usually made avocado toast.
That left lunch. I needed something that I could prep on Sundays to feed all of us. I would be eating mine at school. Michael and Christopher would eat at home. Elizabeth doesn’t like to eat at school, so she would eat hers as soon as she got home from school at 2:30.
Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but most mamas know that you end up doing laundry and catching up on housework on Sunday afternoons. I didn’t want to spend my whole Sunday prepping meals – even though it needed to be done.
I came up with these bowls. My “formula” is: a grain, a protein, and veggies. Simple and to the point. I made a dozen on Sunday and then did a mini-prep on Wednesday evenings to finish out the week. The only thing that I really had to cook is the grain (rice, couscous, barley, quinoa). Everything else was added to the bowl cold, with the knowledge that it would all be heated before eating. Most of them take five minutes or less to assemble!
These things are wonderful! Very filling and delicious. Using my formula, there really is no end to the variations you could make. But I’m going to share some of the ones that I’ve made that have been completely family approved!
You will need some sort of meal prep containers – and lots of them! You will see in the photos the kind that I use. They are readily available in most grocery stores, but here are the links I use to order mine:
They are pretty amazing. They go in the fridge or freezer, the microwave, and the dishwasher. And they last for months!
Please note that any time there are beans, they are rinsed and drained before adding to the bowl. This is my favorite small strainer for that task: https://amzn.to/2MKSJ5Z
You’re going to think that I have a product-placement deal with Uncle Ben’s. I don’t. But their Ready Rice packs are great for making these bowls. 90 seconds in the microwave and they’re done!
Some bowls have a drizzle or cup of salad dressing. Our favorite brand is Walden Farms. They are zero carb, zero sugar, zero calorie. But they taste great! I usually transfer them from the original bottle into a squeeze bottle so I can control how much I’m using. https://amzn.to/2MJOYh1
Okay, here are the Bowl Plans:
And there you have it! I will likely add bowl ideas to this post in he future because I rarely make the same one twice. I just use what I have on hand.
Get creative! Use the formula and make up your own.
Michael’s blood sugar went from a terrifying 390 to an average of 125. And a couple of weeks ago, he went back to the doctor and his A1C had dropped from 12.3 to 6.1! So I’m happy to report that style of eating is working for us!
Not vegan? Add chopped or shredded chicken or “taco meat” or cheese or hard boiled eggs. These bowls are a great time saver. They don’t take a ton of time to put together and you can just grab and go in the mornings!
Get on the meal prep band wagon and make your life easier!