The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Plant Power

13 Comments

“Wonder twin powers activate … form of … BROCCOLI!” It doesn’t get much more powerful than that – Broccoli is one of the world’s healthiest foods. A death-defying super hero, it can prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation in the body, and more.

As a gardener, I am also obviously a plant lover. Just as I see the magic of the universe in a Sunflower, I liken Broccoli, and many more vegetables, to super heroes. Gardening has changed my life in many ways. It prompted me to begin growing my own vegetables. Growing vegetables prompted me to learn more about organics and pollination. Organics and pollination opened my eyes to the magnificent world of insects, birds and more which inspired me to create a wildlife habitat. Growing my own fresh, organic vegetables also prompted me to learn to eat healthier and try new recipes. Learning new recipes prompted me to learn more about nutrition and food. Just as organic gardening led me to detoxify and question many of my daily living choices – harsh chemicals, throw-away-waste, recycling – it is also going to lead me to another lifestyle change, the plant-based diet. This is PLANT POWER resonating outward like pond ripples: from planting a flower bed, to creating and growing a life-sustaining garden (both animals and people), to changing an entire lifestyle.

As we enter the New Year, my husband and I are taking on a challenge: we are going to follow a plant-based diet for 90 days! For us this means no meat and no dairy – that is a challenge, no? We are going to evolve into Nutritarians. My husband and I turned 47-48, we are both carrying more than a few extra pounds, my cholesterol is quite high and he has a family history of heart disease. We decided it’s now or never to change our ways and enter a new life phase of fruitfulness. If we don’t do it now, we most likely never will and the pounds, (and possibly medications), will continue to add up. I know I need to make some changes – turn it up a notch. I can relate to this new lifestyle. I love plants and believe in plant power! Why not exist solely on plants? (Dairy) milk is not nature’s perfect food, plants are!

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

That’s my new way of thinking anyway. We have been reading up on and learning about plant-based diets for the past month. The information we have gleaned is eye-opening – we can cure almost any and all ailments we have through diet! So, we are going to try it. The proof is in the chia pudding  (something I will have to try), afterall.

Winter reading.

Winter reading.

These are some of the books (above) we have been reading including Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live. All of them contain recipes – good recipes. Forks over Knives the Cookbook is all recipes – tasty (yes, really they taste good!) recipes – and the documentary is available to view on Netflix. We also watched Vegucated (WARNING: do not watch if you would like to continue to eat meat), The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, and The Gerson Miracle. Next, I would like to read Dr. John McDougall’s Starch Solution and The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food by Kaayla T. Daniel.

You might ask “How will you get enough protein?” The truth is many plants contain protein. Nut and Hemp milks are also a source of protein and let’s not forget beans!  A motto we are adopting is “Beans and Greens.”

You might ask “Isn’t soy bad for you?” I would answer that yes, in high amounts it can be. It can be highly processed, and we really do try to avoid processed foods. For example, I will make my own veggie bean burger and not buy a processed soy burger, or processed soy “lunch meat.” If I do choose to cook tofu, I always buy organic (90% of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified!), and cook it myself as part of a recipe. The majority of our diet will be IS whole fruits, grains, and vegetables – fruits and vegetables in their natural state. We also cook, a lot, and enjoy it. During this challenge my husband will cook three dinners, I will cook three dinners and on the 7th day we will go out! If you want to spur some strange looks, try ordering a veggie pizza without cheese!

Just as there is a caboodle of gardening advice, there is also an overwhelming amount of nutritional advice out there – much of it conflicting. My husband and I have delved into resources of our choice – we all choose for ourselves what guides us and what to believe in. You may not agree with me or believe in plant power, but I will be sharing my progress in taking on this new challenge every now and then.

My new favorite dish is Heidi Swanson’s Otsu. I just made it the other night for dinner. Just as tasty, and a recipe I will make again, is Heidi’s Yellow Split Peas and Greens (I substituted a little nutritional yeast for the parmesan cheese) – leftovers are today’s lunch. “Hey Mikey, try it you’ll like it!” I am excited and look forward to trying the many new, plant-based recipes I’ve come across. Plant power!

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, artist, and master gardener.

13 thoughts on “Plant Power

  1. I’m vegetarian, and I’ve tried vegan – but can’t enjoy food without milk in my tea, yoghurt on my muesli, and cheese. Sigh. I did try.

    Do you know this blog? 2 vegans in Canada, who love food and cooking!
    http://swiftsuresongbird.blogspot.com/2013/07/fancy-some-ice-cream.html

    • Hi Diana,

      It is really difficult for me to give up cheese especially since I was born a “cheesehead” in WI! But the longer I go without it, the easier it gets. We tried a vegan “mac-n-cheese” recipe using nutritional yeast that was actually quite delicious! I now use a soy creamer or coconut creamer for my coffee – can’t do without the “cream” – and the substitution is doable for me. This challenge is really teaching me new ways to cook! I can do it! Thank you so much for the blog recommendation – I will be sure to check it out as we live so close to Canada and I would love to read about what they cook.

  2. Good for you both! I will enjoy reading all about your new “green” way of eating. You are so right it just all seems to sprial away and change your life…that first love …that plant that caught your eye-tee hee:-) HAPPY NEW YEAR!:-)

    • Happy New Year to you, too, Robbie. It is amazing how gardening can change a person’s life. We are doing really well with this new way of eating. I’m getting used to it. I’ve been approached by someone to try a new natural spray (liquid fence) to deter rabbits so I can’t wait to put it to the test come salad planting time! It would be a good solution for me as a fence would be a major project to install.

  3. I actually am on a veggie only diet. No fruit except Pom, no grains, beans, eggs, fish, dairy, meat…lots of veggies. I came down with a nasty virus and my acupuncturist is eliminating highly acidic foods from the diet. So it has been interesting even though it has only been a week. I would like to add a few eggs or beans soon though.

    • Donna, how did I miss your comment? I can’t imagine not having grains or beans – you must be hungry! (Actually vegetables are very filling.) It must be difficult, especially with this weather, but I would listen to your acupuncturist! I hope by now you are eating a few more things and that you are feeling better and more balanced. I am still sticking with it and lately think I feel a little bit more energized in spite of the grey days. Still trying some really great recipes – I am always amazed at the flavors one can achieve without dairy or meat – unbelievable!

  4. Pingback: What’s Growing: Tomatoes and Little Princes | The Violet Fern

  5. Pingback: Every Month is Veganuary (Recipes Included) | The Violet Fern

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