Whether you’re on a Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, slow-carb, low-carb or Mediterranean diet, every single healthy nutritional protocol on the planet shares one common theme: getting more whole, plant-based foods into your diet is a good thing for your health and the planet.
But how can I get my meat-loving (insert: self, friends, family) to accept this idea?
The truth is that cooking with plants is easy, creative, delicious and nutritious. And yet embracing a more plant-centric approach to the plate continues to unnecessarily repel all too many, including even some of the most experienced chefs.
I admit that presenting plant-based options to the more carnivorously inclined can indeed be tricky. But with a bit of grace, style and compassion, it can be done.
Here are seven tips I've learned along the way to help you accomplish the mission.
1. Start with a green juice.
If you don’t know where to begin, get your green juice on. A clean, light green juice comprised of spinach, kale and pineapple will kick start the meal on a healthy trajectory and begin to improve the gut ecology. It can be as simple as a cucumber juice or perhaps some kale with pineapple.
2. Be the chef.
You don’t need to be a gourmet chef, but taking the time to master a few simple whole food, plant-based recipes will transform your life and everyone around you. Worry less about the meat on the plate and focus on ensuring that every meal each day abounds with a variety of simple produce-based dishes. Let, fresh, tasty, beautiful and loving be your mantra!
3. Prepare a few tasty appetizers to break the ice.
It’s important to start off strong. Seize the opportunity to shine. By picking one amazing plant-based appetizer that is creative, easy, and delicious. This will reassure your meat eating guests that they are in for more than sucking on a blade of grass.
4. Lead the way.
Share your experiences — whether it’s a tale of life transformation and healing or simply your love for kale — honestly and openly. But only when asked. No one likes a preachy sermon about the perfect diet (which, by the way, is an illusion). The best approach is always to simply be a healthy living example. Truth does not defend — it simply is.
5. Release your attachment to outcome.
Release the need for your company to actually like the food you've prepared. Instead, shift your focus on the process. Remember: you simply can’t control their reaction to the food, only your intention, effort and love in the preparation. Sincerely give it all you’ve got — then let it go.
6. Make it pretty.
Presentation, presentation, presentation. This is a powerful tool for even the simplest recipes. Remember that we eat with more than our mouths; food involves all our senses. So take advantage of the visual sense and support your food creation with attention to detail. A beautiful garnish of flower or herb will always make a dish taste much better.
7. Serve from the heart.
Dating back to sacred, ancient Vedic teachings, the preparation and serving of food is one of the greatest acts one can engage in. Feel the meaning of this in your heart and serve with the greatest presence and awareness and love you can fathom.
For more guidance and over 120 easy-to-prepare, delicious plant-based recipes, check out my new book, The Plantpower Way: Whole Food Recipes and Guidance for the Whole Family, which I co-authored with my husband, ultra-athlete and MindBodyGreen contributor Rich Roll.