If you were looking to reboot your health a few months back, you may have come across our feature with Meghan Swidler, holistic nutrition coach and the face behind the popular @thatplantbasedgal Instagram account.
If you missed it, be sure to check it out here. If you didn’t, but you’re looking for even more healthy, plant-based inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a few tips from our conversation with Meghan that will help you lead a more plant-based lifestyle–or even just encourage a friend or loved one to incorporate more vegetables on a day-to-day basis. There’s no wrong approach, but if you take on even a few of these tips, we promise you’ll end up feeling better than when you started.
What are your top 2-3 foundational principles for good nutrition?
In my book, I talk about my five foundational principles of good nutrition. These are the cornerstones of my health coaching philosophy. My personal top three:
- Adopt an 80-20 lifestyle. Personally, I like to eat high-fiber, plant-based whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains 80% of the time. Then I leave room for freedom and flexibility 20% of the time. This is called the 80/20 rule. If you feel inspired by it, feel free to interpret it in whatever way feels intuitive and sustainable to you. For me, I’m primarily plant-based but, above all, I believe in food freedom. That means I eat organic fish, eggs, artisanal sourdough bread and dessert when I feel like it. I cannot stress enough that the goal should be progress, not perfection.
- Build an abundance (vs. scarcity) mindset. When you eat high-fiber, plant-based whole foods, you can start to eat in abundance and stop framing your newfound way towards healthy eating in terms of restriction, dieting, and what you cannot eat. Forget rules, restrictions, and calorie or macro counting, but instead use a framework for eating that leads to more opportunity, freedom, and abundance.
- Eat real, whole, unprocessed foods. Focus on eating real, whole, unprocessed foods with no labels as much as possible, as this is your gateway to using food as medicine. The more we include nutrient-dense foods into our diet, the more we enhance our own energy and health as well as our resistance to disease.
Do you have any advice for convincing less-than-healthy family members (and kids) to eat better?
My biggest piece of advice is to not convince anyone of anything because that can sometimes have an adverse effect. Also, some people may not want to eat the way you do, and that’s their decision. If you’re worried about their health, here are some tips:
- Lead by example. If you make healthy food and lifestyle choices on a daily basis, then your family members, loved ones, and kids will naturally just start taking interest (and being subtly influenced) when they see the positive effects that these choices are having on your life.
- Stock the fridge and pantry with nutrient-dense whole foods and clean, better-for-you brands and products. I have a comprehensive grocery list by category, a long list of clean, better-for-you brands/products by category, and healthy substitutes for both gluten and dairy in my new book, FROM WITHIN.
- Involve your family in the entire experience of shopping, cooking/preparing, serving, and eating your food. You can choose one day of the week to make a new plant-based dinner recipe and involve your entire family in the cooking and preparation process. You can also go to the farmer’s market or grocery store every Sunday with your family members, loved ones, and/or kids!
Can you leave CDS readers with a recipe or recipe idea for converting skeptics into plant-based fans?
Yes – of course! I am always coming up with new recipes, and typically post them almost daily on my Instagram. I also have several recipes on my website (under the Recipes section) and have modular recipes for most key dishes (fruit, smoothie, salad, salad dressing, vegetable pasta/noodles, vegetable curry, vegetable soup, vegetable side dish, plant-powered bowl) in my book – FROM WITHIN – to make cooking at home easy for you.
An easy recipe to make for the entire family this winter is this creamy rosé (gluten-free) penne pasta loaded with fresh vegetables and a dairy-free rosé sauce.
If you loved this article and want to continue following my journey, check out my Instagram @thatplantbasedgal to find simple, healthy recipes, the real truth about ingredients and brands, nutrition/health tips, discount codes for the brands/products I love and use regularly, and a sneak peek into my everyday life.
If you’re looking for more hands-on support, currently feel stuck/stagnant, and are truly ready to start your transformational journey towards better holistic health and wellness, book a 30-minute consultation to connect with me directly and further discuss my 1:1 coaching programs, which you can also find on my website.
Lastly, if you want to do everything on your own but need the resources and tools to do so, buy my book – FROM WITHIN. This 164-page guided handbook is a bible to achieve optimal health. It will help you adopt a plant-forward food routine, increase your energy and vitality, reduce digestive distress, boost your mental health, and regain your confidence.
Megan was kind enough to offer our readers 10% off her book. Simply shop through this link today! This book is for you if:
- You’re completely overwhelmed with nutrition information, and haven’t yet found an easy sustainable roadmap for vibrant long-term health.
- You don’t cook very often, and end up reverting to the same bland, boring meals on repeat or just ordering takeout or delivery instead.
- You’re stressed, anxious, inflamed, low energy, and/or in digestive distress, whether this be gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or irregular bowel movements.
- You are constantly stuck in a cycle of restriction/deprivation and overeating/binging and want to learn mindful/intuitive eating practices and reconnect with your body’s natural hunger cues.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Casa de Suna.
If you used any of our tips for feeling your best this winter, be sure to tag us on social media using #casadesuna