Looking for more guidance on your journey to plant-based health? Then check out our review of Lani Muelrath's new book 'The Plant-Based Journey', and enter the giveaway for your chance to win a free copy!
Like so many other things in life, the transition to a plant-based way of eating is a journey. Many of us have been inspired to set out on the adventure, slowly navigating our way through its challenges and pitfalls. Over the course of months or years, we are able to develop an approach to plant-based eating that suits our individual needs. But how much easier would it have been to have an experienced guide with us on the journey? Someone to lay out all the practical information and help us navigate our path? I know that it would have saved me - and countless others - a lot of time, energy, and unnecessary confusion. Fortunately, such a guide now exists: The Plant-Based Journey, by Lani Muelrath.
Lani is a renowned author, fitness expert, and dietary coach with decades of experience in this area. The Plant Based Journey is comprehensive, seamlessly constructed, and easy to understand. And you know you're in for a good read when a book features forewords by both T. Colin Campbell and Neal Barnard (two of my personal heroes!)
In each chapter, Lani, navigates us through the five key stages of the plant-based journey:
- Step 1: Awakening: Discover your “why” for eating plant-based
- Step 2: Scout: Assemble what you need for plant-based eating basics
- Step 3: Rookie: Increase the presence of plant foods onyour plate with specific strategies and systems
- Step 4: Rockstar: Take your new found plant-based eating success on the road and to social and family situations
- Step 5: Champion: Sharpen your skills for long-term plant-based living success
Throughout each of these sections, Lani explores the scientific evidence supporting a plant-based diet, pinpoints common pitfalls made by those on the journey, and provides practical solutions to help readers overcome these obstacles. Even if you are well into the 'Rockstar' or 'Champion' stage of your journey, I can assure you that each and every chapter has something valuable to offer! Whether you need meal planning ideas, advice for getting your family on board, or mental strategies to create healthier eating habits, you'll find it all within these pages.
If you are new to this way of eating, rejoice! This book has come along at the perfect time for you. Chapter 3 includes a personal food journal, which I think will be particularly helpful for anyone transitioning from a 'typical' omnivorous diet. Often, those who are new to the journey are not aware of the variety and abundance of plant-based foods avilable. Additionally, many people don't consume enough starchy foods - or enough volume - to meet their energy needs, causing them to feel fatigued and question their decision to switch to plant-based eating. A quick read through Lani's daily food diary, and you instantly get a sense of not only the types and amounts of food you can eat, but also how enjoyable and delicious your meals can be. The book also features a guide on how to 'plantify your fare', as well as flexible recipe 'blueprints'; both valuable resources for anyone who is new to plant-based cooking. Lani recently appeared in a segment on CBS TV, sharing her 'Five Fast Ways to Plantify Your Plate.' You can watch the segment here to get a taste of what you'll find in the book!
Another personal highlight for me was Chapter 4: 'The Good News Guide to Hunger Satisfaction'. In this chapter, Lani details the varying degrees of plant-food 'processing', and explains how the proportion of whole vs. processed foods can either aid or hinder long-term weight loss. As someone who has consulted with many people wanting to lose weight (and lose it for good!) I was delighted to read such a clear, practical explanation of how hunger mechanisms and satiety work. This is just one of many explanations that I'm sure will help readers achieve their health goals with greater speed, ease, and permanency.
It's clear from the get-go that Lani has a great deal of insight into the challenges faced by those trying to permanently change their eating habits. Her vast understanding of plant-based nutrition, combined with decades of personal experience, forms a very strong foundation on which to build this book; a book that is useful and informative no matter which stage of the plant-based journey you're on. With more than a decade of plant-based eating under my belt, I found myself nodding along in agreement with so many of the book's passages. I found great comfort in the fact that the hurdles I had faced were not only common, but that overcoming them would undoubtedly contribute to my long-term success. Most importantly, I found renewed inspiration to remain steadfast in my commitment to healthy plant-based eating. So thank you Lani!
The other thing that I found? Delicious recipes! This book has plenty of them, but my favourite (thus far!) would have to be the Portobello Pot Roast, pictured below. This is flavourful plant-based comfort food at it's best.
Portobello Pot Roast
Yield: 4 Servings
- ½ cup white wine (you can also try red—I’ve even made this with sake), divided
- 4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into ¾ inch pieces
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2–3 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 4 potatoes, quartered
- 4 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3–4 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large saucepan, heat ¼ cup of the wine and add the portobello mushroom slices. Allow them to cook through and brown a bit—you’ll need to keep moving them around and turning them—and then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining ¼ cup wine to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Caramelize the onions by stirring them until they wilt and begin to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
- Mix the flour, sage, and basil together in a small bowl. Stir in ¼ cup of the broth to create a paste, and pour the mixture into the same pan you used for the mushrooms and onions. While stirring constantly over medium heat, very slowly add the rest of the broth so that you create a gravy or sauce.
- When the mixture just starts to boil, turn the heat off and add any additional seasonings you prefer. (Kathy suggests parsley and pepper.)
- Add the potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the gravy mixture. If more liquid is needed to keep the vegetables from drying out, add more broth.
- Add the mushrooms and onions to the mixture and ladle into a large ceramic or glass pot or casserole dish with a lid, layering in the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Place the lid on and put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
Alternate cooking options:
- If you have a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven that can go from cooktop to oven, you can prepare the entire dish in that fashion, as Kathy does.
- Assemble everything in a big pot on the stove or pressure cooker and cook until the vegetables are done. The flavor pizzazz provided by searing the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and gravy is compromised somewhat. Yet if you’re pressed for time, each variation is delicious.
'The Plant-Based Journey' is available to purchase through Amazon, BenBella Books, Barnes & Noble, and other major retailers.
For more information and to connect with the author, be sure to check out Lani's website, sign up for her newsletter, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.