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Spice Up Your Winter Routine With These Plant-Based Recipes

It can be said that what you put into your body, has a lot to do with how you feel. As a continued holistic health advocate and someone who thrives off of a plant-based diet, I argue that what you eat plays a massive role in your mind and body.

During the colder months, it then becomes more important than ever to nourish your body and ensure it's getting all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function.

With that said, for this post we've teamed up with Hannah Rayment, Vega Headquarters Private Chef in Vancouver, B.C. who works to create nourishing plant-based meals, smoothies and snacks to fuel greatness every day. In this exclusive interview, we take a deeper look at what it means to be "holistic" and how you can start incorporating plant-based recipes into your daily routine.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! You’re a big holistic health advocate, what does holistic food, or “being holistic” mean to you?

Being holistic, to me, is all about eating foods I enjoy and make me feel my best. I look for foods that are Non-GMO, certified vegan, gluten-free, and made without artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners. Plant-based diets are rich in everything you’ve been told to eat more of, including fiber from fruits and vegetables, and good fats from nuts and seeds. A lot of people are under the misconception that eating clean or holistically is tasteless and restrictive, but I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. There are tons of healthy, delicious, and indulgent options out there just waiting for you to sink your teeth into.

What are some signs people usually show that tell you, they may need to re-evaluate their diet or that incorporating more holistic foods might be beneficial?

We only seem to become aware of our health when something is going wrong. Are you feeling tired and sluggish? Consistently gassy or bloated? It’s probably a sign from your body telling you to pay attention. Eating the wrong foods is like putting dirty oil in your car and expecting precision performance.

Nutrition, for many, can be a moving target. What works for you today may not tomorrow, so it’s always good to slow down when eating, pay attention to how you feel, and make nutritional adjustments when necessary.

When it comes to consuming more plant-based foods, where should people start and what are some of your favorites?

Overall, a whole-food, plant-based diet will offer you a good source of micronutrients, healthy fats, and fiber. There’s so many to choose from but everyone’s preferences are different, so I suggest starting with your favorite foods and build out from there. I love cooking specifically with legumes such as red lentils and chickpeas. They are easy to add to curry’s or salads and are a good source of protein. I eat nuts and seeds every day in smoothies, just as a snack, or in baking. This is everything from almonds and cashew, to hemp and chia seeds. Kale is a go-to for me and can be super versatile. I throw a handful in a smoothie in the mornings, add to soups or stews, or even make kale chips which is a delicious snack! And let’s not forget about the classics. Apples! Bake with them, eat them on their own with a nut butter, or slice them into your salad, they will never disappoint and are a good source of micronutrients.

What would you say are your top three tips and tricks for incorporating more plant-based ingredients into your day?

Great question and one that certainly can stump people. Here are my top 3 suggestions to increase your daily plant-based foods consumption.

  1. Challenge yourself to try one new fruit or vegetable a week that you’ve never tried before. You’ll be adding some unique, plant-based nutrients into your body without overhauling your usual diet, plus it allows you to get creative and test out some new recipes!

  2. Start making simple substitutions for common ingredients like butter, milk and eggs. There are so many options on the market nowadays that a simple swap can make a big difference to your health without compromising taste.

  3. Add, don’t subtract. If you simply aren’t ready to cut out your favourites, don’t overcomplicate the process! Plant-based eating falls on a spectrum and you can still see benefits from starting small. It can be as easy as complimenting your breakfast routine with a Vega protein powder or finding a favourite plant-based go-to snack, like these coconut almond protein cookies.

For those looking to curb that sweet tooth this fall and winter, what is a seasonal recipe that you would suggest trying out?

The cozy, colder weather always makes you want to indulge a bit more, doesn’t it? 😊 For some seasonal treats, I would recommend these Vegan Pumpkin Donuts, these Red Velvet Protein Brownies, or these No Bake Dark Chocolate Cashew Granola Bars for a yummy on-the-go snack.

For the colder months, is there a warm drink recipe that you could share?

For sure! I love this Veg Nog (vegan eggnog) during the holiday season and for a compliment to your breakfast, this Rooibos tea smoothie hits the spot.

Remember, eating should be enjoyable, delicious, social, and stress-free. If you’re a seasoned plant-based eater, play around with new ingredients you haven’t tried and get creative. If you are new to plant-based eating you might want to check out the recipe center on our website, MyVega.ca, for some guidance on how and where to start. The one and only rule here is to be open. You might just discover how much you enjoy it!

About Vega

Vega is a leader in plant-based protein which helps you to feel and perform your best. Vega products are certified vegan through Vegan Action, Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, and free of artificial flavors and preservatives.