Hello and welcome! My name is Stacey and I currently live in Orlando, FL. I am making the change to a whole-foods plant-based diet (WFPB) – and I would like to do so without giving up my love of going out to eat. My blog attempts to find drool-worthy, healthy, plant-based meals at various restaurants whether in my hometown or traveling.
Why? It all began in 2007 when I was in physical therapy school and we worked on cadavers. I could not get past the fact that human muscle looks just like roast beef. I know, gross. But true. Eventually all raw meat had this effect on me and I have been a pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats seafood) ever since. Since then, my diet was reinforced by several documentaries on the factory farming food industry and, in my opinion, animal cruelty. I also learned more about all the hormones added to animal products. So for a few years I only purchased hormone-free, cage-free milk/cheese/eggs (although that’s not really possible at most restaurants).
While I had paid some attention to health research in the past, in early 2013 I really began read studies on the harmful effects of ALL animal products on our health and links to various diseases (the The China Study includes several chapters of multiple research studies regarding the benefits of going plant-based and was the tipping point for me, or you can check out this quick summary of its findings). This includes dairy which I always thought was good for you; I consumed tons of skim milk, cheese and greek yogurt. However, we as a public have been taught a lot of myths by the dairy industry (one example is this study on dairy and fracture rates). Wondering how you get calcium without dairy? The Harvard School of Public Health’s (HSPH) website states “milk isn’t the only, or even the best, source” and has other information dispelling some popular myths perpetuated by the dairy industry. The HSPH also has a Healthy Eating Plate which is getting pretty close to the WFPB diet advocated in The China Study – note the glass of water rather than the glass of milk the USDA promotes (although the recommendation to consume oil is at odds with current research related to heart health). And just how important are fruits and veggies to your health? See what the World Health Organization has to say.
By this point I firmly believe in the value of eating a WFPB diet. I have a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell University. I make a concerted effort to avoid and minimize all animal products and processed foods. This is getting easier when I cook at home (although that has been its own adventure given I rarely cooked prior to this change), but I don’t want to stop going out to eat, to any restaurant if possible. I also don’t want to go out and only be able to order a garden salad – neither my foodie side nor my hunger levels would tolerate that. If options are limited I will occasionally eat fish, have soup that I’m not sure is vegetable broth based or eat a black bean burger that may not be vegan. I still consider this to be a WFPB lifestyle. So I would not say that I am strictly vegan, but it’s easier to use this term when out a restaurant and I do use it on this site.
So enjoy my attempts to find delicious plant-based meals without staying at home and my advice on what and how to eat well when dining out (you’ll likely see my transition progress throughout my restaurant posts). I also hope you find the research articles related to diet informative as well as get some laughs over my general posts about how making the change in my diet is going for me 🙂
To keep life interesting my husband, Dan, has always been a meat and potatoes man. As in, no fruits or vegetables at all. Except potatoes. And corn. This is a guy who still ate kids’ sugar cereals for breakfast. He has also seen the research and decided it was time to change his eating habits. He is now trying to convert to a WFPB diet, although, not surprisingly, it has been more challenging for him than me. You will hear from him from time to time during his journey at “A Hardcore Carnivore’s Attempt to Change“.
If you go to any of the restaurants I’ve reviewed I’d love to hear what you think. Also, I welcome your suggestions of places to try, so if you have a favorite let me know!