The vi­brant ve­gan

Good Health (Australia) - - Contents -

Adopt­ing a plant-based diet is good for you and the planet, says chef Julie Pi­att. By Bon­nie Bayley.

egan chef Julie Pi­att, co-au­thor of The Plant­power Way, is pas­sion­ate about mak­ing plant-based food tasty, whole­some and easy to pre­pare. In her lat­est book, This Cheese Is Nuts!, she re­veals how to make dairy-free ver­sions of pop­u­lar cheeses.

Here, she shares the ben­e­fits of go­ing plant-based and how to do it. It has recipes for dairy-free, nut-based cheeses. You’ll dis­cover how to make ‘cheeses’ – from camem­bert, brie and gor­gonzola to co­conut al­mond ri­cotta, gouda, pro­volone and sharp ched­dar. I’ve also mas­tered bur­rata made with sprouted al­monds and cured in co­conut milk, and there’s a smoked al­mond ched­dar spread you can make in 10 min­utes in a food pro­ces­sor. I was raised in Alaska on game meat, eat­ing moose ta­cos, rein­deer stew and salmon! It wasn’t un­til I started prac­tis­ing yoga in my late 20s that eat­ing meat ceased to be ap­peal­ing.

Be­fore the birth of my fourth child, I had a pow­er­ful ex­pe­ri­ence that helped me ex­plore the con­cept of food as medicine. I had a golf ball-sized cyst on my neck that came out of nowhere. Through a plant-based diet and Ayurvedic herbs, my body was able to re­pair it­self and within a year and three months the cyst went away. Plant-based cook­ing is the most vi­brant, de­li­cious and

life-af­firm­ing way to eat! It makes you feel young – I’m 55 this year and leaner and stronger than I’ve ever been. It’s also com­pas­sion­ate: ev­ery sin­gle meal that you choose to eat that’s plant-based, you’ve saved an an­i­mal’s life and thou­sands of litres of wa­ter that are used in dairy and meat pro­duc­tion. Ev­ery time you choose plants you’ve done some­thing for your health and the en­vi­ron­ment, but it’s not a con­test. There’s no right an­swer to this life­style and it can be your own unique process, so sim­ply be­gin where you are. Fo­cus on the meal in front of you now. Start by adding green juices and dark leafy greens into your diet. Once you do that, your body will make a shift and you’ll start crav­ing dif­fer­ent things. It ac­tu­ally shifts the pop­u­la­tion of the bac­te­ria in your gut, which de­ter­mines your crav­ings.

My tip for leafy greens is to sauté them in co­conut oil, then sprin­kle on some sea salt, ta­mari and fresh ginger root or a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemons, fresh ginger and turmeric root, miso paste, ca­cao pow­der and dates are handy. Also, lots of nuts, so cashews, macadamias, al­monds and wal­nuts, as well as seeds like pump­kin, sun­flower and chia seeds. I make fresh, hearty food that’s quick to pre­pare. I start my day with a ca­cao latte or a smoothie, fol­lowed by por­ridge made with oats, chia seeds, goji berries, dates and fresh co­conut. For lunch, I’ll have a dairy-free cheese plat­ter with olives, or a salad. In the af­ter­noon I might whip up some peanut but­ter cook­ies, made with co­conut sugar, nat­u­ral peanut but­ter, flax seeds and dark choco­late. Din­ner might be lasagne made with zuc­chini noo­dles, fresh tomato sauce, al­mond pesto and cashew ri­cotta. In­stead of meat, add in sat­is­fy­ing foods like sweet pota­toes, cooked pota­toes, av­o­ca­dos and oc­ca­sion­ally some tofu into the mix. Draw on the flavour­ings and mari­nades that meat of­ten has, like bal­samic re­duc­tion, browned onions, roasted olives, rose­mary and mush­room gravy. You can add those top­pings to pota­toes to get the flavour or nu­ance of a meaty dish, with­out the meat. If you eat a big va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles and some fruit, and choose lo­cal and or­ganic as much as pos­si­ble, you’re go­ing to be su­per-healthy. The only vi­ta­min that’s miss­ing from a plant-based diet is B12. Adding nu­tri­tional yeast flakes can help – use them as a condiment in sal­ads, soups and stews. #

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