Compassion Begins on Your Plate: How Plant-Based Eating Can Transform Your World

As a child, I basically ate whatever my parents decided to put in front of me. Until one day, I started questioning the choices of my parents. I was 14 years old when my dad’s side of the family all decided to be on the Atkin’s diet. I watched my dad order a beef burger without the bun, eat as much bacon and sausage as he wanted for breakfast, not eating many vegetables and completely cutting out carbs. Being someone who never particularly enjoyed eating tons of meat, I was repulsed by it. I called it the “flesh” diet. I declared I was a vegetarian and started preparing my own dinners. I didn’t really know how to be a healthy vegetarian, I just knew I didn’t want to contribute to the killing of animals. Once I researched documentaries like “Kentucky Fried Cruelty”, and saw the brutal treatment of animals in factory farms, there was no turning back. I often ate pasta drenched in garlic and olive oil, or omlettes covered in cheese. It wouldn’t be until years later that I truly would make the connection between food as medicine and vitality.

Back then I never could have imagined cutting out eggs and dairy. It took me seeing years later that it’s common practice that male chicks are ground up alive and baby calves are taken from their moms and slaughtered for veal- that there is no humane treatment of animals in any food industry. We are exploiting the most innocent beings on this planet by giving them a life of misery. This connection started making me think about energy in food and focusing on sourcing food that is “cruelty free”. If everything is energy, why would you ever want to consume a product sourced from an animal who lived in misery? It made me question how much negativity we bring into our own lives by absorbing that which we create from these tortured animals. 

It wasn’t until I started working at Whole Foods Market did I really put the idea into practice. I set out to eat the highest energy, nutrient-dense foods. I finally learned how to not only eat compassionately for the planet, but also how to eat compassionately for myself. I took E3-Live, a super nutrient-dense algae high in 65 vitamins, minerals and amino acids, every morning with my orange juice. I ate chia pods on my breaks instead of bagels and cream cheese. I often grabbed organic pink lady apples, bananas, and cashews if I was hungry. I always had Lara bars on me, and drank chia kombuchas. If I was craving cheese, I bought cashew cheese and gluten-free crackers. I replaced my morning omlettes with my now favorite dish: the tofu scramble. I often ate at the salad bar, but mixed an avocado from produce with lemon juice over my greens instead of dressing. This diet gave me so much energy I had no problem working out for a couple hours after an 8 hour shift. 

I was over 300 lbs when I first started working at Whole Foods. This change to a plant-based diet combined with regularly working out led me to drop over 90 lbs over the past year and a half. Little steps and daily decisions from the heart has led to a huge transformation in my life. It’s been less about the end goal, and more about how to make a loving decision towards myself and the planet in the moment. The weight has fallen off in the process. Every day we have choices to make. Every day we have the ability to channel love and light into every decision we make. It’s our little choices over time that lead to life-changing transformations. I truly believe compassion begins on your plate. What we decide to eat can literally transform our world: from our bodies, to our energy levels, to our environment.

Flavorful and Rich Vegan Shepard’s Pie

  
I personally want full-flavored, Irish goodness on St. Patrick’s Day. When you have decided to eat compassionately for the planet, you may find yourself feeling a little left out (and grossed out) amidst all the corn beef chomping population beside you. Luckily for all you plant-based eaters out there, I have decided to share my favorite Irish, vegan recipe. đź’š

Start by boiling 8 red skinned potatoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Filling

Add the following ingredients to a sauté pan with a little veggie broth:

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, cubed

8 cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme

1 tsp fresh sage

Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add two cups of veggie broth, slowly.

Add 1 cup of tomato paste. 

Add 1 cup of organic frozen peas.

Add a splash of red wine.

Let simmer until veggies become soft.

Add 1 tbsp flour, and continue to let simmer until thickened.

  
Potato topping

At about 15-20 minutes of boiling, the potatoes should be tender. Check with a fork or knife.

Drain the hot water from the potatoes. I usually cut the potatoes in half with a knife and leave them in the same pan.

Add 2 cups of your favorite nut milk (I use cashew milk).

Add garlic salt and pepper to taste.

The tender potatoes and added ingredients should be easily mashed and mixed by hand with a potato masher.

  
Putting it all together

I put a little veggie broth on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.

Completely cover pan with thickened veggie filling. Make sure it is even by spreading with the back of a spoon.

Evenly layer mashed potato mixture on top of the veggies. Make sure it is spread as evenly as possible on top to keep a good ratio between potato topping and veggie filling.

Cook pan on the top shelf of your oven for 30 minutes, or until potato topping starts to brown and crisp.

Let dish cool for 5 minutes before serving.

  
Voila! A delicious, full flavored vegan St. Patties dish!

Enjoy, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The School of Life

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Everyone you meet is a divine appointment and opportunity for growth. Remember that you chose to come here. You are not a victim of the human experience. The human experience is a choice. Earth is a school. Rumi believed that each of us is the universe experiencing itself and learning through itself. Every person you have ever met, every person you know, and every person you will ever meet is here to teach you something. Your interpretations of the lessons learned determines your outlook and your experience here. Choose your thoughts about others wisely. Look at others through the lens of compassion.