Todays show was inspired by a conversation I had a with lovely gent while volunteering with the amazing animal rights organization Anonymous for the Voiceless on the weekend.
He enthusiastically shared “My ex girlfriend was vegan so I ate vegan when I was with her. And my mum’s vegetarian. It’s amazing how delicious and versatile the food can be.” However when I asked “And now… how do you eat now?” The response:
“I’m Too Lazy To Be A Vegan!”
Now this is both endearingly honest and… with respect, utterly figure-out-able. Today’s show is for my fellow lazy meal prep’ers! Or maybe you prefer to think of yourself as time poor. Or simply a reluctant cook.
I understand there are limitless things more fun than kitchen time. And that eating food is A LOT more joyful than planning, shopping for and preparing it. My intention today is to provide a two-fold solution to the “I’m Too Lazy To Be A Vegan!” excuse.
One: Embrace The Beneficial Lazy.
Lazy need not only have negative connotations. There are several beneficial aspects of eating plant based that immediately jump out at me as perfect for the lazy vegan.
A) A lack of cooking and refrigeration.
Now as much as I’m a HUGE fan of roasted and BBQ’d veg and I do keep my made on mass salads in the fridge and my made on mass curry in the freezer… it’s ALSO super simple to just throw together a lazy vegan meal. A can of 4 beans from the pantry + a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and a tablespoon or 2 mixed seeds + a piece of fruit and you’re good to go.
Vegan foods can benefit from seasoning, marinating and cooking however they are not dependant on it like a slab of animal flesh.
B) Be gone with portion control.
One of the many super awesome benefits to vegan eating is that by virtue of eliminating some very high caloric density foods you’ll generally find yourself demolishing larger meals. In fact you really can, Be gone with portion control. Although (as I’ll cover in the second half of this solution) I tend to cook meals on mass so the food is divided up according to how many meals it needs to cover… I do LOVE that at family gatherings I can go back for seconds and thirds and never feel guilty… or sick!
Some especially tempting trigger food fats are really the only thing I roughly measure however I do it in the laziest possible way. Lets use roasted cashews as an example: I’ll buy a bag to last the week and I’ll make it last the week. Sure I might eat 120/400 grams on day one. However by the end of the week (closer to 30 grams on day 6 and ZERO on day 7!) it all evens out. This is The Running Tally approach where you have target of how much to consume in the week and you keep a rough idea of how you’re doing (a little over today means a little under tomorrow) and adjust accordingly. It works especially well for wine!
C) Calorie counting – or more-so, lack there of.
In a similar vain, by focusing primarily on plant based whole foods you can give up on calorie counting. For good. It’s just not a sustainable approach to eating. Aside from the restriction based mindset it encourages it’s also tediously boring and way too much work.
The beneficial lazy approach is to learn what your body really needs and listen to it. This becomes a lot simpler – in fact I’d say automatic – once you eliminate craving causing processed crap-o-la from your day too day eating. We’ve been indoctrinated to believes certain fallacies that fuel industry growth rather than fuelling your bodies health. Does that sound extreme?
How about breakfast means eggs. Cereal and milk. Pastries. Or breakfast meats like bacon and sausage?
In contrast breaking your fast could rather mean giving your body the best possible fuel that sets the tone / positive intention for the day to come.
The exception here so far as calorie counting is I do advocate a food diary for new clients just for a week to uncover eating patterns that spiral detrimentally and need to be out-smarted. Which brings us to part 2 of this solution to the “I’m Too Lazy To Be A Vegan!” excuse…
Two: Out-smart The Detrimental Lazy.
For those instances where short term lazy has a negative consequence on your long term health and happiness the lazy vegan can simply out-smart the poor habits that have been sticking points in the past.
A) A weekly cook up.
Becoming a little less lazy for a 2-3 hour block once or twice a week will allow you to be much lazier every single night! It’ll also save you cash-o-la if you’ve previously resorted to buying lunch and now can take your own. Lazy really is a matter of how you view it.
I’d much prefer to exert a fraction of discipline on a Sunday making my meals on mass rather than having to question: “What can I make / buy for dinner?” every single night.
Equally, in the middle of the working day having a ready to go lunch to rely on is easier (lazier!) than having to race out and buy something over-priced, under-sized and not as nutritionally dense.
Finally, meal prepping breakfasts for swift smoothie making every morning means a less frenzied start to your day. And you don’t have to waste discipline questioning: “Can I get away with toast and avo from the cafe near work?”
Call me The Planner OR call me Lazy… I just don’t want to waste time or energy on food decisions that test my discipline and tempt me to make poor choices I’ll later regret.
If you’re new to the weekly cook up OR a new vegan OR both… here’s a simply way to start.
First, decide on THE meal that would have the most positive impact on the rest of your daily food choices. Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
Next, choose a specific meal that has worked for you in the past as a lazy non vegan. Perhaps a smoothie is your go to? Or a salad? Or a stir fry?
Now, give that meal a make-over to make it:
ONE: Plant Based. So in the salad example maybe you swap out a can of fish for a can of 4 beans. Or 50-100 grams of marinated tofu / edamame. Or a mix of hemp seeds + pumpkins seeds + pecans. Perhaps you’re used to a pesto dressing so the simple swap is to buy or make a dairy free version.
TWO: Able to be made on mass. Salads can easily by made 3 days at a time. Sauces, dressings, dips, roast veg and portioned off mixed seeds/nuts are good to prep for an entire week at a time.
Now if this sounds like a lot of work just tackle it one meal at a time / one meal a week. So you sort ONE ideal (positive impact on the rest of your daily food choices + plant based + able to be made on mass) meal this week and that’s all you need to focus on. You won’t be eating the exact same thing everyday (I have that covered in point C.)
If this STILL sounds like a lot of work…
B) Be inspired by the anti-mentor.
You know that person who first comes to mind when you think Lazy? The person with the attitude and the results you really do not want.
That person who excels at excuse making. In fact if I were to get my acronym on (!)) I’d define this L.A.Z.Y. person as:
L.ack of personal responsibility.
A.ttraction to secondary gain and the comfort zone.
Z.ero focus on gratitude and choosing the positive interpretation of any situation.
Y.onks of excuses!
C) Clever meal modifications / variations.
As hinted at in point A) although the lazy vegan might start with just one type of meal made on mass it can then be transformed into a multitude of quick and easy meals. Before I give you some of my personal favs here are some staples the lazy vegan can shop for (or get delivered) weekly that need no prep. I’ve split the staples into 2 groups. Your basics: those staples to build a meal around. Your Bangs: to give that meal a bang (!) be it with flavour or nutrients or both!
Basics: Mix of leafy greens. Mix of legumes / beans (can be canned). Kale-slaw. Cruciferous veg like: cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage, brussels (can be frozen). Fruit. Marinated tofu / tempeh. Plant based burgers.
Bangs: Nutritional yeast. Hummus. Dairy free pesto. Mixed seeds. Mixed nuts. Coconut yoghurt. Sun-dried tomatoes. Olives. Marinated artichokes.
Moving onto some of my personal favs to modify just one type of meal on mass… let’s say you start with a batch of tempeh chilli mince. I share the recipe in show #512: How To Turn 3 Vegan Supermarket Staples Into 9 Plant Strong Meals. Here are a few options:
- Tempeh mince nachos: use a mix of cos lettuce and kale crisps for the nachos. Add raw veg like carrot, red onion, corn, tomato and avocado. Finish with dairy free cheese or nutritional yeast plus a sprinkle of your fav seeds (perhaps hemp and pumpkin).
- Tempeh mince tacos: use cabbage or collard leaves for the tacos. Add raw veg like carrot, capsicum, beetroot, coriander and avocado. Finish with coconut yoghurt plus a sprinkle of your fav seeds (perhaps hemp and pumpkin).
- Tempeh mince sushi: start with nori sheets. Add cauli-rice (mixed with nutritional yeast) plus carrot, cucumber, sun-dried tomato and avocado. If you’re feeling a little less lazy baked sweet potato is a fab addition.
- Tempeh mince pasta: start with spiralised zucchini. Add lightly steamed extra veg perhaps snow peas and asparagus. Finish with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast plus a tablespoon of hemp seeds.
- Tempeh mince stuffed portobello mushrooms: add a tablespoon of dairy free pesto to your portobello cap mushroom. Fill with mince. Bake till mushy is cooked and mince is heated. Finish with a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato cashew cheese and serve with extra greens like brussel crisps or broccoli steak.
- Tempeh mince bowl: to your mince add steamed bok choy, asparagus and mushroom. Baked edamame. Sliced avocado. Dulse leave (red seaweed).
I hope hearing these options has got your mind marinating so far as some easy vegan options you could work into your eating routine.
To get actionable today if you can relate to wasting time and energy on food decisions that test your discipline and tempt you to make poor choices you’ll later regret I’d love you to,
- Decide on THE meal (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)that would have the most positive impact on the rest of your daily food choices.
- Choose a specific meal that has worked for you in the past as a lazy non vegan.
- Give that meal a make-over to make it:plant based and able to be made on mass.
That’s it for this week in Healthification. Huge gratitude to YOU for sharing this week with me. I respect your time and appreciate your support – so Thank you!
The Healthification podcast is proudly bought to you by my FREE ‘Easy Vegan’ plan. It took me 25 years to transition from a meat eater to a happy, healthy Vegan! You can do it in just 3 days with my simplified ‘easy vegan’ plan! Get the fit, strong, and healthy plant based body you deserve… while avoiding ALL the mistakes I made along the way!
To learn more check out: strongbodygreenplanet.com
Till next time, remember Creating a body and life you love is Freedom. (If this ex-carb queen, NON-genetically gifted, naturally uncoordinated VEGAN-chick can do it – so can YOU!!!)
If you liked ‘I’m Too Lazy To Be A Vegan!‘ you’ll also like: Escaping The Negativity Bias
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