I am Dr. Monique May, Board-certified Family Physician and Founder of Physician in the Kitchen™. Through my best-selling book, MealMasters: Your Simple Guide to Modern Day Meal Planning, and NEW cookbook, Doc Fix My Plate! The Physician In The Kitchen’s Prescriptions For Your Healthy Meal Makeover, and online cooking classes, I help busy households enjoy healthy eating without impacting their hectic schedules. smoothie
Hello MealMasters! People choose to adopt vegan or other lifestyles for a variety of reasons, and they are usually related to improving their health. They may want to eliminate the need for medications to treat their cholesterol or high blood sugar, or maybe they want to lose a few pounds to reach an ideal or preferred weight.
By cutting out animal protein, you may notice an improvement in chronic conditions such as joint pain or kidney disease. You may also decrease your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
In addition to the known health benefits of a plant-based diet, I truly enjoy experimenting and testing recipes featuring vegetables or other plant-based foods. I also get to create in my “lab” while using my many kitchen gadgets and appliances.
This year I am chronicling my journey toward more plant-based meals, and I am sharing with my readers my favorite foods, along with tips and tricks I have discovered along the way.
D is for dairy replacements: Part of the challenges and rewards of adopting a more plant-based diet has been finding simple and easy-to-find (or make) replacements for milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. My favorites so far, by category, are:
Soy, coconut, almond milk. These milk options are unsweetened and are a good source of calcium. They have no cholesterol and very little sodium. Also, they contain no trans fat and either no or very little saturated fat. I use them as 1:1 replacements for any recipe that calls for cow’s milk.
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Plant butter. I use the Country Crock brand that offers olive oil, avocado, and almond varieties, and prefer the olive oil one. Speaking of olive oil, although it is not a dairy product, I will go ahead and mention it here because I sometimes use them interchangeably (for sautéing vegetables, for example), but it will get its own article in the future. I use these butters to make my vegan and gluten-free pound cakes and honestly do not miss dairy butter at all!
These butters are a blend of plant-based oils, including palm, canola, and olive. As such, they do contain small amounts of saturated fats, but no trans fats at all. Saturated fats are considered “unhealthy” and should comprise no more than 10% of your daily calories, so eating low amounts are probable okay.
Compared to dairy butter, however, it is a much better option. Both saturated and trans fat can raise your bad cholesterol (or LDL as we call it), and as a result, increase your risk for heart disease that can lead to heart attacks. However, trans fats are the most harmful because they