There is a food movement picking up steam and it’s called plant based eating. It seems I get asked almost daily what I think about plant based nutrition. For two fitness professionals (my husband Justin and myself) who have followed macro-based meal planning for nearly a decade, we personally took an interest in the concept and wondered if it would be possible to reduce animal based proteins and still live by our macro-based nutrition plans? For years we thought there was no way we could eat enough protein from plants and beans to still “hit our numbers”. We couldn’t imagine a meal plan that didn’t feature chicken and turkey as it’s main protein sources. Could we add more plant based proteins, healthy seafoods, etc. and reduce animal based proteins?
Aside from growing tired of chicken, pork, and turkey, we had some plant based inspiration from two documentaries. We were a little late to the game, watching 2008 documentary Food, Inc. just last year in 2019. This movie examines the US agricultural business and claims that the food is unhealthy and produced in a manner harmful to our environment and abusive to both people and animals. To say we were turned off from livestock would be an understatement. We had already had our issues with chicken texture, quality, taste, etc., but to see how they are raised, kept and slaughtered was really icing on the cake. Of course there was still the issue of how could we possibly eat enough beans to hit our protein needs? So next, at the end of 2019 we watched the incredibly popular 2018 documentary The Game Changers which follows elite athletes not just surviving but thriving on plant-based nutrition. For years we’ve thought only protein from animals could sustain muscle mass but now our wheels started turning that maybe plant based alternatives could at least partially serve our protein needs and allow us to reduce/eliminate livestock.
So shortly after Christmas 2019 we decided to 86 chicken, pork and turkey from our macro-based weekday cooking. Trust me that was a lot of our everyday eating. If you look through my recipes on my Healthy Eats blog there are many that feature these proteins. So for the past month and a half we’ve filled our protein macros with bean pastas, tofu, fish/seafood, lentils, chickpeas, eggs, grass-fed beef/bison/elk, and nuts. I know we aren’t the first to coin the term “partially plant-based” but it really is how we are eating now. We focus more on the quality of food and less on the quantity of meat. We’re developing yummy recipes that go beyond just beans and allow for us to still live within our macro-based nutrition. Soon, we’ll have a “partially plant based” recipe section to compliment our other clean eating recipes so you too can dabble in the nutrition that has us feeling great.
We are by no means suggesting everyone should boycott chicken, pork and turkey but for us it just felt like it was time for a change. It’s only been about a month and a half with these changes in place so are we stronger, leaner, healthier? Well it’s hard to answer that because we were already in a good spot health wise. We’ve kept lean physiques for years with our macro-based nutrition. We eat clean and train mean all week long then we live life to the fullest on the weekends. We love to have fun with our family & friends which includes delicious eats and drinks on the weekend. So for us it wasn’t about losing weight or even growing muscle; for us it was about changing the quality of our macro intakes. So far so good. We feel well fed, the food is yummy, and workouts have by no means suffered, you could even say they’ve been better fueled.
We are now more informed and better educated on the concept of plant-based eating. You could certainly go full plant-based and still live by a macro plan. For us, partially plant-based is where we are most comfortable but who knows, we could go “all in” at some point! Stay tuned for recipe inspiration…