In this episode of The Grown-Up Girls Report Podcast, Alex dissects the plant based diet with the help of Nutritional Medicine Practitioner Petra Hooyenga.

Inspired by her viewing of Netflix’s The Game Changers, Alex tries to get to the bottom of what plant based really means with great advice from Petra. Together, they discuss the health benefits of the plant based approach and Petra also shares some great advice on how to make this work for a busy family.

About Petra

After a successful corporate career, Petra retrained as a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner in her early 40’s. After her daughter was diagnosed with a genetic condition, Petra embarked in a journey of discovery, determined that there must be something that she could do to help. She became intrigued by the concept of epigentics and the ability to positively influence genes using food and the environment.

Like so many of us, Petra started to question her true calling in her 40’s. She decided that she could put the knowledge she had acquired through her quest to help her daughter could be put to good use so she undertook professional study to become a nutritional medicine practitioner. Petra has a practice in Pymble in Sydney.

Petra’s Advice for a Plant Based Diet

Petra recommends taking a gradual approach to eating plant based. Take it step-by-step and don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t be dogmatic. Remember that the athletes interviewed in The Game Changers have an incredibly high level of natural discipline – so break it down and keep it real!

Try to crown out your diet with vegetables. Don’t make it a slog! Rather than focus on what you are missing out on, ask yourself – what can I add to my diet that will add more health and energy?

Petra doesn’t believe that eating plant based is a fad rather it is a lifestyle that has enormous health benefits. So much of the science shows us that we need more plant based foods. Before we started becoming reliant on heavily processed foods, we were all eating more whole foods. It is no surprise that chronic illness and disease increased as more processed foods became available.

You don’t need to completely exclude animal products from your diet if your goal is to improve your health and wellness, Rather, see them as a sometimes food – a small steak once a week .

So many of us are making poor choices with our diet and therefore depriving our bodies of the nutrients they need. The combination of not eating broadly enough with processed foods means many of us could become susceptible to health issues.

Yes, you can get enough protein without eating meat! There are 20 amino acids that we require, 9 of them are only available through food. Animal based products do have the 9 amino acids available in just 1 piece of food while the only plant based food that has the 9 key nutrients is soy. But, it is a myth that we need to have these 9 essential nutrients in each food. So, if you eat broadly, over the span of the day you will definitely be able to consume the 9 essential amino acids via plant food alone. The only 3 amino acids that you need to be mindful of are iron, B12 and fatty acids – these can be easily supplemented. In fact. most carnivores will require supplementation here as well.

How To Make Plant Based Eating Work for a Family?

Petra recommends taking small steps when starting to incorporate plant based eating into your diet. Perhaps, start with one meal and then when you are happy with that, add another.

Breakfast – why not add some peanut butter to some high quality bread, whip up a green smoothie with chia seeds or help protein or have some fruit. If you can load your day with clean, plant based eating then it will not only set your up for a great day but also ensure you are maximising the opportunities for nutrients.

Lunch – dinner leftovers are great here. Also, try to step away from the sandwich concept and instead start to embrace salads. Quinoa salads are the perfect lunch – can add chopped herbs, black beans,chick peas, avocado. Why not add some hummus to the kids lunchboxes with cut of vegie sticks or even consider making sushi rolls with quinoa?

Dinner – please go for whole foods and avoid processed foods altogether. If you like soy, try to find proper fermented soy. Use lentils instead of meat in curries. You could make a lentil curry for dinner, then turn it into a hearty bowl for lunch by adding some spinach and then add some water and you have a soup for dinner the following night! Easy!

Always ensure flavour is a big part because you’ll get less complaints! Remember food is about sharing, connection and bring people together – don’t lose sight of that!

Keep your pantry stocked with basics: quinoa, beans, corn and chia seeds.

Free 3 Day Plant Based Meal Plan

Petra has kindly put together a free 3 day plant based meal plan for all listeners of the podcast. Simply visit Petra’s website , add the 3 day plant based cleanse to your cart and simply apply the coupon V2MW7E48 when you check out. Easy!

Listen via the link below, or via your favourite podcast app.

Quinoa Salad

Totally inspired by her chat with Petra and ‘The Game Changers’, Alex shares a recipe for a healthy quinoa salad which the majority of her tribe of boys have endorsed!! There’s always one!! Click here to view the recipe. Alex x