Understanding Plant Based Diets

"Organic Vegetarian Vegan Food Collage Bright Mood” by KEKO64 freedigitalphotos.net
“Organic Vegetarian Vegan Food Collage Bright Mood” by KEKO64 freedigitalphotos.net

Plant based diets…Seems relatively straight forward, but for many it can be an overwhelming challenge of completely revamping ones lifestyle. Not to fear! Plant based diets are what humans have thrived on for thousands of years and it includes countless benefits to your health, the environment and animal welfare. In this age, finding completely plant based recipes to satisfy your cravings are all over the internet and I can promise you that youll find something to combat your needfor dairy and other animal products. So whether it be for the positive influences plant based diets have on our planet, the suffering of factory farmed animals or for your personal health, I want to help you transition successfully into consuming completely plant based!

I do however encourage you to seriously consider the ethical standards and environmental impacts consuming animal products has on our planet before making a transition to a plant based diet as it can keep you motivated in the long-term. If you are interested in watching some seriously motivating documentaries or reading through some news articles, send me a message and Id be so incredibly excited to help you out! But if youre not, thats okay too, hopefully some of my tips can assist you with your transition.

What is a plant based diet?

A plant based diet focuses on consuming whole, minimally refined plants. Vegetables, fruits, tubers, whole grains and legumes help make up a plant based diet whereas meats (including seafood), eggs, dairy products, bleached white flours, white sugar and oils do not. Now, reading that and jumping straight into a plant based diet will not be the best tactic. As complicated or as simple as that sounded to you, I assure you that you will be able to enjoy food items and recipes that were very similar to what you were eating before, just all plant based! But again, not to worry, I will be listing some of my favourite simple, delicious and healthy recipes to help make your transition a breeze.

Why bother eating a plant based diet?

  • Veggies are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and high fibre contents to keep your body a healthy and happy one!

  • Plant based diets can help to avoid developing diseases of affluence such as obesity or high blood pressure.

  • Animal products are incredibly acid-forming which leads to loss of bone density, however, plant based products are alkalizing which drives the formation and development of strong and healthy bones.

  • Plant based foods contain ZERO cholesterol, where as animal products such as eggs and hamburgers are loaded with it. This provides us with a simple and natural way to lower high cholesterol levels.

  • Eating a low-fat and whole food diet is one of the best ways to help keep you cancer free. Animal products have been linked to cancers, especially breast and colon cancer and given that breast cancer rates have gone up 30% since 1975 in women and men (reference Breastcancerfund.org), steering clear of animal products and transitioning to a plant based diet can potentially have a major positive influence on your health.

  • Weight loss naturally occurs when one consumes more fibre, vitamins and minerals than animal products and byproducts, so generally within the first two weeks of eating plant based, individuals tend to lose up to 5 pounds.

So lets get into the transition! Making a major change in your life always comes with difficulties, so be prepared to face upcoming challenges with an open mind and a positive, optimistic attitude.

After doing some hunting online, Ive gathered that there are generally 2 ways to go about transitioning to a total plant based diet.

  1. Small Steps

    “Stairway To Forest” by lkunl freedigitalphotos.net
    “Stairway To Forest” by lkunl freedigitalphotos.net

If the idea of getting rid of everything youre familiar with in your fridge sounds terrifying, this could be for you! If youre currently eating all meats along with a variety of yummy veggies, think of what type of meat you eat the least of and cut it completely out of your diet. This will make for such an easy transition youll be laughing about it. If you love chicken, then let it stick around in your meals until youve cut out all seafood and fish. From there, begin to cut out various single items every week, two weeks or two months. The pace is up to you, but set something for yourself that you know youll be able to handle so you don’t fall back into your old ways.

Once you have made the complete transition to a vegetarian diet (no animals or seafood), its time to focus in on dairy. At first, try to seriously reduce your dairy intake for 4-5 days of the week. Then begin to cut it out completely for 4-10 days. Since dairy products cause some of the worst damage to our bodies youll be able to feel a difference once you eliminate them from your diet especially after 30 days. While eliminating various food items be sure to add in more plant based products to your diet. Whether thats adding in leafy greens to your morning omelette or drinking a green smoothie (no dairy!!) every evening, begin to incorporate the foods that youll soon eat exclusively. Leave the products like honey to the end as they tend to be the easiest of switches. Swap that teaspoon of honey in your morning tea with a teaspoon of agave and voila!!!

2. Dive right in

photo credit: David Castillo Dominici freedigitalphotos.net
photo credit: David Castillo Dominici freedigitalphotos.net

If number 1 didn’t seem right for you, this way might be your way! If youre the type of person to throw everything you got at somethingthen diving right in to consuming a plant based diet may be your best way to transition. Set a date and go right ahead. Do read through some of my tips above though, to have an idea of what youre getting into.

Now Ive listed the benefits and gave tips on transitioning, but shopping, planning meals and cooking for a plant based diet also requires some knowledge. So lets get into that.

Grocery List

This list is copied right off of my personal grocery listso lets hope you find it somewhat helpful. Most items listed here are organic. For me I always choose the organic/Fair Trade option first and then go for the non-organic stuff if there is no other choice. Also.. remember your bags!!!


These are just some ideas of what to purchase for fresh produce. If youre more fond of other veggies or fruits grab those instead (just not potatoes). If youre never home and are worried about things going bad, then purchase more frozen organic fruits and veggies instead, they’ll be perfect for morning smoothies.

  • 2 bunches Fair trade/organic bananas *they sell these at Vita Health*

  • 12 Organic apples

  • Organic lemons

  • Organic medjool dates *also sold in bulk at Vita Health*

  • 1 bag chopped kale/spinach

  • Head of cauliflower or broccoli

  • 2 Avocados

  • Organic blueberries

  • Zucchini or eggplant

  • 2 cloves garlic


Remember to bring your reusable cloth bags for bulk stuff (If youre looking to find these, we have two great options available at Generation Green)

  • Quinoa (rainbow, white.. whatever floats your boat, *we sell organic quinoa here at Generation Green*

  • Raw almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds *also find at organic at Generation Green*

  • Beans or legumes

  • Sesame seeds *also find at organic at Generation Green*


If you’d rather purchase some of the above items in cans or larger quantity packaged bags, feel free! Do however check out the packaging and opt for the most recyclable/compostable option.

  • 1 Bag of gluten-free, GMO free oats *try Adagio Acres here at Generation Green*

  • 2 cans of organic chickpeas

  • 1 bag of organic, raw flaxseed

  • 1 carton of non-dairy unsweetened milk (almond or hemp) *find at organic at Generation Green*

  • Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts *also find at organic at Generation Green*

  • Goji berries *also find at organic at Generation Green*

  • Gluten, oil free bread and vegan bread (optional)

  • Fair Trade ceylon cinnamon *find that here at Generation Green*

recipesEasy Recipes

Ill list a few key ones that have worked out best for me, but sites like One Green Planet and Forks Over Knives have some wicked delicious recipes that you can always check out.



The easy option here is a smoothie of some sort. My dear friend and co-worker Savannah makes a smoothie of 6 bananas or 10-15 dates every morning, and since both of these things are loaded with potassium, fibre and other essential nutrients it’s a great way to easily digest something to help keep you going until your next meal. If that’s not your thing, combine greens, berries, bananas and some non-dairy milk for your smoothie


1/2 cup cooked oatmeal

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tbsp. sunflower seeds

1 tbsp. Hemp Hearts

1 tbsp. goji berries

With your breakfast, have a glass of hot lemon water instead of a cup of caffeinated coffee to help get things moving.


Spinach & Kale salad

2 cups of greens

1/2 cup chickpeas

1/2 of a mashed avocado

1 tbsp. Hemp Hearts

1/4 cup almonds or cashews

Oil-free Hummus

1 can chickpeas

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp. non-dairy milk

juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds


  1. Add garlic cloves to a food processor until finely minced. Add in drained chickpeas and continue to pulse until finely chopped.

  2. Add in all other ingredients and pulse until mixture is completely smooth.

  3. Salt and pepper to taste, feel free to add paprika or top with fresh herbs.

Eggplant Sandwich

Thinly sliced eggplant

2 tbsp oil-free hummus


palm sized handful of greens


  1. Roast or fry two thinly sliced pieces of eggplant.

  2. Spread a layer of hummus over each slice of eggplant, add your greens and top with sprouts. Feel free to salt and pepper to taste.


Quinoa Salad

1-2 cups of cooked quinoa

1 cup of blueberries

1/2 cup chickpeas

1/2 cup of sliced dates

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup beans

  1. Cook quinoa and chill for 20-40 minutes

  2. Add in all other ingredients to your cold quinoa, feel free to add in some balsamic vinegar for extra flavour.


Baked Apple

1-2 organic apples

3 tbsp. ground ceylon cinnamon

  1. Cube the apples, or cut in half

  2. Add your cinnamon

  3. Bake in your oven or microwave until warm

Like I said before, there are thousands of plant based recipes out there online, and these few that I have suggested are just some of the things that I repeat constantly. Find what works easiest for you and stick to a few key recipes throughout your journey. I wish you the best of luck with your transition and remember to preserve through your challenges!

Article written by Dallas Gillingham

August Staff Product Picks

Max are you listening?
Max are you listening?

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Just recently I tried out my first cup of certified organic and wildly harvested Canadian chaga tea from Annanda Chaga, and well…. I was more than pleasantly surprised. I’ve never tasted a tea so truly earthy before (I guess I’m pretty bad at describing tastes… but it was wicked).

I never was a huge tea drinker, it had always just tasted like watered down nothingness to me, but after I made a commitment to quit caffeine I needed something other than hot lemon water to keep me lovin life. So I tried various caffeine free, organic and fair trade teas but found nothing I fell in love with. I’m not saying I’m in LOVE with chaga just yet, but I’m certainly on the journey towards falling head over heels for this wonderful super food.

Chaga grows naturally on living birch trees, and slowly harnesses the strength, nutrients and longevity of living trees into a concentrated form. This makes chaga one of the most nutrient dense and powerful superfoods found on our planet! It’s been traditionally used for thousands of years to prevent diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancers while benefiting the organs and immune system. For me, the prevention aspect of drinking chaga is what drew me in.

In our modern world of medicine there is so much talk of promoting awareness for various cancers and solving a wide spectrum of health issues with prescription medication.  Now I’m not saying this aspect of medicine is completely wrong, but I do believe there needs to be a shift to promoting and discussing prevention which in turn, will lead to less talk and need for treatment. I want to protect my future self as much as I possibly can now , and chaga is helping me do just that! So lets protect our future selves, lets  fall in love with chaga. Purchase chaga in our online store through this link.

I literally drink it out of the bottle on the go!

Sherry’s Pick – GLA Borage Oil from Lorna Vanderhaeghe 

You know how you have those certain products that if you stop taking/using them you immediately notice? Well GLA is one of those for me and that’s why I’ve chosen it as my pick this month!

GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) is an Omega-6 essential fatty acid that the body doesn’t produce but is essential for optimal health.   Borage is one of the  best sources of GLA and is available in either an oil form or in a softgel capsule. Not only can you take it orally, but you can also use it topically on your skin.

As I have aged it’s been really important to me to pay special attention to my skin, in hopes of delaying the aging skin effects for as long as possible! I believe the best way to combat is from the inside!  Lorna Vanderhaeghe, a women’s health expert, has written many books, but an excellent resource is her book “Beautiful Skin Begins Within” (which I can offer you for free when you purchase any of Lorna’s skincare products).  Lorna talks specifically of GLA in the book noting that GLA is what will help maintain healthy, glowing skin and prevent aging and wrinkles!   I can totally attest to the glow it gives my skin! I also noticed a huge improvement with moisture retention. If you don’t think you can take it by the spoonful, we also have it available in capsule.  I personally just add it into my morning smoothie.

Not only does GLA benefit our aging skin, but it is offers amazing results for those suffering with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and even acne.  Also great for breast health and will help with period pain.  Stop by Generation Green and we can talk more about healthy, glowing skin! Purchase Lorna Vanderhaege’s GLA Borage Oil here through this link.

Did I mention how much I love Hemp Hearts!

Ana’s Pick – Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

This product is a staple in my fridge and it’s so easy to incorporate into your diet. I love hemp hearts! The fact that they are also a Manitoba product just has me head over heels!

Packed with omega’s, digestible proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, this product not only tastes awesome, but is super mega good for you!  I absolutely cannot pass up these little, tender, delicious, nutty tasting seeds when it comes to yogurt, smoothies, baking (hello banana bread, cookies, etc, etc), stir fry, salads…lets be honest, pretty much everything gets a little sprinkle. I’ll also admit I often just eat them straight from the bag…that’s how good they are.

This product is vegan, non GMO project verified, made with 100% wind power (so cool), all natural, and raw! …did I mention Manitoba? As a super fan of our awesome province, I love all things local and these are right up there with my faves. Please do yourself a favor and try them! At Generation Green we have other products from Manitoba Harvest as well, such as the new Hemp Heart Bites (a drool worthy quick and easy snack), and Hemp Protein Powder.  Purchase Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts in our online store here through this link.

This is pure Mango Magic!
This is pure Mango Magic!

Savannah’s Pick – Level Ground Trading Mango Dried Fruit

Mmmmango…. Is my August pick! What could be a better summer snack than some fruit? How about some organic, fair trade, totally natural fruit!

Dried Mango is definitely one of my favourite snack foods here at Generation Green!  Brought to us by a fantastic company called Level Ground Trading, a super ethical distributor with only the best food products.

Level Ground Trading is not just offering certified fair-trade products, they participate in direct fair-trade. This is debatably even more beneficial than just having the fair-trade certification. The fair-trade certification itself means that the farm and farmers deal with the fair-trade cooperative which then distributes their product. This is a fabulous program, but the benefit of direct fair-trade is that the farmers deal directly with the company selling their product. Direct fair-trade accounts for even more ethical production, lower costs, and eliminates the need for a large cooperation. Level Ground Trading is very open and honest about their production and company, and produces plenty of literature on the topics.

The other best part is that the ingredient list consists of solely “dried organic mango”. That’s it! No sweeteners, preservatives or sulphites! Just the benefits of eating the most suitable food for your body.

PS. Level Ground Trading also has organic, fair-trade, Dried Pineapple, Tropical Fruit Mix, and Exotic Fruit Mix.


Sampling Sunday – May 25th, 2014

Our line up for Sampling Sunday…

1531822_617129505046196_1310649921233918724_nInside at Generation Green from 1-4 PM, we have Gold Winner in the Great Manitoba Food Fight,  food developer Jill Tanner offering samples of her ridiculously amazing Jamore!



Outside at The Forks Farmers Market, which runs from 11-4 PM, we will be offering samples of her equally delicious, Thrive Vegan Bars.526159_288974047861745_2141582514_n

Both of these products have no refined sugar, no preservatives, they taste amazing and best of all, they’re made in Manitoba!


photo by: Shannon VanRaes
photo by: Shannon VanRaes