Have you ever wanted to speed date a lifestyle? Maybe get a taste for what said lifestyle or diet may be like before really divining in and committing? This may be the guide just for you!

While it’s difficult to tell how a diet feels and affects your mind and body until you’ve given it a good whirl for a couple of weeks, its reasonable to say that you can get the gist of the food entailed in said diet by eating an entire day strictly adhering to the rules.

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Below is an weekly plant-based program for seven days of healthy eating, each day prescribed to one of the popular plant-based diets or food trends.

We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App  — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!

Meatless Mondays

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To be honest, Meatless Monday isn’t necessarily a lifestyle per se, but more of a slight lifestyle change that could potentially make an incredibly dramatic and positive impact on our bodies and the environment. The movement was launched in 2003 and has grown exponentially over the last decade.

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It’s a “global movement with a simple message: one day a week, cut the meat,” and, through this promotion, they hope to “reduce meat consumption by 15 [percent] for our personal health and the health of the planet.” In fact, Meatless Monday is a “non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, working in collaboration with the Center for Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.”

Luckily for the Meatless Monday movement, one of the most popularized and innovative developments over the last decade when it comes to plant-based eating is replacing meat. There are a host of alternative options that either mimic meat — if you’re really jonesing — or complete plant substitutes — if you’re already completely detoxed from meat. Here’s a full day of meatless eating to give you a taste for the meatless life!

Breakfast

Cheesy Tofu Breakfast Bagel/One Green Planet

For those that regularly start your day with a few strips of bacon, maybe a slab of ham, or even a carne asada breakfast burrito, you’re actually in luck when it comes to cutting out the meat! Even if you’re a true egg-head, there are alternatives just for you. Try a few of these amazing meatless breakfast recipes for your Meatless Monday.

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If you’re looking for plant-based meat substitutes, try these: Baked Smoky Carrot Bacon, ‘Bacon’ and Maple Syrup Pancakes, Cheesy Tofu Breakfast Bagel, Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy, Tomato and Parsley Quiche, or this Croissants Stuffed With Dill Scrambled Tofu and Chive Aioli.

If you’re looking for complete meat or ‘meat’ substitute free, yet super filling recipes, try these: Pop Tart Croissant with Peanut Butter Filling, Oatmeal Pancakes, Perfect Breakfast Bagels with Tomato and Basil, Couscous Breakfast Bowl, Savory Pizza Porridge, Healthy Chunky Monkey Pudding Parfait, and Autumn Waffles With Pear Mille Feuille.

If you’re looking for on-the-go meatless recipes, try these: Breakfast Bread (with some Ten-Minute Chia Jam or Vegan Butter), Strawberry-Oat Scones with Coconut Butter Glaze, Ultimate Detox Green Smoothie, Matcha Avocado Smoothie, Banana Coconut Cashew Granola, Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, Everything Bagels from Scratch, or these Yogi Date Balls.

Make sure to swap out that dairy creamer as well with one of these totally delicious and creamy plant-based alternatives: Vanilla Nut Coffee Creamer, Amaretto Coffee Creamer, or this Almond-Macadamia Nut Creamer.

Lunch

Tempeh Meatball Subs with Roasted Veggie Marinara and Homemade Buns/One Green Planet

The middle of the day meal is probably the easiest to go without that meat! In general, many lunch-friendly meals also happen to be meat-free such as salads, wraps, or munchie concoctions such as granola. Yet, there’s always that meaty sandwich to turn to, therefore here are a few recipes to help you stay on your Meatless Monday challenge.

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If you’re a sandwich eater: The Ultimate Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Ultimate Veggie Sandwich, Tempeh Meatball Subs with Roasted Veggie Marinara and Homemade Buns, Hearts of Palm Lobster Rolls, Grilled Cuban Tofu Sandwich, Cuban Jackfruit Sandwiches, or this Mushroom and Spinach Sandwich.

If you’re a wrap eater: Peanut Tofu Wrap, Mexican Quinoa Wraps, Falafel Wraps with Avocado Salsa, Grilled Cauliflower Doner Wraps, Mushrooms and Jicama Lettuce Wraps, or this Buffalo Sweet Potato, Black Rice, and Avocado Wrap.

Remember that mayonnaise is also animal-based, so try swapping it out for this Homemade Mayonnaise!

Dinner

Spicy Lime Cauliflower Steaks/One Green Planet

Alright, so dinner may be the most difficult of the meals to cut meat from. Most meat-eating individuals are pretty used to that side of stead, chicken, fish, or what have you. To help you round out your meatless day, here are some traditionally meat-heavy dinner meals completely made from healthy plant-based ingredients!

Jonesing for steak? try some of these recipes: Peppered Tofu Steaks, Spicy Lime Cauliflower Steaks, or this Portobello Mushrooms Steaks.

Cooking meatloaf for the family? Here are a few to try out: Lentils Loaf with Celery Root Mash, Chickpea Loaf with Maple Glaze, or this Black Bean Loaf.

Fish fans? Swap out the fish for these alternatives: Coconut-Crusted Fishless Sticks, Crispy Battered ‘Fish’, or these Oyster Mushroom Scallops with Nasturtium Pesto.

Going traditional with chicken? We’ve got ya covered: Easy Healthy Orange Chicken, Sweet and Hot Chicken-less Cashew Stir Fry, Comforting ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup, or this Fried “Chicken” and Gravy.

Dairy-Free Tuesdays

jennyleenaguirre/Pixabay

While Meatless Mondays are an excellent place to begin your journey to a healthier body and planet, choosing at least one day to go dairy-free is yet another huge step in the right direction.

Dairy is not only linked to increased anxiety, but it’s also high in saturated fat, which, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine links to higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and particular types of cancers including ovarian, breast, and prostate.

Plus, there are countless folks suffering from digestive conditions that may be linked to lactose intolerance and they don’t even know it! Lactose intolerance is a fairly common condition “affecting about 95 percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians.”

With that said, for those that have been consuming diary their entire life, kicking this addictive food item is much harder actually done than said. Therefore, start with one day! Make Tuesdays your dairy-free day! Play around with alternatives, experiment with nut-based milk and cheese, try out a vegan mayonnaise or butter option. Here are some great recipes for each meal of the day to get you started!

Breakfast

Orange, Ginger, and Fig Granola/One Green Planet

Maybe you’re a little freaked out about starting your day without that bowl of granola or cereal brimming with milk? No fear! There’s a milk alternative out there for anyone and everyone. From the classic soy or almond milk to new-fangled creamy and fat-filled concoctions such as oat, macadamia, and coconut, you’ll find one that meets your texture and taste desire!

Here are a few recipes to get you started on a bowl of dairy-free Tuesday morning cereal, granola, or oats: Orange, Ginger, and Fig Granola, Pumpkin, Orange, and Rosemary Oatmeal, Toasted Quinoa Cereal with Pistachios and Figs, Vanilla Oatmeal, Gingerbread Hazelnut Granola, Beet ‘n’ Berry Overnight Cauliflower Oats, Chocolate Puffed Cereal, 3-Ingredient Berry Cereal, or this Turmeric Granola with Goldenberry.

Lunch Vegan artichoke and pesto hummus sandwich

Source: Artichoke and Pesto Hummus Sandwich

When it comes to dairy and lunch, you’ll want to be careful about those cheese slices on sandwiches or shredded cheese on a salad. If you’re a huge yogurt fan, no worries! You can still have delightful, dairy-free yogurt, generally made from coconut or soy. Try out some of these dairy-free lunch-geared recipes next Tuesday!

Cheese-free sandwiches and wraps: Chickpea Tuna Salad Sandwich, Homemade Everything Bagel BLT, Mayim Bialik’s Reuben Sandwich, French Twist Wrap with Dijon-Maple Sauce and Cheese Dip, Artichoke and Pesto Hummus Sandwich, or this Coconut Pistachio Cashew Cheese Panini with Cranberry Jam.

Salads with dairy-free cheese: Golden Beet Salad, Greek Salad with Tofu Feta, Warm Mushroom Parmesan Salad, or this Cheesy Cashew Cream Stuffed Figs with a Salad.

Dairy-free yogurt: Homemade Cashew Yogurt, Cherry Chocolate Yogurt Cups, Avocado Banana Yogurt, Peach, Raspberry, and Coconut Yogurt Chia Pudding, Raw Fermented Coconut Yogurt, Berry and Fennel Salad With Coconut Yogurt, or this Homemade Coconut Cashew Yogurt.

Dinner

Cheesy Pull Bread/One Green Planet

Luckily, dinner is pretty easy to go dairy-free! While breakfast and lunch are easily associated with sweet flavors, dinner is generally more on the savory side of things. With that said, there are a few staple foods that have somehow been paired with cheese that may need a bit of tweaking (most of these are classic comfort foods!). Some of the most popular cheese-accompanied dinner food items include rice, bread (think pizza), pasta (macaroni and cheese, in particular), and potatoes.

Instead of pairing these comfort foods with dairy cheese, why not keep your favorites, but try out a cheese alternative next Tuesday? Here are a few recipes to try out!

Stick with your favorite cheesy rice, yet take note from these dairy-free cheese-filled recipes: Cheesy Sprouted Brown Rice With Baby Spinach and Mushrooms, Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Brown Rice Bake, Cheesy Spinach and Cilantro Rice, Cheesy Turmeric Cauliflower Rice, or this Spanish Style Nourish Bowl with Cheese Sauce.

When it comes to bread, there’s really nothing better than some melted cheese! Here are some combos that are dairy-free: Cheesy Pull Bread, Cashew Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl, Bread Dunkers with Cheese Sauce, Pizza Soup with ‘Cheesy’ Croutons, Cheesy Stromboli, or this Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza With Blue Cheeze Spread.

Dinner just simply wouldn’t be right without a pasta cheese concoction! Try a few of these out next Tuesday: Broccoli ‘Cheese’ Pasta Bake, Pumpkin 3-Cheese Pasta, Zucchini Pasta With Creamy Cheese Sauce, Cheesy Cashew Cream Pasta, or this Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

Last, but definitely not least, try pairing your favorite potatoes with some dairy-free cheese, such as in these recipes: Cheesy Potato Skins With Coconut Bacon, Loaded Cheesy Baked Potato Bites, Creamy Scalloped Potatoes With Thyme, ‘Cheesy’ Fried Potato Croquettes, or this Cheesy Leek and Celeriac-Potato Gratin.

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Einladung_zum-Essen/PIxabay

Alright, so when we’re talking about gluten-free it’s important to note the difference between gluten-free by personal choice, gluten-free due to sensitivity, and gluten-free due to Celiac disease.

Those who suffer from Celiac disease absolutely have to avoid any food product with gluten out of medical necessity. Celiac disease is an “immune disease in which people can’t eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine.” When someone who suffers from Celiac consumes gluten, their “immune system responds by damaging the small intestine.”

While Celiac isn’t uncommon, most of us steer clear of gluten due to a Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), which is “diagnosed in people who experience symptoms after eating gluten but test negative for wheat allergy and celiac disease.” NCGS is oftentimes characterized by mental fatigue, bodily fatigue, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, sometimes vomiting, and headaches after consuming gluten.

If you’re thinking that gluten may be in part to blame for some bodily symptoms, it never hurts to give a gluten-free diet a whirl! Yet, before diving full-fledged into the regimen, how about trying out gluten-free Wednesdays? See what it takes to go a day without gluten and learn how many food products actually contain gluten (hint … it’s not just bread, pasta, and cereal!).

Breakfast

Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bars/One Green Planet

When it comes to breakfast, there is actually a slew of gluten-free, delicious options to replace your favorite gluten-filled foods. For instance, you can still make those lovely baked breakfast goods such as muffins, pancakes, and sweet bread. All you need is to find that perfect flour substitute such as chickpea, tapioca, almond, buckwheat, or coconut! Oftentimes, it’s a mixture of a few to get the right consistency. On top of that, go crazy with homemade gluten-free granola, cereal, chia pudding, and oats!

Get your gluten-free bake on with these recipes: The Miracle Bread, Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bars, Protein Breakfast Bars, Banana Bread Breakfast Muffins, Cosmic Blueberry Pancakes, Cardamom Persimmon Scones With Maple-Persimmon Cream, Blueberry Glazed Doughnuts, or these Sweet Molasses Brown Bread.

Can’t go without a bowl of granola, pudding, or cereal? Here are a few gluten-free options: 3-Ingredient Chocolate Cereal, No-Bake Apricot Almond Granola Bars, Mexican-Spiced Chocolate Avocado Pudding, Popped Amaranth Cereal, Buckwheat Granola, 3-Ingredient Coconut Avocado Mousse, or this Persimmon Parfait With Hazelnut Crunch.

Lunch

Swiss Chard and White Bean Grilled Sammie/One Green Planet

Alright, when it comes to lunch, you may feel boxed in. What about that fluffy gluten-filled sandwich bread? How about that luxurious slice of gluten-rich pizza? Think that salad dressing is gluten-free … think again! No worries! While lots of restaurants are now offering gluten-free alternatives, there’s really nothing like making your own gluten-free bread.

Gluten-free recipes for sandwiches: Grilled Cuban Tofu Sandwich, Artichoke and Pesto Hummus Sandwich, Swiss Chard and White Bean Grilled Sammie, Barbecue Tofu Sandwich, or this Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado Grilled Cheese.

Gluten-free recipes for wraps: Magical Summer Rolls, Thai Green Curry Samosa Pinwheels, Green Curry Ramen Spring Rolls, Thai Salad and Cauliflower Rice Wrap, or this Buffalo Sweet Potato, Black Rice, and Avocado Wrap.

Gluten-free dressings for salads and beyond: Apple Cider Dijon Vinaigrette, Oil-Free Salad Dressing 3 Ways, Oil-Free Whisked Cashew Salad Dressing, Sesame Citrus Dressing, or this Blue Cheez Dressing.

Gluten-free pizza recipes: Avocado Pesto Pizza, Chickpea Flour Pizza with Hummus, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Rocket, Broccoli and Caramelized Onion Hummus Pizza, Sweet and Spicy Golden Chia Pizza, or this Margherita Pizza.

Dinner

Beefless Vegetable Soup/One Green Planet

When it comes to going gluten-free for dinner, all it takes is a bit of creativity and lots of alternative resources. Much like breakfast, you can still enjoy your favorite recipes without giving into that gluten content. Pretty much, when you figure out your favorite substitutes, the world is your friggin’ oyster! Since this one is very broad with so many options, here are a few gluten-free ideas broken down by the table.

Gluten-free entree alternatives: Beefless Vegetable Soup, Quick Peanut Noodles, Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup, Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower Salad, or this Winter White Bean Chowder With Kale and Coconut Bacon.

Gluten-free side alternatives: Indian Steamed Savory Cakes, Vegetable Pasta Salad, BBQ Brussels Sprouts, Chili Plantain Crisps with Lime Ketchup, or these Zucchini Chickpea Fritters.

Gluten-free bread alternatives: One-Bowl Almond Butter Banana Bread, Zucchini Bread With Fennel and Pistachios, Naan Bread, Gluten-Free High Fiber Bread, or this Braided Pesto Bread.

Ketotarian Thursdays

FoodieFactor/Pixabay

If you’re a bit confused, don’t worry. You may have thought the title was simply a slip of the keyboard, but Ketotarian is in fact a new diet fad. For those that want to hop on board the high-fat train that is the Keto Diet, yet want to stick to their plant-based roots, then Ketotarian is perfect for you!

The Ketotarian diet was created by a “functional medicine practitioner by the name Will Cole M.D. … [who made] … the ketotarian diet for those wishing to practice a plant-based lifestyle, yet still reap the benefits of ketosis.”

So, what’s it all about?

If you want to go Ketotarian, you’ll stick to “non-starchy veggies, low-fructose fruit, and plant-based fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut products, and healthy oils.)” The great thing about Ketotarian is that it allows for slightly more carbohydrates than regular keto, as it lacks the meat ingredient that bulks up the keto diet. While some people choose to go with certain animal-based products — such as “organic eggs, ghee butter, and wild-caught fish” — strict plant-based eaters can exclude these items.

Breakfast

Chia Pudding With Blueberries/One Green Planet

While Meatless Mondays, Dairy-Free Tuesdays, and Gluten-Free Wednesdays have offered a bit more sliding room, as Ketotarian is somewhat new, you’ll need to be a bit pickier! Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t have plentiful plant-based options, it just means keep your eye on those ingredients. To start out the day, let’s focus on nuts, seeds, and low-fructose fruit!

Chia seed pudding recipes: Chia Pudding With Blueberries, Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding, Chocolate Chia Puddings, 5-Ingredient Chia Pudding, Chia Chai Latte Pudding, or this Chia Pudding Parfait.

Fruit and nut-rich yogurt: Homemade Coconut Cashew Yogurt Parfait, Passionfruit Yogurt Slice, Homemade Cashew Yogurt, Cherry Chocolate Yogurt Cups, or this Yogurt Power Bowl.

Lunch

Marinated Zucchini and Seaweed Salad/One Green Planet

As lunch rolls around and your stomach is grumbling, it’s a perfect time to dig into your Ketotarian tool arsenal and extract those healthy fat-filled oils such as olive and coconut. By drizzling your non-starchy salad with olive oil (maybe even throwing some whole olives on to boot!), you’re providing your body with a host of filling nutrients. Lunch is also a great time to try out some of your favorite lettuce wrap ideas! By cutting that starchy wrap and swapping it with lettuce, you’ll be hitting the Ketotarian mark. Another wonderful way to fill your tummy, while keeping Ketotarian is by combining healthy fat with protein such as vegan yogurt with nuts and seeds!

Healthy fat-slathered salads: Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Summer Tomato Basil and Avocado Salad, Brussels Sprouts Salad with Macadamias and Apples, Marinated Zucchini and Seaweed Salad, or this Ecuadorian-Style Hearts of Palm.

Low-carb lettuce wraps: Lettuce Wraps, Green Goddess Mexican Lettuce Wraps, Buffalo Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps, Mushroom Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps, Lentil Taco Lettuce Wraps, Quinoa Avocado Lettuce Wraps, or this Korean Tempeh Lettuce Wraps.

Filling protein-rich tofu inventions: Rhubarb-Marinated Tofu Steaks, Lemon Garlic No-Oil Tofu, Marinated Tofu Veggie Kebabs, Tofu Green Bean Stir Fry, Teriyaki Tofu Steaks, or this Chile Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Smoked Salt.

Dinner

Zucchini Basil Pesto Lasagna/One Green Planet

How in the world are you supposed to do a Ketotarian dinner? Actually, this may be the easiest of the daily meals to fulfill! Most of us have a bit more time to prepare dinner then we do breakfast or lunch. This means you can whip out those culinary skills and fill the table with delicious non-starchy veggies. Take a note from your Meatless Mondays and try creating some traditional meat recipes with vegetables. Instead of going for carb-heavy pasta, how about giving veggie pasta (such as zucchini or sweet potato) a go?

Here are a few vegetable-rich recipes to get you started: Portobello Mushroom Steaks, 10 Minute Gazpacho with Fresh Herbs, Zucchini Basil Pesto Lasagna, Chile Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Smoked SaltRutabaga Noodles With Tahini Sauce and Cashew Crumble, Teriyaki Glazed Tofu Steaks, Miso Sesame Spaghetti Squash, Bed of Roses (Beet Noodles With Cauliflower Sauce), or this Zucchini Noodle Japchae.

Carb-Free Fridays

Sponchia/Pixabay

The low or zero carbohydrate diet may be one of the most controversial out there. Some research shows that cutting carbohydrates creates healthy bodies, while other research shows negative results.

The problem lies within the studies themselves. Are the studies based around already healthy or unhealthy participants? Are the studies regulating the participants’ diets in a super strict manner? How many participants are part of the study? Are the studies looking at blood sugar effect, adipose tissue effects, metabolism effects, muscle effects, and so on?

Proponents of low carbohydrate diets have found the diet to be heart-healthy, non-calorie restrictive, and it’s even helped to increase their intake of plant-based foods including fruits and veggies. Plus, in general a low carbohydrate diet generally means your increase protein and healthy fat intake, which can be hugely beneficial for muscle building, boosting energy, and increasing the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

Whether you agree or disagree, the low or zero carbohydrate diet has worked for many people in regards to cutting processed foods, limiting refined ingredients, and dropping unwanted weight. Therefore, if you wanna give it a go, let’s take Fridays to speed date this diet!

Breakfast

Berry and Fennel Salad With Coconut Yogurt/One Green Planet

When it comes to a low carbohydrate breakfast, it’s time to step out of the box! Instead of going for muffins, pancakes, french toast, waffles, or other bread-heavy items, try integrating vegetables into your morning routine. Most vegetables are low carbohydrate, filling, and nutrient-rich, which means you’ll get all you need by filling your morning plate with veggies!

Here are a few super creative ways to make this happen: Baked Smoky Carrot Bacon, Sunflower Seed Pate, Berry and Fennel Salad With Coconut Yogurt, Squash Fritters With Jalapeno Cream, Raw Coconut, Matcha and Chocolate Slice, or these Low-Carb AllSpice Sweet Potato Toasts.

Lunch

Thai Chickpea Zucchini Noodle Salad/One Green Planet

Practicing a reduced carbohydrate diet is truly about finding what works for you and sticking to it. This doesn’t mean you can’t diversify or even have a long list of those carb-friendly replacements, but, when just starting out, it’s a great way to ease into the diet without the hassle. Specifically, when it comes to nourishing your body mid-day when your energy is low and your stomach is grumbling, pick a couple of go-to low carb recipes that are super easy to travel with and high in healthy fat and protein to give you that pick-me-up. Here are a few ideas to get you started on the right path!

Springs rolls — light, filling, and nutrient-rich — to the moon and back: Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, Baked Rice Paper Spring Rolls, or these Avocado and Veggie Spring Rolls.

Zucchini is filling, neutral, and easy to mold! Try these zucchini noodle salad recipes next Friday for lunch: Garlic Zucchini and Beet Noodle Salad, Raw Zucchini Pasta With Pumpkin Seeds and Garlic, Roasted Veggie Zucchini Pasta, or this Thai Chickpea Zucchini Noodle Salad.

Healthy fats that are also nutritent-rich are a great way to boost your energy mid-day and you can’t get better than avocado, which also happen to be low carb: Matcha Avocado Smoothie, The Ultimate Guacamole, Cauliflower Scramble With Asparagus and Avocado, or this Avocado Goji Pudding.

Dinner

Sweet Potato Noodles with Kale and Walnuts Sage Sauce/One Green Planet

When it comes to doing low carbohydrate dinner meals, you gotta focus on swapping out high carbohydrate ingredients for alternatives. For instance, instead of wheat-based bread, go with seed or nut bread. Instead of traditional pasta noodles, go for the spiralized veggie option. Cauliflower is also a wonderful diverse ingredient that can be used to substitute out rice and even make pizza dough!

Here are a few nut and seed bread recipes: Herbed Seed and Nut Bread, No-Knead Nut and Seed Bread, Carrot Walnut Bread, Walnut Bread, or this Nut-and-Seed Loaf.

Try out these spiralized veggie recipes: Orange Cashew Sesame Zoodles, Sweet Potato Noodles with Kale and Walnuts Sage Sauce, Avocado Spaghetti, Paleo Sweet Potato Sesame Pasta, Spicy Tahini Tomato Spiralized Zucchini Salad, or this Roasted Beet Noodles With Pesto and Baby Kale.

Experiment with cauliflower and start here: Roasted Eggplant and Cauliflower Curry, Curried Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, Golden Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Coconut Soup, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza Base, or this Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza.

Sugar-Free Saturday

PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

You may think it’s cruel to make Saturday — one of your only days off — a totally sugarless day. You’ve got dinner plans with friends and you’re sure to share a dessert. Maybe Saturday is your baking day with the kids. That’s exactly why Saturday is the sugarless day because this is most likely one of the days you consume the most.

While sugar is one of the most addictive foods and most difficult to quit, it’s also the most important to get out of your diet. Refined sugars found in many processed foods — or that pound of cane sugar or brown sugar in your pantry — is actually compared to as a poison for our bodies.

In a Women’s Health Magazine article, neuroendocrinologist Robert Lustig, M.D. states that “sugar can act like poison in high doses — and the amount in our diets has gone beyond toxic.” As of the time this article was written in 2014, the typical American “swallows the equivalent of 22 sugar cubes every 24 hours … [which] … means the average woman eats 70 pounds — nearly half her weight — of straight sugar every year.” Take into account, this was 6 years ago and the numbers have simply increased from there.

Alright, when you say sugar “poisons” the body, what exactly does that mean?

A diet that is sugar-heavy can lead to “diabetes and obesity, and also Alzheimer’s disease and breast, endometrial, and colon cancers.” Plus, it’s also been discovered that sugar-rich diets can increase the “risk of dying from heart disease,” as well as cause “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to liver failure.”

So, maybe one day a week without sugar isn’t too horrible of an idea. Of course, this is easier said than done! Sugar is found in almost everything, especially processed foods, yet it’s also laden in-home cooking recipes. Foods you wouldn’t think add to that sugar intake — such as maple syrup, high-fructose fruit, and even carb-heavy foods such as bread — play a major roll in the amount of sugar you ingest.

Breakfast

When putting together a low-sugar breakfast, simply steer clear of the toppings. Many breakfast toppings — such as maple syrup and powdered sugar — are loaded with that extra sugar you’re trying to avoid. It’s also a great idea to go savory and vegetable-heavy. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite sweet breakfast items, just make those hard decisions about the type of sweeteners, type of sugar, and type of fruit.

Try a few of these super nutritious and low sugar recipes: Spinach Artichoke Quesadillas, Italian Spinach and Tomato Quiche, Potato Leek Quiche, Hazelnut Chocolate Parfait, Black Bean, Quinoa, and Walnut Loaf, or this Chickpea Asparagus Spring Frittata.

Lunch/ Dinner

Coconut-Crusted Fishless Sticks/One Green Planet

For this sugar-free section, I’ve lumped together lunch and dinner. Many of these recipes are incredibly easy to overlap between the meals and even easier to make low sugar or sugar-free. As is the case with most healthy meals, going heavy on the veggies and reducing the number of sauces or toppings is a super useful technique to also reduce sugar.

Coconut-Crusted Fishless Sticks, Baked Potato Samosa Cups, Stuffed Mushrooms with Almond Feta, Spicy Vegetables and Chickpea Pasta, Whole Wheat Sourdough Pizza Crust, Chilled Zucchini, Orange, and Basil Soup, or this Savory Saffron Kombu Congee.

Beverages

Cran-Pomegranate Kombucha Mocktail/One Green Planet

One of the sneaky sources of most of our sugars is found in beverages. From soda to lemonade to smoothies, we love to sweeten up our drinks with a bit old fashioned high fructose. A simple way to cut sugar is to be very picky about the beverages you consume. Here are a few beverage recipes that are naturally sweet, yet super low in sugar.

Blender Mocha Cashew Latte, Cran-Pomegranate Kombucha Mocktail, High-Protein Caramel Cappuccino, Fresh Apple Cinnamon Juice, Nutella Milk, or this Good Morning Beet Juice.

Vegan Treats Sundays

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Doughnuts with Vanilla Cashew Butter Glaze/One Green Planet

We’ve gotta have one day out of the week that we’re allowed to splurge on those wonderful tasty treats that we all crave! Yes, sugar is a poison when consumed in large amounts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t splurge every once in a while. Plus, you can make super-smart decisions when it comes to the type of treats you consume. For instance, baked goods that use coconut sugar over cane sugar, contain slightly more nutrients. Other yummy treats that source that sugary taste from raw fruit such as berries, dates, or figs have lower fructose concentrations and higher nutrients. You can also try to stick with sweeteners that have a smaller effect on your blood sugar such as monk fruit and stevia.

Of course, it’s also a good idea to know what to avoid. Steer clear of high fructose sweeteners such as agave syrup and maple syrup. While high fructose fruits are excellent in small doses — as they also provide loads of nutrients — try to go light on fruit such as mango, papaya, peaches, apricots, dates, figs, and prunes.

These rules may seem difficult to follow along with trying your best to go plant-based and animal-product free. A great tip to limit the amount of work on your end is to go with vegan-friendly treats! By starting vegan, you’re already limiting the ingredients to plant-based sources. Next, you just have to make the right substitutes for any high-fructose ingredients and BAM! you’ve got a great, tasty, earth-friendly treat to enjoy guilt-free!

Instead of listing tasty treats by meal — you can have tasty treats at ANY meal — I’ve curated a list of vegan delights without high-fructose ingredients!

Chocolate Brownie and Peanut Butter Parfait, Almond Cookies with Chia Seed Jam, Cacao Mousse and Raspberry Parfaits (swap maple syrup for monk fruit or stevia sweetener), 4-Ingredient Paolo Coconut Shortbread (swap maple syrup for monk fruit or stevia sweetener), All Natural Fruit-Colored Jelly Candy, Rustic Apple Tart, Chocolate Covered Marshmallows (opt for coconut sugar!), White Chocolate Lemon Popcorn Truffles (swap maple syrup for monk fruit or stevia sweetener), or this Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies (swap maple syrup for monk fruit or stevia sweetener).

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Crepes

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

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