We’re not perfect. That’s a scary thought to some, but let it comfort you—we’re not perfect because we don’t have to be. This goes for every area of life, but one of the areas it can be the most freeing is the area of your food choices. What we put in our bodies every day can either weigh us down (literally!) and make us sick, or it can help us get healthier and happier with every bite. If you are sticking with those “healthier and happier” food choices, you may still eat a few meals here and there that aren’t the best. Instead of beating yourself up about it, recognize that it’s okay not to be perfect—there’s a little wiggle room in everything.
This is the philosophy behind The 95% Vegan Diet. Co-written by Dr. Jamie Noll and her daughter Caitlin Herndon, this book is less of a strict diet and more of a lifestyle eating plan, and it includes the wiggle room you need to be successful. It’s not an all-or-nothing vegan diet plan. As the name states, if you follow the diet outlined in the book, you can still enjoy five percent of your calories from animal sources. The 95 percent approach gives you the flexibility to eat almost entirely plant-based without forcing you to give up your dash of real creamer in your morning coffee or the occasional cheese pizza with friends. That doesn’t sound so hard, does it?
To help you implement a healthier eating strategy, Jamie and Caitlin hold regular workshops to introduce firsthand the deliciousness of vegan cooking, educate you about the proven, research-based benefits of a plant-based diet, and walk you through making your own mostly vegan diet plan. I had the pleasure of attending their first workshop on April 2 at JavaVino, and it was inspiring. Before any discussion of dietary choices begins, the workshop started with a meal. Jamie and Caitlin had graciously prepared dish after dish of phenomenal vegan comfort food: macaroni and cheese, braised greens, pesto and mushroom pasta, bean dips, smoothies, muffins and scones. As the other workshoppers and I dug into our plates, the food proved to us all that vegan food can be satisfying, diverse, delicious, and definitely not just a plate of raw veggies.
After the meal, Jamie launched into her in-depth presentation on the science behind a plant-based diet, right down to the types of protein that your body needs and where you can get them. As a dietitian, doctor of pharmacy, and Certified Diabetes Educator, Jamie knows the value of research, so her presentation is full of research-based information about how diet impacts your health. By the end of the night, you will have covered the basics (for those of you wondering “What does ‘vegan’ even mean?”), the science behind this approach to healthy eating, and ways to implement changes in your own diet to achieve that 95 percent for optimal health. Plus, you’ll have a belly full of delicious food, your own copy of the book and a five-year workbook to take home to use as a tool in your healthy eating journey. To sign up for the next workshop, which takes place on Wednesday, April 9 and costs $129 per person, visit www.95percentvegan.com.