Welcome to part 4 of our plant based stories series! Have you been curious about transitioning to a plant based lifestyle? Our aim in this series is to introduce you to a handful of people from all different walks of life who have committed to adopting a vegan diet. Through their story we learn why they went vegan, how it changed their life and what (if any) obstacles they have had in their transition. We also think that community is built around getting to know each other, supporting each other and giving each other practical tips – each person in our series has offered their own tips and stories with the hope that it will support you!
If you have read our plant based stories, you know that we believe a plant based lifestyle is the best way to achieve optimal health, fight inflammation and care for the environment – but we don’t want you to take our word for it, that is why we are partnering with guests so you can hear from them why they decided to go plant based.
Let’s dive in, meet Sharon and learn why she adopted a plant based lifestyle.
Meet Sharon, Registered Dietitian, Sustainable Food System Advocate and Blogger at The Plant Powered Dietitian
Hi Sharon! Thank-you for being part of our Plant Based Stories series, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I live in LA and am a registered dietitian, writer, editor, blogger, and author of The Plant-Powered Diet series. I go by The Plant-Powered Dietitian, given I am a plant-based food and nutrition expert. I am also in grad school studying sustainable food systems. I have a passion for healthy, whole plant foods. I blog daily at The Plant-Powered Dietitian. I love gardening and grow a large organic garden!
Have you always been a plant based dietitian?
I have been some kind of vegetarian for most of my life. I grew up semi-vegetarian and then was pescatarian (no meat but fish is okay) for a while and lacto-ovo (no meat but dairy and fish are okay). For a research project, I tried a vegan diet challenge for one month about 7 years ago. I loved the way I felt about my impact on the planet and animals, as well as my own health. That is was it for me. I feel fabulous and people think I’m at least a decade younger than I am.
Sounds like you have experienced many health benefits from transitioning to 100% plant based, you mentioned a more youthful appearance – were there any other health benefits?
It has been easier to keep my weight down and my blood cholesterol, blood pressure, pulse, CRP and glucose levels are all in excellent shape. I am hardly ever sick— it’s been more than a year since I’ve even had a cold. My MD says my medical records are like that of a teenager.
That is AMAZING and truly inspiring for those struggling with ongoing medical conditions or weight issues. Do you think others would see similar results if they adopted a plant based diet?
Yes, even if they just want to start with a more flexitarian approach. I recommend that everyone find their place on a spectrum of plant-based eating.
I definitely agree with that! I think what holds a lot of people back is they aren’t sure what to eat or worry that their family will not be supportive. Did you encounter either of these obstacles?
I am thankful that my family has been very supportive! This is who I am now, a plant based eater, and I feel great about this decision. There are a lot of great resources out there – mine included – for people who aren’t sure what to eat when ‘going plant based’. On my website, sharonpalmer.com I offer daily advice for living a healthy plant-based life. I also have two books with recipes, tips on transitioning and how to eat your way to life! Not sure where to start? Take my 14 Day Go Plant-Power! Challenge which includes nutrition education lessons, tips, activities, and recipes. I also offer a monthly newsletter, full of plant based tips, this is a great free resource for those looking for additional plant based lifestyle advice.
Some other obstacles that people transitioning to a vegan lifestyle often encounter are giving up some of their favorite foods; what foods did you struggle to give up?
Cheese! But you learn to adjust and soon the craving for cheese is curbed.
I always love to hear what plant based eaters fill their grocery cart up with at the store, what staples find their way into your cart?
At the store these items routinely make their way into my cart: nuts, seeds, seasonal produce, whole grains, soy foods, beans and spices.
Do you have any favorite vegan bowl recipes you can share with us?
Right now, I am really loving the buddha bowl trend. My recipe for Green Goddess Buddha Bowl is a nutrition powerhouse. Whole grain sorghum and beans are combined with cool green veggies, such as arugula, avocados, cucumbers, asparagus, and pumpkin seeds. The bowl is topped off with a house-made, plant-based Green Goddess Dressing that is as tasty as it is pretty.
That sounds like my kind of meal!
Do you feel like traveling can be a hindrance to staying on track with a vegan diet? Any tips you can share with us on how to navigate the open road while being plant based?
I travel around the world and have always done ok. It does take some planning in advance, though. I do research and check with hotels and restaurants ahead of time. I carry a few favorite foods like vegan jerky and nuts. It is getting easier and easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for something special!
Where can readers connect with you to learn more about plant based nutrition?
On Facebook: @SharonPalmerThePlantPoweredDietitian
Instagram: @SharonPalmerRD Twitter: @SharonPalmerRD
Thanks so much Sharon for sharing your plant based story with us! I look forward to getting in my kitchen and making that Green Goddess Buddha Bowl!