I am Garima Lal–certified holistic health coach, plant-based nutrition expert, and real-food evangelist. I believe:
“Food should nourish our bodies and not make us sick.” Eating real food is key to prevent not only myriad of lifestyle diseases but also gain physical and mental energy crucial to live and enjoy life.
Nutrition has somewhat vague and often confusing connotation. And making a leap toward eating healthy does not mean being hungry or surviving on cabbage soup diet or food that makes you cringe. Real food tastes better than processed food once you get hooked onto it. But what is real food? It is hard to identify it amid uncountable food choices we face everyday. I make it easy to identify real food and cook with it.
Try some real food tasty recipes from Traffic Light Cook to find out if real food tastes better than processed.
- Three-spice Sunflower Seed Healthy Banana Bread
- West African Sweet Potato & Peanut soup
- Herb-infused Carrot, Mango, Moong-Lentil Salad
- How to make Golden Turmeric Milk?
I always remind myself that recipes are made with ingredients; real food ingredients offer a healthy food recipe and vice versa. If possible, be curious about what goes into making your food. For example did you know that beets are a natural energy powerhouse (Demystifying Beets: Colorful Nutrition on Your Plate) or turmeric offers a ton of health benefits (Demystifying Turmeric: Health Benefits and Uses).
Why Whole-Food, Plant-Based?
I grew up a vegetarian, drinking lots of milk, eating lots of yogurt and ghee. My parents are vegetarian, as were their parents. So meat did not really become part of my food palate. While I tried chicken once or twice during my undergrad years in college, I decided to stay a vegetarian for numerous reasons. But, going from being a vegetarian to vegan, which I thought would be a cinch, was not as easy as I thought.
Around six years ago, while researching and analyzing consumer food habits, I noticed a rising trend toward vegan diet. Often in the role of a food/beverage analyst I would try out food/beverage products (vegetarian only) and special diets to better understand consumer motivations and behaviors that would cause a rise or fall in any food/beverage product. So, after noticing a surge in veganism for a few years, I went on a vegan diet. I was never a big egg eater but cutting out dairy completely turned out to be more difficult than I thought. I, however, marched on to being a complete vegan for my designated six-week period. Around the fourth week, I started noticing that I had not suffered from a single migraine, which was a weekly occurrence and had more energy to go through my day. By the end of the sixth week of the experiment, I suffered only one migraine, which was a lot less severe than the usual ones. Wow, not getting migraines was liberating, because in the fourth decade of my life I had started to grow weary of them. Subsequently, I eliminated dairy/eggs completely out of my diet for a year or so. But after that I did not adhere to being a strict vegan. I do enjoy yogurt occasionally and a few teaspoons of milk in my Indian Chai. I have also recognized that dairy and eggs can’t be part of my regular diet as my migraine symptoms usually come creeping back. Over the years, instead of mourning the loss of dairy in my diet, I have focused on eating whole-food, plant-based diet that motivated to me to explore uncountable new ingredients (I am not done yet!). I still make vegetarian food, as three other family members are not vegan. So, you may find vegetarian suggestions for many of the vegan recipes and a few vegetarian recipes that I primarily make for my kids.
This blog is based on my personal experience and hence is not a source of diagnosing or treating any diseases. Nor does it aim to prescribe any eating plan to treat a health condition. The goal of the blog is to educate and create awareness about food and eating healthy. Although I have a certificate in “Plant-based Nutrition,” I am not a physician or registered dietitian. The author or other individuals associated with this blog do not assume any responsibility for the use of this information and do not warranty the effectiveness of the recommendations offered.