Guest Expert Training #2


Application: Cooking meals, raising babies and lifting heavy!

By Kristen Plemons


I am a mom of a 13-month-old boy and I have two teenage step kids who eat with us many nights each week and they and my husband all love the home cooked plant based meals that I make! My little one’s first word was “kale”. The older kids even fight over the last serving of chickpea chili. They also make their beds everyday, do all their homework on time and never fight or talk back. Hahah! You fool! They are kids. They DO NOT like veggies!

Transitioning a family to a vegan diet or even a healthy diet period is a daunting task. If you are a parent you constantly worry if your kids are getting enough of this or too much of that in their diet. Heck, when I watch my first few documentaries on food I spent a whole weekend basically starving because I was afraid to eat anything at all because everything is basically poison anyway right?

Something you need to know about me. My love language is definitely, food. Making yummy meals and watching the reaction of my family or friends eating it brings my soul absolute joy. It is easy to elicit a pleasing reaction when you make a pizza from scratch with fresh mozzarella and sautéed veggies and some sausage. Kale and squash salad doesn’t really get the same oohs and ahhs. Sigh.

I can’t force my family to like every green thing I slide across the table to them, and I certainly can’t download my personal convictions to them about the planet and our duty to be good stewards of its resources. Something I have always taught my clients are to first focus on what you are adding to your life rather than what you are cutting out when you begin making healthy lifestyle changes. Add a smoothie in the morning with some veggies in it. Add a few minutes to your morning walk. Add some zucchini to the spaghetti that you make each week for your people anyway. Don’t get hung up on “I can never have ____ again?”. That will just distract you from your long-term goal of a healthier life.

So for now, I challenge myself to cook long time favorite meals as a plant based meal instead. Sometimes it is met with surprised enjoyment, other time I get a polite smile as someone scrapes it into the sink.

Some of you may also be wondering how taking meat out of your diet will impact your regular routine in the gym. I am here to tell you that a plant based diet will not only improve your recovery time from tough workouts, but it will actually help you lose fat and gain muscle! I have been lifting heavy for the last 6 weeks at least 2 days per week (outside of the 3 group fitness classes I teach) and I have seen my body fat % drop and my lean muscle mass increase. I’m not a huge girl but I feel stronger every workout and am always thankful for the plant powered muscles gains I’m making. I have energy for my kids, work and crushing workouts. Plants are here to help!