Optimizing Your Health Through Whole Plant-Based Foods w/ Anna Tseng -34

February 07, 2023 Shawna Rodrigues / Anna Tseng Season 1 Episode 34
Optimizing Your Health Through Whole Plant-Based Foods w/ Anna Tseng -34
Show Notes Transcript

Nutritionist Anna Tseng walks us through some misconceptions around plant based eating and offers us practical tips in how to improve our eating as well as evidence as to why it is important. Anna Tseng is a plant-based Registered Dietitian with a Master's degree in Public Health Nutrition. She’s also the Founder of PlantNourished, and an award-winning published recipe creator. Known as the ‘Plant-Based Transition RD’, Anna passionately helps busy people with health challenges move easily to plant-based eating for optimal health. Anna has lived in four countries, and her recipes, trainings and expert interviews have been featured across multiple platforms. Through private coaching and the Plant-Powered Life Transformation Course, Anna empowers people with key skills, practical strategies, and tasty nutrient-packed recipes, so they can easily regain their health and enjoy a full, vibrant life with the people they love. Her goal is to simplify and streamline the transition process so that all can reap the powerful health benefits of a plant-based diet… without long hours in the kitchen!

In this episode, we discover the myriad of health benefits that a high fiber, whole food plant based diet can bring, understand the different types of plant-based diets and how to transition to a plant-based lifestyle, and explore the importance of quality plant-based foods and the risks associated with processed plant-based foods.

 Episode Timeline:
[01:46] - Why Anna chose plant-based eating

[04:16] - Was it hard to make that transition for her family?      
[06:30] – Differences between vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based

[14:00] - How to make kids appreciate plant-based eating

 [17:47] - The higher the quality the more health benefits

[23:00] - Misconceptions on plant-based diets

[30:22] - What does Anna do to take care of herself to maintain herself? 

[34:02] - Be adventurous

 Connect with Anna



Instagram: @plant.nourished

 Free Resource: Quick Start Grocery Guide for Plant-Based Essentials:

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Optimizing Your Health Through Whole Plant-Based Foods 

Episode 034 

Transcript between Shawna Rodrigues & Anna Tseng Recorded February, 2023

Our transcripts are a tool to support our podcast listeners and make our material more accessible. We utilize AI to generate our transcripts and occasionally there are errors with words, spelling (and in this episode the time stamps). We appreciate your patience with the shortcomings. If you notice something egregious we love the extra eyes and will do our best to get it fixed as soon as possible – email us –


[00:00:00] Shawna: Are you familiar with plant-based eating? Is it the same or different from being a vegetarian or eating vegan? Perhaps it's a term you've heard from social media or news outlets, or maybe it's something that's been suggested by a medical professional as something you look into or start to follow. Maybe it's something you need because of a health condition that you are living with and trying to thrive around. Maybe it's just something you're a little bit curious about. Today's guest is someone who had some of the same questions you do. Who had people in her life who needed answers, and so she started asking questions and learning about it too.

[00:00:43] Shawna: There's a lot of value in today's conversation where she answers some of those questions and can shed some light on plant-based eating and what it might mean for you and how you can consider integrating more of it into your life.

[00:00:57] Shawna: Welcome to The Grit Show, Growth on Purpose. 

[00:01:01] Shawna: I'm your host, Shawna Rodrigues, and I'm happy to be here with you as your guide for all of us growing together as seekers and thrivers.

00:01:02 Shawna: Anna Tseng is a plant-based registered dietitian with a master's degree in public health nutrition. She's also the founder of PlantNourished, an award winning published recipe creator. Known as a ‘Plant-Based Transition RD’, Anna passionately helps busy people with health challenges move easily to plant-based eating for optimal health. I have had the joy to get to know Anna through a couple of different avenues and love all the knowledge that she has to share. Thank you so much for being here with us today, Anna. I'm excited to chat with you more about plant-based eating.


00:01:32 Anna: Thank you, Shawna. I'm glad to be here as well.


00:01:35 Shawna: So how did you first get started on your journey towards plant-based eating?


00:01:40 Anna: I'd love to share about that. Well, I think at the end of the day, many of us just want to be healthy and to feel well so that we can do the things we love with the people that we love. And I think for those who have maybe chronic health issues, it could be simply to regain their health and their life back with more energy and less pain and medications. Well, I was no different. I wanted to be healthy and to stay healthy. And it's why I switched focus midway in college to move to the field of nutrition, because I saw just how practical and useful it was for not just myself, but those around me as well.


00:02:16 Shawna: Oh, that's incredible. So how long ago did you finish your degree in that work?


00:02:21 Anna: Probably almost two decades ago. So about 20 years ago.


00:02:26 Shawna: So was plant-based eating something that was popular at that point in time, or is that something you found your way to later in your work in nutrition?


00:02:34 Anna: Yeah, so initially, as a dietitian, I wasn't necessarily focused on plant-based diets, so it was really when the health problems started mounting in my in-laws and in my father. So my mother -in-law, she has type two diabetes and she later had lymphoma and she needed eight rounds of chemotherapy. My father-in-law has prostate cancer and then later developed thyroid cancer. And my own father, he has high blood pressure and later needed an emergency stent, I think it was 90% blockage in his heart so he needed that stent. And then later developed eye problems. So all these things just started coming up. Not just and that's just only three of them. I've had other extended family members with breast cancer and other things.


00:03:21 Anna: So it really got me concerned and I wanted to optimize the health of my family and prevent future chronic diseases. So that was really kind of what kickstarted me to research and look into plant-based diets. And the more I researched, the more I was amazed to see the myriad of health benefits that a high fiber, whole food plant-based diet can bring. So benefits such as lowering your body weight, improving your blood cholesterol levels, reducing your diabetes risk of diabetes, improving your insulin sensitivity, as well as reversing, even preventing heart disease. So all these things is what made my family. I decided to move towards plant-based eating a few years ago.


00:04:03 Shawna: Yes.


00:04:04 Anna: Yeah.


00:04:05 Shawna: You have kids too. And moving to plant-based eating with kids, I think a lot of people who have kids are like, "Oh, I don't know about plant-based eating with kids." So was it hard to make that transition for your family?


00:04:15 Anna: Yes, I would say I took my time and that was good because initially, even though I was a dietitian, I still found that first year of transition a steep learning curve because I had to find my way around the whole plant-based world. It's still completely new to me and learn how to prep and cook with all these whole plant-based food ingredients. And not to mention, try out multiple recipes to find the ones that were truly healthy, u-trim packed, and also were easy to make and that my family enjoyed. So it was quite a steep learning curve.


00:04:48 Anna: But it was through that experience in the years that followed, that I actually discovered my love of recipe creation and I learned and developed many time and energy saving hacks and strategies to prep and cook with all these whole plant-based ingredients, and also, created many nutrient dense and tasty and easy plant-based recipes. I can't wait to share it with others so I can make their transition to a whole food plant-based diet that much easier.


00:05:13 Shawna: Well, I think that's what I love about your work is it is because you started doing it, and so you had the interest, and then you found what was needed because of your family and what was really needed for those around you. And then you found what worked for you and were so excited when you made it work that now you're sharing it with other people, which there's just this genuine piece about it that makes such a difference in your work and your presentation that people feel when you talk about it, that you genuinely care about this and you found a way and you want to share that.


00:05:40 Anna: Yes. So that's why I feel my story is a big part of why I'm here and why I'm passionate about helping busy people with health challenges simplify and streamline that process of moving to plant-based eating so that they can be healthy, enjoy life again and try to keep families together for as long as possible.



00:05:59 Shawna: Yes, definitely. And for all these terms, the different ways of looking at plant-based eating, could you help to explain some of the different ways people think of it? And I know that I'm always concerned that I'll just eat carbs all the time if I try to not eat meat or whatever anymore. Can you talk more about vegan versus plant-based, what that means?


00:06:20 Anna: Yeah, absolutely. I'd be happy to. I agree. This term plant-based can be quite confusing, especially if you're not in the plant-based world because there's so many terms on social media or you see it in newspapers. Vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, whole food, plant-based, are they all one and the same thing? So I think maybe in the broadest sense, think of eating plant-based as a way of eating that is plant centered versus meat centered. So putting plants in plant-based source as the stars of the plate versus the meats or animal based products.


00:06:54 Shawna: I like that.


00:06:55 Anna: And think of the term yeah, and think of the term plant-based as more of an umbrella term with many different kinds of plant center diets underneath it. So you could have a vegetarian diet that mainly has plants, but it does maybe include some dairy or eggs in it. You could have a vegan diet that excludes all animal based products or byproducts, you could have a whole food plant-based diet that focuses on minimally processed and unprocessed whole plant-based foods like the legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.


00:07:28 Anna:So when I talk about plant-based diet, I'm talking about the most helpful kind of plant-based diet, which is a whole food plant-based diet that's focused on those minimally processed or unprocessed whole plant-based foods. And just a note too, even though it says plant-based diet, the word diet makes you think of a fad diet. In that sense, we're talking more about a lifestyle change, a sustaining lifestyle change, instead of just a short term fat diet because that's the kind that will really bring the most health benefits for you.


00:07:58 Shawna: Yes, plant nourish is more of a plant-based lifestyle and a plant-based way of thinking about how you're eating.


00:08:04 Anna: Yes, absolutely.


00:08:06 Shawna: Nice. And then, so you have recipes. So tell us more about what you do and how you work with your community of folks that are interested in doing this?


00:08:15 Anna: Well, definitely, I support people who are wanting to make this move towards more plant centered lifestyle by private one to one coaching or through, I have a Plant Part Life Transformation course. So that's a course that is an online course designed to help people master the basics of plant-based eating in as little as six weeks.


00:08:34 Shawna: Wow.


00:08:34 Anna: So it's really designed to equip you with those hack strategies, tasty recipes, practical lifestyle skills that you need to be able to confidently start and sustain a thriving plant part lifestyle for the most health transformation for people. So that's kind of what I do. But I do want to just kind of clarify that many people, when they think of plant-based eating, they think of it as an all or nothing mentality. You have to be either 100% plant-based or vegan or you can't be eating plant-based at all. And that's not really true. The way I see it is more like a spectrum or continuum. You could have someone on one side who is maybe making more than 50% of their meals plant-based or plant center.


00:09:20 Anna: Some have made vegetarian having those dairy and egg products. Some of them may be vegan, excluding all animal based products, but maybe still eating quite a bit of the highly processed vegan commercial foods to those who are whole food plant-based. So eating fully minimally processed and processed plant-based foods. So anyone could start at any time point with the goal of ultimately moving forward more and more integrating those nourishing whole plant-based foods. So when I work with people, I work with them wherever they are on that continuum, with the goal of moving them more and more towards integrating these health nourishing foods.


00:09:57 Shawna: That's wonderful. And with the recipes you have, the recipes are on the far end of the spectrum or do they kind of work in the middle or are they all with the whole foods like you're talking about?


00:10:08 Anna: So all my recipes will be pretty much whole food plant-based. So I try to use minimal refined sugar at all, if not little minimal oil. There's many different ways you can cook that can still make these foods tasty. It's all about spices, combinations, different cuisines that you can use, and different cooking methods too. So many people think I can only boil vegetables. No, there's many different ways you can do it. Grill, you can bake, even roast. Many different things you can do. Stir fry.


00:10:39 Shawna: Yes. No. Roasting vegetables. Changed vegetables for me entirely because I definitely grew up where boiling was the only option growing up. And I discovered so many more vegetables once they were roasted and cooked in different ways. Such a difference. Yeah. My fiance, they talk about it because we grew up very similar in our options for meals and how things were and how many vegetables we hated as kids. And that we love as an adult because we definitely learned how to do that. But having them as the star of the plate is still definitely a stretch for us. Incorporating them into every meal was like a learning process for me as an adult.


00:11:13 Shawna: Let alone the star of the plate is like that's where I'm at in the spectrum there, like learning how to go from remembering them at each meal to then having them as a star of a plate would be a shift for me. And definitely vegan because I definitely love all of my dairy pieces too. So even like moving along that spectrum of not having those other elements. So lots of things to learn, lots of elements that are important to integrate and figure out.


00:11:33 Anna: Yes.


00:11:35 Shawna: Yes. And so most people do come to you because of health reasons and working with specialized diets in that sense as well, because I know with a lot of different health reasons, it's very specific what you can or can't have.


00:11:46 Anna: So most of people who come to me really have health challenges. Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, or maybe they have had a history of heart attack. So they really want to make that change towards a more plant centered lifestyle, focusing on whole plant-based foods because they've seen the benefits of it and they know that it can definitely help them. But they need the practical skills. Sometimes you know, you want to do something, but how do you do it? Especially if they're used to eating meat and meat based diets and cooking with them all of your life. How do you actually integrate and make it tasty in a way that won't take you hours in the kitchen to prep and cook all these things?



00:12:30 Anna: So that's where I help them with those actual practical strategies and hacks and also ways to continue enjoying this lifestyle even after they feel they've mastered the basics. But how to continue because life and stresses dizziness things happen, right? So how do all those meal prep strategies and things that help them be able to continue this successfully moving forward?


00:12:51 Shawna: Do you feel like meal prep is a big part of being able to do it successfully then?


00:12:57 Anna: I think meal prep can be very simple depending on how you think about it. And it's individualized and customized to every person and their circumstances. So for example, a person who is maybe working full time may find it easier maybe on the weekend to prep a big pot of soup or something else that they can then break down into smaller meals to take to work. So it's all about figuring out ways. Or someone who's maybe in a hospital working as a nurse may be more busy because of all the shifts that they have to do. So it's finding just meals and recipes and things that work for them that can be easy for them to make and take. And if there's no refrigeration or things that they can eat on the go when they're working. So it's just working with every family and every individual. Some have big families, some have small families. So working with them to see what is successful and works the best for them.


00:13:49 Shawna: What's some of the tricks for kids? What makes it work with kids for plant-based eating?


00:13:54 Anna: A lot of things. I think, if you think of kids as just like many adults. So, as adults we love to eat with our eyes, we love color, we love variety, right? So it's just finding foods and the way you present it is also important for them. I find children really learn from parents. So there's the modeling as well aspect. If they see you enjoying a plate of colorful veggies, a colorful plate and often serving foods and showing you enjoy them, the children are more likely to be willing to try something and to enjoy it.


00:14:28 Anna: But there's many ways. For example, even the home recipes that you currently have, you can make adjustments and tweaks to it and slowly introduce plant-based food ingredients into those home recipes that they can enjoy. For example, just a simple spaghetti pasta sauce, right? A tomato based pasta sauce. If it's the minced meat and things inside, you can maybe reduce half of that meat first and then add in some easy cooked legumes. So things like red lentils or green lentils, they cook up very nicely and the texture is almost similar to a little bit of that minced meat texture and it kind of takes on the color. So when you're cooking it in there, you can just introduce some into that, cook everything else the same. You don't have to make much changes to that. And that makes it easy for families because it's a recipe they're familiar with already. It doesn't require learning a whole new recipe and then serve it with the children.


00:15:21 Anna: And then as everyone's eating it over time, you can slowly reduce the amount of minced meat that you have in there. You can add in a little bit more of the lentils or meat and that's just one nice way to transition over. Same thing with whole grains like quinoa or Buckley. You can also mix it if they're used to their usual white rice, they're not used to brown rice or quinoa, you can also cook half half first, you know, cook half and then slowly integrate it more into the foods that are having. Other ways, many ways for there's different forms that you can use. For example, chickpeas. You can use it in many different ways. You can eat chickpeas as it is, as part of a dish, a chili or a stew. But you can also eat it roasted chickpeas, like a snack. My children love that. You can also blend it with spices and cumin and tahini into a hummus, right?


00:16:16 Anna: My children love hummus with big tortilla chips. You can spread it as a sandwich filler. You can do so many things. You can turn that hummus into a salad dressing or a pasta sauce, and you can even use chickpea flour to make pancakes, or you can make baked goods with that or turn chickpeas into a... I just made a kind of frosted pecan squares using soy frosting. But that is like a little snack. But the kids love it, too. It's just being innovated. But there's many ways you can integrate all the vegetables into smoothies. You can do many things that can help to nourish your whole family, your children, even while you're nourishing your own body towards better health.


00:16:57 Shawna: Yes. No, those are some great ideas, and it sounds like you've had a fun process of figuring out what works well and what doesn't work well. So it's great to have your knowledge based on that too.


00:17:06 Anna: Thank you. Yes. It's something I'm passionate, I enjoy. It's almost like a problem you're solving to help that family transition well and move forward.


00:17:14 Shawna: Yeah, because it can definitely feel overwhelming. I'm sure for people that hear that they need to make that transition of that whole thinking of all the things they can't have is where your mind goes to first instead of what all the options are.


00:17:26 Anna: Yes.


00:17:27 Shawna: That makes a big difference. That's wonderful. I love it. Is there anything else that you want to share with us that we haven't gotten to cover yet?


00:17:36 Anna: Well, I do think many people want to integrate this whole plant-based food into their meals because they know that it's healthy for them. Right. But one gap is that lack of actual skills and knowledge how to prep with these whole plant-based foods and cook with them. But another could be also just some misconceptions in terms of what people think plant-based eating is about.


00:17:59 Anna: And one of the ones already mentioned that one common belief is just that you think it has to be an all or nothing mentality, right? It can be only all plant-based eating or not. But also, there are a few other misconceptions. For example, another one I can think of is this, that some people feel that all plant-based or vegan foods are healthy. So they think, as long as I just avoid meat or meat based products, I'm good. Actually, that's not true, because studies show that the higher the quality of the plant-based diet, the more the health benefits you can experience, especially long term in terms of chronic disease prevention.


00:18:36 Anna: So, for example, if you just think about maybe diabetes, diabetes actually affects one in two Americans. I don't know that either it's prediabetes or diabetes. So a big size of the population has some kind of glucose glycemic control issue. And so a study was published in 2021 in Diabetes Care by Zang Ling Chen et al., and it was quite a big study, looked at over 192,000 people, adults in three large US cohorts. So the Nurses Health Study. The Nurses Health Study, too, and then the Health Professionals follow Up Study and they followed them for over 26 to 30 years.


00:19:17 Shawna: Wow.


00:19:17 Anna: And they looked at their changes in their plant-based diet every four years. They did kind of like a study every four years and assess their diet and looked at the risk of getting type two diabetes in the subsequent four years. So they kind of see the changes and how they changed in the diet quality using plant-based diet indexes. And then they looked at the following years. And then what they found was that those who moved towards a more high quality plant-based diet so eating more of the fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, they actually had an associated decreased risk in their diabetes being diagnosed with type two diabetes in the subsequent four years.


00:19:58 Anna: But those who had the greatest change towards the more unhealthy plant-based foods, more the processed plant-based foods, refined juices and fine sugars, they actually had more than 10% change was associated with an increased risk of getting type two diabetes of 12% to 23%. So they actually had way more. So what we eat, even on a plant-based diet, does matter. And it does make sense because you think about it, those highly processed vegan commercial products which we see everywhere now in many supermarkets, it's flooding our markets. While it is convenient, it is tasty and it is easy to use, but at the end of the day, they are stripped of many nutrients through the manufacturing process.


00:20:45 Anna: We think about whole plant-based foods having those naturally whole plant-based foods being really the most naturally nutrient rich plant-based foods on the planet, with the vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, antioxidants, phytochemicals, all those disease fighting compounds, when you put them through the manufacturing process, they inevitably lose a lot of the nutrients. Even though some of these products are enriched, which means they have some key nutrients added back, it can never still compare to the original product, which has all the disease fighting compounds, polyphenols, which may be affected by the heat and the processing right. That you're making with these foods. And then also these processed foods, because they often have a lot of additives added to maybe make them more shelf stable or maybe to mimic the texture or mouthfeel of meat based products.


00:21:36 Anna: Think about vegan cheeses or you have non-dairy creamers, all these foods. So as a result, inevitably, they often add quite a bit of oil to that. It could be coconut oil or palm oil, which are quite high in saturated fat, sugar, salt or high fructose corn syrup or other things into it. And so, as a result, you get a calorie rich food, but that may be quite nutrient poor. So I would say if you want to eat these foods, treat them more as transitional foods on your way, moving towards that more diet that's more focused on the whole plant-based foods if you really want the optimal health. So I think that's one key point that's important for many to remember in terms of why the best plant-based foods for health.


00:22:19 Shawna: Yeah, that's so interesting because, again, every time we start plugging in convenience, it seems like we're taking something important out. And so it's good to just keep that in mind that it is good for us to remember that. Getting back to the source of why we're doing it, it's unfortunate that nothing is easy, but it can be simple if you know how to do it. Which is why it's so important to have folks like you that can help lead the way to be doing it right, and give you the tips and tricks to make it easier instead of just convenient.


00:22:49 Anna: Yes, absolutely. So another misconception I think many people feel is that plant-based diets don't offer enough protein. So many are naturally worried that if I move to a plant-based diet or a plant centered diet, I won't be able to meet all my daily protein needs. And that's understandable. Many people are worried about this. But if that was really the case, we really wouldn't have many plant-based athletes or vegan athletes, for example. Some that come to mind right now are maybe Novak Djokovic, who's a Serbian tennis player. He was the world's number one tennis player in 2021. We also have Noah Hannibal, who's an Australian heavyweight gold medalist, and people like Patrik Baboumian, who is a retired vegan bodybuilder. But at one point, he was dubbed the strongest man in Germany.


00:23:38 Shawna: Wow.


00:23:39 Anna: And there's more celebrities and athletes who are eating a vegan diet or plant-based diet. Now, I think the key to remember here is that all plant-based foods have protein, even fruits and vegetables. It's just really amounts. The berries, in terms of different foods and certain foods have a lot more plant-based protein, are really great sources like the legumes, like the beans, lentils, chickpeas. You also have nuts and seeds as well.


00:24:09 Anna: So, just as an example, a regular cup of cooked beans will probably give you about 15 grams of carb protein. You have a cup of lentils that's cooked. It's about 18 grams of protein. And then we think about one of those tubs of tofu that you see at the store. If it's a raw, firm tofu, that can give you up to 30 to 40 grams of protein right there in that little tub. So it's quite a bit. But other foods, too, like quinoa, which is a whole grain, like a cup of quinoa is about 8 grams of protein. Even broccoli, cooked broccoli, you think chopped broccoli and two cups, which is really not a lot, because think of how bulky broccoli is. That's already seven and a half grams of protein right there. So just being smart and knowing which foods to eat right throughout the course of the day, most people have no problems with meeting their daily protein needs. It's actually very easy to do.


00:25:01 Shawna: And how much protein do you need in a day? Or how much is other meat based stuff? Do you know that? Because that's not something I'm familiar with at all.


00:25:09 Anna: I would say in terms of the general standard that's thrown out, there is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram per day for an average adult. But it really, I would say customized, and it depends on every single person. I usually tweak it a lot more depending on a person's age, depending on their exercise, activity level. There are so many things that can go into their weight status. Got you all these things. So you really need to kind of tweak it a little bit in terms of that.


00:25:38 Anna: But I know I looked this up previously, but I think, according to the Centers of Disease Control, I think an average woman, a US woman, adult woman, I think has a protein intake somewhere between 60 to 70 grams of protein was estimated based on the average weight. So if you think about why I talked about even a cup of soybeans, cooked soybeans has over 30 grams of protein just in that one cup. If we add that to maybe a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds, just 8 grams of protein to a cup of lentils, you pretty much are meeting three quarters of this person's protein needs without needing--


00:26:14 Shawna: For the day.


00:26:15 Anna: Yeah, for the day. So I think the reality is true that most people in the United States are eating above what they need for protein on a daily basis already.


00:26:26 Shawna: That makes good sense. That's good to know. Wonderful. Do you have anything else you want to make sure we were aware of?


00:26:34 Anna: I think it's probably just the last kind of misconception I can think of. A big one. Is that the one you mentioned earlier on in the interview? It's just that many people are afraid of moving towards eating more plant-based foods because they think it will be too high in carbohydrates. So especially if they have diabetes or I think they're worried that eating this way will really not be good for their blood sugar levels. And that's understandable because I know a lot of people are also coming off of trying diets that maybe are high protein, low carbohydrate diets.


00:27:07 Anna: And after eating for this way for so long, it can be really a big mind shift to try to move forward and think about now adding in or eating more of these higher carbohydrate foods like the lentils or whole grains. Well, if we remember the study I mentioned earlier with that 2021 study with the diabetes that looked at the risk of type two diabetes, it really showed that those who moved more towards those whole grains, vegetables, the legumes and fruits, they actually had less were associated with less risk of getting type two diabetes the more they move towards these foods.


00:27:44 Anna: So I think the reality is this not all carbohydrates are bad to think of it in terms of that, but really think about what kind of carbohydrates you're eating. So maybe the simplest way to think in terms of maybe simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. So actually, a whole food plant-based diet, the main food categories, the lentils, whole grains and vegetables are all good sources of complex carbohydrates. And what this means is that they're pretty much complex chains of sugar units formed into complex structures. So as you eat these foods that have these complex carbohydrates, like starch and fiber, they are broken down slower in our body. It takes longer time for our bodies to digest them. And so the glucose is released slower into our bloodstream. And that has an added bonus of us feeling fuller and more satisfied between meals when we include foods that have these complex carbohydrates, like the beans or the whole grain in our meals.


00:28:45 Anna: So compare that to simple carbohydrates are usually one or two little sugar units already broken down for you. So like the white flour or the white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. So when you eat these foods or products that have a lot of these ingredients as ingredients, obviously when you eat them, it breaks down very easily in our body, right? The glucose goes into our bloodstream and then that's how you get that little high, right? But then you get that crash right very soon after because it just gets digestive. So, yeah, you're hungry again soon after. So that's why eating whole plant-based foods is really beneficial for your body, for your health, but also if you have diabetes, too, is really beneficial for you.


00:29:26 Shawna: Oh, that's so that is a good reminder on the differences between those and to keep that in mind when you're looking at the plant-based, those are good for you. And so it's not a bad thing. And there are studies to support that. So that's very helpful. Thank you so much. It's so valuable. Anna, I appreciate that you shared all of that with us. And as we're getting closer to the close of things, I think that you might be aware that we kind of have a focus on self care on our podcast.


00:29:55 Shawna: And I actually hung out with a friend of mine who's a mom and I had to rethink the name of calling it self care because as a new mom, I was explaining to her that this is like necessary maintenance for her to do things for herself. So I need to rename it to self maintenance section. So what do you do to take care of yourself, to maintain yourself? What is your self maintenance? What do you do for yourself to take care of yourself? And I I think our listeners love to hear people do take care of themselves.


00:30:20 Anna: Yes, that's a great question. Well, I think on a basic level, just basically staying hydrated, eating well, focusing on whole plant-based foods is an important part of self care. Not just for myself, but also for my family as well. But as a mother of young children, I have a three year old and a six year old. I'm also in that busy season of life, right? Which I love. But it's also exhausting and tiring at times because you have to take care of the physical needs, emotional needs with meltdowns, temper tantrums, breakdowns, things like that.


00:30:51 Anna: One of the things that's non-negotiable for them is to have afternoon kind of nap time or quiet time. So usually an hour or 2 hours. And that's non negotiable even for the six year old who maybe would not take a nap, but she will need to rest in bed as well. I'm sure they need it because they need that time to recharge. But it's also even more important for me as well. I need that rest time. When they are down, I get that little quiet break in the middle of the day so I can do maybe a quick power nap if I want to. Just recharge, have some me time, down time, just to have a little peace and quiet in the home. It really makes a big difference for me. So that's something I stick to no matter when they are here.


00:31:39 Anna: Another thing I think it's very important for self care is to stay connected. So I tried to stay connected with friends or neighbors at least twice a week, either on the phone or in person or virtually because I've lived in four countries, so I have friends in different countries. So it's really nice to connect with them internationally and I'm able to. So just yesterday, I had a friend as a neighbor come over and had her children play. We were able as adults right to have that downtime and to just relax and catch up with it.


00:32:06 Anna: I also try to have a daily cup or two of hot cocoa or green matcha soy. So that's kind of made with just an organic soy, fortified calcium, vitamin D fortified soy milk. And then if it's either just hot cocoa or I do some green matcha powder with some turmeric inside, so it's just like my nice little hot steaming cup that I kind of have once or twice a day just to enjoy when doing things or on the computer.


00:32:30 Shawna: Oh, those are all good.


00:32:31 Anna: So those are just some of my self care.


00:32:34 Shawna: No, I love that. I know we're going to start calling self maintenance. So those are self maintenance. Yes. And for my friend that was a mom, I told her it's actually family maintenance so she could frame it to her husband if they want the family to maintain she needs her time. So it's family maintenance. Now, you can be part of reframing these things because it's important, just very important. That's wonderful.


00:32:54 Shawna: And so as part of a thank you for being a guest on The Grit Show, we actually send you a copy of a coloring book. So would you like a copy of we have the Magnificent Ocean and Vintage Mermaid and Magnificent Ocean. And we also have You've Got This, which is inspirational quote. So which one can I send you?


00:33:11 Anna: I think the Magnificent Ocean would be lovely because my favorite place is the ocean, the beach. So I love that.


00:33:17 Shawna: I love that. We will definitely send you a copy of that. Perfect. Thank you so much. And then the other thing we do is we always offer something actionable and practical. So for a lot of our listeners, this is the first time that they're contemplating plant-based eating perhaps. Hopefully, folks have come here because they're like, they see the headline, I got to learn more about plant-based eating. But for folks who listened regularly, this might be the first time that they've contemplated this or looked at this. So what is like for our grit wit for today? What is something that they can actionably do to kind of apply what we've talked about today into their life and into their world?


00:33:52 Anna: Well, I think maybe my takeaway tip for your listeners would be to be adventurous. So I think of the quote, "Variety is the spice of life" by William Cowper, the 18th century poet. So I think don't be afraid to try maybe a new whole food plant-based ingredient or food, a fruit, vegetable or whole grain or legume. And you can buy a small amount first and try if you're not sure. But who knows? Worst case scenarios, maybe you don't like it, but your loved ones or family members may enjoy it.

But in the best case scenarios, you might enjoy it. And so it might become a new food favorite.


00:34:29 Anna: As we talked about before, there are many different ways to try something. So different cooking methods, different spices, cuisines, and even different forms, which I shared just now about the chickpeas. So even if it's vegetables like broccoli, we mentioned, if someone doesn't like broccoli, it could be because it was always boiled and always overdone. So it's brown and it's not mushy and tasteless. Yeah, you understand what I mean? But what it did was just lightly saute and cook until just crunchy al dente tender with some crispy, green carrots, maybe some bean sprouts and snow peas with some tofu mixed with a kind of a soy ginger sauce. That might be nice.


00:35:10 Anna: So trying it in different ways, or even leafy greens, if someone doesn't like salad, maybe trying it in smoothies or adding it into a soup or stew could be something different. So even beans, even if you think you don't like beans and they're actually hundreds of varieties of beans cultivated around the world. There's many different kinds and they actually have different tastes and textures as you get down to it. So soybeans and black eyed peas are slightly sweeter than some of the other beans, and some keep their texture better. So if you're someone who doesn't like mushy beans, you can eat some of the other ones, but they're also different.


00:35:46 Anna: If you don't like beans, there's a big family in the legume family. You can still try split peas, red lentils, brown lentils, green lentils. There are tofu, tempeh. There's many different kinds of legumes you can still enjoy and still reap the health benefits from eating them. So I really feel just be adventurous and be open to trying foods and trying it in a few different ways in a few different forms before deciding whether you like it or not. And that will really help you bring in variety and optimize your health and nutrition as well.


00:36:19 Anna: And I forgot to mention this as well. I do have a free gift or resource wonderful for your listener. So it's called a 'Quick Start grocery Guide for Plant Based Essentials.' It contains a one page grocery list, a recommended grocery list of some essential and commonly used plant-based ingredients, and seasonings often seen in plant-based meals. It has some money saving, time saving shopping tips, as well as some easy starter meal recipes as well. So if your listeners want that, they can just go to guide to get it.


00:36:52 Shawna: Wonderful. And we will also have that in the show notes so you can just click right on. If you're on your phone or at your computer, you'll be able to see that and follow that. That is going to be so helpful. So definitely, you guys can take that and grab something on there to get adventurous. I know that it's so funny. I was just in my cupboard two nights ago and we actually have a plethora of garbanzo beans because I apparently got the thing at Costco and then I haven't used them as much as I thought I would. And so I'm so excited to go home and roast them because that is such a good idea. So I haven't had them roasted before, so I'm excited to try that out.


00:37:29 Shawna: And also, at the site, we tried a local delivery from Organic Farm and it had Bok choy in it. And I remember loving Bok choy when I got it at a different time and it's been in my fridge and I've been trying to think of how to prepare that. So do you have thoughts or is there something in that guy that will give me thoughts on what to do my Bok choy?


00:37:47 Anna: Sure. Bok choy. I love the fact that it's very neutral as a vegetable and slightly sweet tasting. So most of the time, I enjoy just kind of stir frying a little bit of garlic, a little bit of salt. If you want a tiny bit of soy sauce, you can, but actually you don't need it. Just a bit of salt and garlic, a little bit of oil would work well. But actually, I even put it into smoothies before. And you just chop it up. Yes. And it tastes delicious. You can also just cut some, it's one of those quick cooking vegetables. So even if you throw it in at the end of whatever you're cooking, whatever dish that you're making, so it could be a chili, stew, pasta, soup, whatever it is, towards the end, you can just throw it in. You just cut it in and then as you stir fry, it cooks really fast, so then you can keep it crunchy and al dente. And kind of just done versus it being overcooked.


00:38:36 Shawna: Perfect. Yeah. I feel like I stir fried it when I had it the last time that I did something with it, I was wondering about having soups or not, and I haven't looked into it, and I'm worried it's going to go bad before I figure out what to do with it. That's what happens when I get adventurous. I got it time limited to take care of it. So wonderful. So you have that essentials, the that folks can utilize. Great. How else can people find you? What's a good way for people to find you, Anna?


00:39:01 Anna: So I think the best way to connect with me will be through my website, As I said, I offer the private coaching. One-to one-coaching or the Plant Power Life Transformation course. And enrollment for this course is actually just opened up again. So...


00:39:17 Shawna: Oh, perfect.


00:39:18 Anna: This course is... yeah, it's wonderful for those who are really looking for a step by step kind of framework to take them through building their skills and confidence and starting sustaining this plant power, thriving lifestyle and really master the skills, and the techniques and hacks and strategies that they need to really sustain it moving forward. So you can go to that website,, for details about the coaching or about the course.


00:39:44 Shawna: Perfect. That is wonderful. Thank you so much for being here today, and I'm so glad that worked out. And I'm excited for more people to get to have learned some of your tips and tricks to learn to have you as a resource as they or someone they know is looking for moving towards a more plant-based eating plan lifestyle.


00:40:01 Anna: Yes. Thank you for having me, Shawna. It has been a pleasure to speak with you.


00:40:05 Shawna: Perfect. Take care.


00:40:06 Anna: Take care.


00:40:07Shawna: Thank you for being here as part of our audience today. If you're interested in checking out our coloring books, all you need to do is Google 'The Color Of Grit' and they should pop up. You can definitely find them on Amazon. You can also get sample pages off of our website, Don't forget, you are the only one of you this world has got, and that means something. We'll be here again next Tuesday. I hope you are, too.