Session & Q+A: Small Change, Big Impact: Occasional Plant-Based Eating

A note from Marina: I loved giving you my tips on transitioning to a plant based lifestyle. The biggest thing to remember is to take it one step at a time, and really practice self love and self acceptance in the process. This transition is actually a mirror of many other things you do in your life, so if you take this whole process as a lesson, you’ll be able to change your relationship with fear, obstacles, and expand your comfort zone. This means that if you transition gracefully, and practice self compassion every time you “mess up”, your overall relationship with failure and obstacles will change too! What an opportunity for growth!


What Did I Miss?

Diving into her personal story, mentor Marina Yanay-Triner said she started a plant-based diet 9 years ago. Severe premenstrual syndrome and a genetic predisposition made her realize that she could improve her health and prevent sickness by changing her food habits. Over time, the benefit for the planet and animals came into her mind, and ever since then, she has promoted not just a vegan but whole food, plant-based lifestyle on her website, offering transformational wellness coaching and online classes.

Changing your habits can be tricky, especially when it comes to eating habits. The important thing is to do it right. Setting an intention is important, to ask yourself why you are doing it because it is a big change of lifestyle that might mean going outside your comfort zone. You need to know a reason that is close to your heart because there will come a time where you will struggle a little bit. If your intention is bigger than just your health, it is a good way to start.

With a plant-based lifestyle, we can not only prevent but reverse heart diseases which are a big danger to our society. Not only does a plant-based diet support the fight against animal cruelty in the food industry, but there are also environmental benefits that come with the consumption of only vegan food. Water shortage, deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and the destruction of land through the animal food industry are some of the main problems we are facing today.

For Marina, it is more than a diet, it is a lifestyle! “Take it easy and start with a simple, vegan breakfast until you feel really comfortable.” When you make behavioral changes, you want to be sure to only take small steps outside your comfort zone. Breakfast is a simple meal to start with. Also, look for a community, online or in your city because sharing your transition makes it easier. Throughout the change, try to observe your behavior and check-in to see if you are being nice and gentle with yourself.

It is also important to know that not all vegan products are healthy. Refined, fake meat or fake dairy products may be fun but not good for your health as they are packed with oil, sugar, preservatives, and things that your body does not need. Do not be a junk food vegan, concentrate on whole foods, greens, beans, fruits, and organic plant-based products that support your health. Be sure to increase your portions when you are eating vegan as plant-based foods that are rich in fiber are known to be low in calories. Secondly, supplementing your diet with Vitamin B12 should be taken seriously if you are changing your diet to plant-based and vegan.

Questions & Answers

Q: I would like to be more plant based to help the planet’s health. I don’t think I’d be able to be fully plant based yet, but I’d like to start. What are the main benefits of this and does it make a difference if I’m partly plant based? What would be the best things to eat or avoid if I’m doing it part time?

A: Absolutely. Totally go for it. Start slow like I said, so you don’t have to go full in and, like I said, start with breakfast or lunch or dinner. The meal that feels the easiest for you to start with. For me it was breakfast, so I often recommend breakfast. Going with green smoothies or oatmeal, anything like that, porridges. I’ve got plenty of recipes on and in my courses. It makes a difference for the planet, absolutely. It reduces your footprint on the planet, the less meat and dairy that you eat. Things to avoid; it will just be focusing on “the more plants I can put into my diet, the better”. It’s not about avoiding certain things. It’s just about “how little animal products can I eat and how much more plant based foods can I put in?”

Q: What is the difference between vegan and plant based?

A: Love this question. Really, really good point. So, vegan is just avoiding animal products, and I like to use the other term that I like: “whole food plant based”, which means that you’re eating whole foods. So in terms of food, vegan is like an ethical standpoint, right? It’s your standpoint towards animals, that you don’t want to harm them or you want to cause the least harm possible. Whereas whole food plant based means that you are focusing on your health and you’re eating whole foods so you’d be avoiding refined Carbohydrates, you’d be avoiding fake meats and fake cheese’s, stuff like that.

Q: Could you share some insight on some of the positive long term effects being plant based has had on you. Objectively, is it really that much more costly to be plant based versus omnivore?

A: Not at all more expensive. Not at all! It’s so much cheaper actually. When you’re focusing on whole foods again, so not those replacements for meat and dairy, but rather whole foods, vegetables, fruits, potato, sweet potato, I’m just naming some of the cheap foods, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, and whole grains like brown rice, beans that you cook from scratch, rather than canned beans. All super, super cheap. It’s literally like poor people’s food, so it can be extremely cheap to do this. Some of the positive effects: First of all, my PMS is gone. How amazing is that? I used to literally be debilitated on my period and take ten painkillers a day to survive. I’ve had so much more energy, mental clarity and just really feeling more connected to myself, that’s the biggest thing. Feeling connected to myself, to my purpose and [being] able to tap into my intuition. That’s really what I like to work with my clients on. So just self connection, living a life of purpose, rather than doing what you’re supposed to be doing. But with my clients I’ve seen things like reducing their diabetes, reversing arthritis, just the most amazing things.

Q: What animals substitutes do you suggest? I’m trying to remove dairy, beef and poultry from my diet.

A: You’re amazing. Congrats, I’m so proud of you. I don’t like to, as I said, go through the very processed route. You could for a while if you’re really struggling, but just see it as a transitional food. But if you want to go more clean, for cheese I really like Treeline Cheese. Treeline is the brand and you can get it at Whole Foods and other places, and for meat I love Soy Curls. If you haven’t discovered them, they’re awesome, and they are more Whole Foods based. They’re very simple, one ingredient, made of soy, non GMO, and they taste a lot like chicken strips. They’re delicious.

Q: Are you plant based on things outside of diet, like the products you use?

A: Yes, but it took me time to get there. So I still wear leather but I never buy leather. I still wear leather from the past. I don’t want to throw those things away because it’s wasteful for the environment. So I do wear my clothes from the past that are still functional but I would never buy leather or fur or silk, anything like that. I also check all of the ingredients. I use 100% pure for any makeup, which I wear very little… I also forgot to mention that my skin is super clear. As you can see I don’t have any makeup on. So that’s a big benefit. So I use 100% pure, I check my labels, I get cruelty free and vegan ingredients as well, but it took me time to get there. So take your time, be kind and patient to yourself and just have that as an end goal.

Q: Since you’re also a life coach, would you recommend any behavioral shifts or changes to try to make that would assist in transitioning onto a plant based diet?

A: My favorite question of all. That is what I love working with my clients on. So things like really tapping into the inside of yourself. And the most important key in this process is acceptance, practicing self acceptance. So really “loving yourself through it” meaning, and I’ll give you a very functional tip so that you can know what acceptance actually means: When you screw up, and we’re all going to screw up because we’re human we actually send love to the part of us in the body that feels constricted, that feels angry, that feels whatever it feels, heavy. We send love to it in that moment… that makes us more effective in making this change rather than self judgment. So that’s just one tip I have for you.

Q: I’ve heard that you can get all the proper nutrients through a plant based diet. Are there any supplements that you recommend?

A: Yes, b12 is a must, so definitely b12. And then in some areas, it’s also vitamin D if you’re not getting enough sun. Other than that, you’re good to go. I also have online courses that can teach you all of the nutrients that you would ever need to get on a plant based lifestyle. So those are on my website under online courses: how to cook, how to make delicious food, it’s all on there.

Q: What do you recommend I do to manage cravings for meat on days where we might go off plant based?

A: Great question. Really, self compassion. If you are having those cravings, and you’re judging yourself for it, that really makes the cravings even stronger. This is resistance, right? And when you resist it, you get stuck resisting the resistance, you get stuck in one place. So first of all self compassion. Right now I’m craving, I’m craving meat. Just even saying that right now, just acknowledging, and then giving yourself the love. I acknowledge myself for trying. And if you really feel like “I can’t take it”, then you eat some and still feel compassionate for yourself. And over time, you will not crave it as hard, I promise you, and to tell you, I don’t crave it at all anymore.

Q: What are common pitfalls when transitioning?

A: “I’m not eating enough”: That’s the biggest thing I see. So make sure that your portions are big enough, bigger than before for sure because plants have more water and fiber. So the bulk is going to be bigger, even if you’re eating more.

Q: What are your top three favorite plant based meals?

A: Oh my goodness. So hard. Smoothie bowls in the morning and I love oatmeal as well, or I love making raw granola, and putting berries and soy milk [on it] and it’s really, really good. I love Buddha bowls, nothing better than Buddha bowls. They’re so creative and so much fun. I love sushi, I used to be a huge sushi person and now I make plant based sushi. Protein sources: So I will tell you, it’s not something to super worry about. So things like beans and whole grains will have you covered.

Q: How do I eat out when plant based and my friends are not?

A: I recommend asking the server to ask the chef to make you a vegan meal. You can also call the restaurant ahead of time and ask them what vegan items they have on the menu. Just remember: restaurants want to serve YOU and make sure you have a good experience! They are excited about it, and this is your chance to also encourage more vegan options on the menu.

Q: What do you think about soy products negatively affecting your thyroid?

A: There is a section in this recipe where I discuss soy. Short answer: soy is really good for you as long as you consume non-gmo, unprocessed forms such as edamame, tempeh, soy curls, and some tofu.

Q: What are your thoughts on frozen veggies and fruits versus canned?

A: Frozen is a great option to have in your freezer for quick meals! If you can find glass-canned veggies that do not contain preservatives or additives, those are awesome too. Fresh is always best, but if having these on hand will help you eat more veggies, then I’m all for it!

More from Marina:

Schedule a free session to discover how you can work with Marina one on one as a life coach:

Enroll in her online courses on whole food plant based nutrition:

Also, check out the Summary + QA of other Mentors from the Inaugural Virtual Wellness Summit – Powered By Plantie