New cookbook extols the power of plants

Sep 05 2012, 11:24 IST
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Sharon Palmer, author of ''The Plant-Powered Diet''. Sharon Palmer, author of ''The Plant-Powered Diet''.
Summary'The purpose of the book is to help people find that balance in their diet', dietitian says.

Nutrition writer and registered dietitian Sharon Palmer believes that for weight loss, optimal health and longer life, everyone should be moving towards plant-based eating.

In her new book, "The Plant-Powered Diet," the Los Angeles-based chef includes 75 meatless recipes but the meal plans, suggestions and tips are aimed at omnivores as much as at vegetarians and vegans.

"The purpose of the book is to help people find that balance in their diet," Palmer said. "I'm hoping to appeal to everybody because I think everybody can benefit from this."

Palmer spoke to Reuters about plant-based breakfasts, meatless Mondays, and how even vegetarians can be junk food junkies.

Q: Why did you write this book?

A: "I really felt that research is coming together to support plant-based eating and I felt that people could gain benefits no matter where they were at. Many people think that plant-based eating is only vegetarian or vegan but it can really take place for everybody. They can eat animals less and eat more plants to gain the health benefits."

Q: Are all the recipes vegetarian?

A: "All 75 recipes are vegan because I have a vegan, a vegetarian and a plant-based omnivore meal plan. Everybody can start with the vegan plan even if they just want to have plant-based meals once or twice a week."

Q: What is the power of plants?

A: "Plant-based eating has so many health benefits. A wide range of research supports that: heart health, lower diabetes risk, lower cancer risk, even improved cognition, which is brain function, are linked with a plant-based diet."

Q: How do you suggest an omnivore/meat-eater move incrementally to a plant-based diet?

A: "I love the idea of meatless Mondays. I think the whole thing about once a week eating a plant-based meal is really catching on because it's so easy to do.

"Other techniques include going back to the cultural history of eating, when people would take a small amount of animal and turn it into a whole meal. Meat was really precious and wasn't the center of the plate. Take a small chicken breast and turn it into a stir-fry pasta dish. Ethnic cuisine is a real inspiration for plant-based eating. Also, breakfast is an easy meal to make plant-based. It's a no-brainer."

Q: What are basic ingredients, to have always on hand, in a plant-based diet?

A: "To cook a whole plant-based diet, or to eat that way, you've got to be prepared. Shelf ingredients, such as dried

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