The Solidarity Food Plan
Thank you for requesting our meal plan, recipe guide & grocery list e-booklet. If you are reading this, it’s probably due to one or more of the following reasons: you want to try plant-based foods to improve your health and prevent disease; adopt more compassion into your life; improve your Food Carbon Footprint; decolonize your body; and/or boycott Corporate America’s disease-for-profit food system.
All good reasons! And most of us have more than one of these in mind as we decide to go plant-based. Studies show that if you have more than one reason for going plant-based, you are much more likely to stick with it.
Another key to success is to do a little pre-planning so when you get hungry, you already have what you need on hand to manage old cravings and stay on track. So, throughout this guide, we share some tips and hacks that may seem small, but combined, can greatly improve your plant-based journey.
If you are an experienced cook with a fully outfitted kitchen, you will likely already know most of these tips. Please keep in mind that this guide is meant to help people with all levels of cooking skills. For example, not everyone has a colander or even knows what a colander is! I was like that until I finally took interest in feeding myself, so please be patient as you read this.
We’re all trying to get up to speed and I want everyone, no matter their age, skill or how many pots, pans & utensils they own, to be able to join us and learn to feed themselves properly. If you don’t have a fully stocked kitchen, as you come across things in this guide that you don’t already own, try looking at thrift stores to see what you can find. We have found some incredible bargains there! I’ve also spent time at my college age daughter’s apartment and have had to be creative when I couldn’t find a colander or a properly fitting lid for certain pans. Don’t think that you can’t do this because you don’t have a gourmet kitchen. Just make a list of things that come up, and if you have some spare cash, go thrift store shopping to see what treasures you can find!
GOOD NUTRITION IMPROVES IMMUNITY
COVID 19: I first began working on this meal plan during the pandemic of 2020. I kept seeing
questions asked on social media about why more wealthy & powerful people are not dying from COVID. Why are they not as susceptible to the virus as people without wealth & power? The answer is, they have better access to healthier food and the best health care. We may not all have access to the best healthcare, or any healthcare for that matter. My family has gone without health insurance for over 8 years now, so I understand the fear and worry that an illness or accident could bankrupt your family. Just know that with a little planning & effort, we can feed ourselves a tasty, healthy diet that greatly improves our ability to fight off infectious diseases like COVID as well as prevent and heal chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Another thing I want you to think about as you go through this plan is the apparent complicity of our government in keeping us sick, and yoked to the pharmaceutical industry. BigPHARMA spends more money than any other industry on lobbying US lawmakers. It’s in their best financial interest to keep you just sick enough so that you are a lifelong customer. In fact, one Wall Street analyst openly admitted that “curing disease is bad for business.” So, please don’t let them have this power over you. Let us stop this cycle of corporate greed and reclaim control of our health and wellbeing.
LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR FOOD
The studies that claim we need meat and dairy in our diet are typically paid for by the meat and dairy industry. If you want to learn the truth about nutrition, read books and articles by medical doctors who stand up to industry propaganda. Often, these are the doctors who may have lost loved ones to preventable diseases or were sick themselves, did their own research, found out the truth about nutrition: that animal-based foods are the leading cause of chronic diseases. And that plant-based diets are the best way to prevent and even reverse those chronic diseases.
Look for the section in this guide with the names of some of my favorite doctors. They have great books that you should be able to find at your local library or used book store. You can also find a TON of good articles and videos online by these brave doctors. They have taken a lot of heat over the years (I’m looking at you, Dr. John McDougall...my personal hero!) because they dared to go up against BigAg and tell the truth.
More and more people in the U.S. are experiencing food and nutrition insecurity. Our Solidarity Food Plan is designed to allow a person who is on a fixed income or public assistance (SNAP, WIC) to stay within their budget and still feed themself and their family a healthy diet. We have a family member who is on public assistance, and I have shopped with that person and was able to stay within their budget using this plan.
Are you ready to get your health back? As always, when starting a new way of eating, you should check with your doctor (if you have one, I personally do not) to make sure they know you are starting a plant-based meal plan. Most doctors will applaud your efforts, but if your doctor tries to discourage you from this, it might be time to find a new doctor. The science is now clear that eating a plant-based diet is healthy for all stages of life. Especially when you consider that 18 of the Top 20 BigPharma Products are medicines that treat diseases associated with animal-based foods, it just makes common sense.
So just to be crystal clear: the consumption of meat and dairy is the leading driver of chronic disease in the U.S. It also sets us up as clients for the pharmaceutical and medical industry that we will never escape from unless we take control of what we give our bodies for fuel. As Hippocrates said back in 400 BC,” let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Note that Hippocrates was known to be a vegan.
THE MAGICAL FRUIT
When I’m at my best and keeping my life well organized, having a meal plan is crucial. I saw a Facebook meme years ago that said, the least favorite phrase a Mom ever hears is: “What’s for dinner?” The Mom is thinking to herself, didn’t I just feed these people? This is so true, and my family loves it when there’s a menu on the fridge so they don’t have to ask the question.
The key to an easy, healthy, delicious & successful meal plan for me has always centered around beans (legumes). They’re super healthy, affordable, and add clean (non-toxic) proteins that help you feel more full for a longer period of time. I make a huge pot on the weekend before a busy week starts and then I use those beans in recipes almost daily. You’ll see pinto beans, red beans, black beans & black eyed peas as a key ingredient for the coming weeks. I also make lentils every week and use them in a variety of different recipes because they are so versatile, much like ground beef (except without the toxic fats and protein). You can use lentils to make almost anything that you would use ground beef for. I keep coming up with new things and I’m never disappointed in how they turn out.
If I plan well, my family doesn’t even notice that they are having legumes in most meals. The key to this variety is to incorporate spices & change up the flavor of the legumes in a way that makes the meal interesting and seems different. Legumes are incredibly healthy, tasty, filling and inexpensive so that’s why we use them all throughout this plan. If you get to the end of the week and still have beans left-over, be sure to freeze them in a freezer safe container. You’ll be so happy to see those beans in the freezer one day soon when you get home and need a quick dinner. They have saved my butt on many occasions!
Set a tradition in your home that every Monday is beans and rice day. My husband was born in New Orleans and so were our 2 daughters, and we heard so often that Monday is Red Beans & Rice day due to Monday being “wash day.” This is a great tradition and provides the structure for the rest of your week.
I grew up in Oklahoma and my Mom’s bean specialty was pinto beans. She made them with fried potatoes and cornbread. It was so delicious! I still love it when she makes it. Every part of that meal can easily be made totally plant-based, so it works great!
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
Before you embark on this life-changing journey, you need to get prepared for success. This will mean reading over the meal plan and recipes and deciding if you like all the items listed. If you really don’t like certain things, you can change out a recipe for another, or just make a bigger recipe of something and eat it more than once. We’ve provided a grocery list that includes everything, so if you change out something on your meal plan, be sure to adjust your grocery list accordingly.
This plan is pretty flexible. The main thing is that we want you to go completely plant-based and try to stay as close to whole foods as possible. Even on a plant-based diet, processed foods are not great for your overall health. However, plant-based junk food junkies are certainly healthier than meat and dairy junk food junkies. This is true for many reasons, but mainly because when you don’t consume meat and dairy, you avoid all the artery-clogging saturated fats and cancer-causing animal proteins.
But don’t just be satisfied with avoiding disease, why not go for great health?! Imagine having more energy and being able to do the things that you love to do? Imagine not being on expensive prescription drugs and medical treatments? This is possible if you change your diet and start fueling your body with healthy food. And as you will see, healthy food does not have to be expensive.
GET READY FOR A NEW START
We recommend that you take some time to look over the grocery list, mark off any items that you already have, then go grocery shopping. If you are starting the plan on a Monday, it would make sense to get all of your shopping done by the Saturday before you start. If you are following our instructions below, note that you will need to sort and soak your beans overnight, so get those done on the same day you do your shopping.
We also recommend that at least one day before you start the plan, you read through the timeline we laid out for each week. If you can make the time, we recommend you prepare a few items in advance to make your week of healthy meals go more smoothly. See the recipes that follow for the lentils, beans, granola and pasta salad- those can all be prepared in advance.
Rice: There are so many good options for rice. If you shop the bulk section you can get some great deals on some really exotic types of rice. My favorite is short grain brown rice. It’s a plumper, less dry rice. Long grain brown rice is also great. Just try to stay away from white rice- it’s been stripped of all its nutrients. It’s just not healthy. You can read more about that here. Follow the package directions on your brown rice. If you don’t have a rice-cooker appliance, you will need a pot with a lid for cooking the rice.
A few words about wheat. You may know someone who has decided to go gluten free. There are many people who make fun of others for doing so. If they knew the truth about wheat, they wouldn’t be laughing! The wheat of today is not the same plant that our grandparents ate. Conventional wheat is often so corrupted with chemical herbicides and pesticides at time of harvest that some people can have mild to very serious reactions to it. If you’d like to explore this for yourself, try going gluten free for a week and see how you feel. You may likely lose the constant bloating that wheat causes for some of us. If so, you may never go back to wheat! And honestly...good riddance! Why eat something that causes you inflammation? And who knows what residual damage all those chemical herbicides are doing to our bodies.
IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ
The next few sentences are very important, and I hope you will keep this in mind as you start this healthier way of eating. If you are just coming off a steady diet of meat and dairy and processed foods, you will likely need to allow your body time to adjust and detoxify. You have been eating foods that make you feel full and sluggish, and add toxicity to your body. As you eat healthier, whole plant-based foods, your body will begin a natural cleansing process. So, you may feel a little more hungry or even irritable at first as your body begins to detoxify. But trust me, you will adjust just fine if you keep up your clean eating habits and drink sufficient amounts of water along the way! Before long, you’ll feel lighter, have more energy, and if you’ve had that awful brain fog, it will start to clear up as well.
These plant-based whole foods will be easier to digest and if you have stomach problems such as bloating or constipation, you will likely see distinct improvements. Just make sure you eat plenty of healthy snacks in between meals if you need to stave off cravings, but try to stay away from processed foods. We’ve included a few processed items in this plan such as pasta because we consider this a gradual process and don’t want to shock and overwhelm you all at once. But some day, maybe try a dish with spiralized zucchini instead of pasta. You will not believe how good it is!!
As you go through this plan, you’ll see some repeat menu items from prior weeks. We do this because you will have purchased some ingredients for those items with leftovers to spare. Using spare ingredients in subsequent meals will help keep your food costs down. It’s just good budget management. And it’s also easier and less time consuming for busy people to make something that you’ve made before.
You are going to settle on some favorites that you like to make and enjoy eating. Those are likely the recipes you will want to make later on when you are coming up with your own plan. Just remember that when you get bored, you’ve got plenty of other options. Just look through the plan and try something different to get out of your food rut.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, especially between meals. This will help as you detox from all the bad stuff stored in your body over the years.. It will also help you feel more full between meals. Another thing to keep in mind is that after you wean off of the old bad foods, your palette will change and you will notice that fruits and veggies start to taste better. The spices that you add to recipes will also taste better. And you will start to crave healthier foods if you give yourself the chance to adjust.
You can follow this link if you want to read more about these specific foods. You will find most of these included in our recipes below. I encourage you to include as many of these as possible in your salads. A salad made of fresh spinach, black beans, walnuts, beets, avocado & raspberries with a light vinaigrette dressing would be wonderful! And you would have included 6 of these great, nutrient-dense superfoods! See how this works?
Another thing to think about is color… Try to incorporate different colored foods into your meals like yellow squash, orange carrots, red beets and tomatoes and fresh greens of course. These colors in plant foods indicate the presence of phytonutrients which have potent anti-cancer, anti-heart disease and anti-aging effects. In a pinch you can always add a couple of handfuls of spinach to almost any dish towards the end of the cooking time.
Dark (dairy-free) chocolate is also rich in phytochemicals and a really nice treat. I like to keep a dark chocolate bar and have 1 or 2 squares after dinner sometimes. Try to eat it really slowly and let the chocolate melt in your mouth. The chocolate taste is awesome! Chocolate should be savored, not gobbled like we did when we were kids! Pair it with some red wine or a good cup of coffee or hot herbal tea, and it can be a heavenly treat!
Do you have a discount grocery store in your area? We are very lucky to have one in our area and I like to go to this store first to see what I can find on my list. It’s also a great place to find new plant based products to try that are really, really cheap! You have to read labels and make sure the items are not expired, but you can get some great food this way!
Is there a grocery store in your area that has a bulk section? This is a great way to buy many items at a greatly reduced cost. Some places even have certain days where they offer a discount on all bulk items. Ask your grocery store if they offer that. You control the amount that you buy, so it is much less expensive to buy in bulk. You can get flour, rice, nuts, dried fruit, grains, nutritional yeast, just to name a few.
Our aim is to introduce new spices each week with the goal of having a nicely stocked spice cabinet at the end of the plan. Then you can start your plan over again with less cost or branch out and try new recipes with the spices you have on hand. The use of spices can really broaden your horizons and help you enjoy some new cuisines that will make cooking more fun and interesting. You can also start making your own custom spice mixes like cajun spice mix, italian seasoning mix, taco seasoning mix, etc.
Do you have a farmers market in your area? You can use this link to find out: https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets Some farmers markets have great deals on produce, so it might be worth trying to find one near you. This is a great way to support local farmers instead of the big conglomerate farming operations. The produce will also be more healthy.
Food co-ops are another great option. Use this link to see if you have one near you: http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm Some co-ops even let you work a few hours in exchange for food items. Plus, you can make some new friends who are trying to improve their own health and save money at the same time.
You will notice green bell peppers on our list. Green bell peppers are the least healthy of the bell pepper family, but red, yellow and orange bell peppers are usually really pricey. Keep an eye out for good deals and when you can, substitute red, yellow or orange bell peppers for the green ones. If I know that I will be using bell peppers in a lot of recipes on any given week, I can sometimes find a 3 pack of red, yellow and orange for anywhere from $3.49 to $4.99.
If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be glad to hear from you and happy to help out.
DOCTORS YOU CAN TRUST