Nutrition, Education, and Motivation that remind us why Plants-Rule.  Supporting a plant-based, whole-foods diet with scientific evidence.  A chef's passion for ingredients with the realistic practicality of a home cook.  These articles offer insight into the benefits of a vegan diet with the humor to support a balanced healthy lifestyle. 

4 Simple Steps for a Healthy Life: Easy, Practical Advice for Small Change Toward a Plant-Based Diet

CTA Bus - part of the daily life in Chicago, and inspiration for a healthy talk about diet

On Tuesday mornings, after I get done teaching my 6am fitness classes at Equinox, I’ll catch the 36 CTA bus back to my kitchen up north.  Most weeks, if we’re both running on time, my driver is Steve.  Steve and I usually have about a 5-minute conversation on simple topics.  I’ve learned he loves playing blues on his well-worn acoustic guitar.  He’s learned that I love making people sweat before they put on their business suits and fancy skirts.

About two weeks ago, Steve and I started talking food.  He began by bragging about his rib tip recipe, and I echoed with my love for stewed collards.  He said he wanted to start eating healthier and asked me for ideas.  In that moment, I had to think of something quick.  I had about 3 bus stops left – only about 5 minutes to offer advice on eating “healthy”.
In that short time, my suggestion was simple: 

Dandelion Greens at the Farmers Market

"Get Your Greens"

Eat a salad, add spinach to your soup, steam some broccoli for dinner, drink a green smoothie as a snack.  Heck, even those stewed collards work well, regardless of the smoky rib tips.  Somehow, some way, get a few big handfuls of greens every day.

Simple Steps Help Build Confidence in

Unfamiliar Territory

As a self-identified plant-based aficionado, a chef, and a fitness professional, when someone asks me “how to get healthy” I sometimes get stuck at how to answer.  Does this person want to hear about calorie density, the artery-clogging effects of red meat, or how to eat after a high-intensity interval workout?  Answering this question before has wound down a spiral that started with antioxidants and fell down a rabbit hole about the iron level of organically-composted soil.

It’s true: If you want BIG change, you need to make BIG change.  

However, Steve reminded me that sometimes we just need tangible goals to get motivated.  Not all of us are ready to dive into a 30-day oil-free, vegan diet.  Small, simple steps have the power to get us out of our stagnant fear, to get us moving forward, and to build confidence for more change.  

The next few weeks are dedicated to Steve.  In his honor of Steve, here are 4 simple things you can do to instantly make your life healthier.  

Like 3 bus-stops-till-I-get-off... SIMPLE.  

4 Simple Changes for a Healthier Life

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Get started with your healthy plant-based diet.  This 1 week meal plan gives you all of the recipes you need.  Plus, you get a handy shopping list and helpful nutrition information.  The menus is 100% vegan, oil-free, and whole-foods.  All of the recipes are gluten-free, delicious, and easy to follow.  This is the essential for your healthy vegetarian diet.

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Do you need that extra motivation to get healthy?   Want some help in the kitchen?  Whether you're just starting a plant-based diet, or you're trying to improve your vegan cooking, Chef Katie is here to help.  She'll work with you to tackle some of your biggest challenges and set-up a program to ensure success for your healthy lifestyle. 

About the Author: 

 Chicago Personal Chef Katie Simmons

Chicago Personal Chef Katie Simmons

Chef Katie Simmons

Katie is a Personal Chef based in Chicago.  She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue.  She consults and develops recipes for a Chicago-based food delivery company and celebrity cookbooks.  Outside of the kitchen, she is a Fitness Instructor for Equinox, with over 13 years experience in the fitness industry.  For fun, she loves to travel.  Some of her favorite trips include 4 days on the Incan Trail in Peru,  10 days of hiking in the Patagonia of Argentina and Chile, and exploring the pretzels and vineyards of Germany.