We interviewed Portland chef Rajiv Harry of Plant Bomb about the benefits of a plant-based diet and going vegan for Veganuary.
January is here, and those New Year's resolutions are in full effect. For many of us, that includes eating a healthier, more balanced diet. And this month, we're sticking to those goals by participating in Veganuary—a month-long challenge to eat a plant-based (aka vegan) diet.
Eating a plant-based diet is considered a great choice for overall health and well-being—for you and the planet.
To get the scoop on Veganuary and eating a balanced diet, we enlisted the help of chef and health and wellness coach Rajiv Harry, owner of Plant Bomb plant-based sauces in Portland, OR.
More to come about those tasty sauces, but first, some impactful words from our recent interview with Rajiv:
NSM: At New Seasons, we like to focus on striking a balance when it comes to eating healthy without cutting out all the indulgences. How do you find balance with your diet and lifestyle?
RH: My mantra when it comes to food is to eat foods that love you back. Developing a different relationship with food where you value and prioritize how it makes you feel internally will help you not feel like you’re missing out when you refrain from indulging. And if you want to indulge, make it from scratch and as natural as possible.
NSM: Is it important to you that the foods you make are good for people and the planet? If yes, how so?
RH: Yes. As a health and wellness coach and plant-based advocate, my mission for the people I serve, and the planet, is longevity. Often short-term health goals only focus on the present, but what we choose to put on our plate each day is preventative for our health in the future. It's my goal to educate, create awareness, and invite people into plant-based living. I find the more conscious you are about what you put into your body and where it comes from, the more aware you become of its impact on the planet. It’s a beautiful phenomenon once it clicks.
NSM: What’s the best part about eating a plant-based diet?
RH: Exploring and creating with the vast varieties of plant foods and mixing and matching flavors, textures, and nutrients to make delicious, nutritious meals.
NSM: Embarking on a plant-based diet is intimidating for some. Do you have any advice on how to ease into it?
RH: Develop your WHY. Define the reason why you're making the switch or incorporating more plant foods. Your WHY will be your North Star when you feel overwhelmed or like giving up. Start with an add-and-subtract model instead of going cold turkey (no pun intended!). Add in more whole-plant foods and subtract some animal foods.
NSM: What would you tell someone trying Veganuary for the first time?
RH: EXPLORE! There are so many great recipes out there to support your journey. A simple online search can broaden your horizons and your palate. Plan and prepare. Plant-based cooking will be new to you, so create a game plan and schedule for weekly meals to fit your needs and taste buds. Lastly, invite friends to do it with you. More support = more fun = enhanced experience!
NSM: Anything else you’d like for us to know?
RH: We're expanding our product line in 2024 with a new sauce, but (shhhhhh...) it’s a secret. Coming soon!
While we impatiently await the new sauce, make the highly delectable and highly versatile Caribbean Pippa, Garlic Tahini, and Thai Almond your new kitchen BFFs for everything from veggie bowls to curries to pizza and everything in between—including the Chipotle Sweet Potato and Black Bean Hash recipe from Rajiv featuring his tangy and spicy Plant Bomb Caribbean Pippa sauce and nutrient-dense purple sweet potatoes!