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Episode 4 – My plant based journey and 7 tips for making it part of your life

Some of my best tips for sticking to a new plant-based life style!

Show Notes

You're listening to the daidokoro video podcast. Hi, I'm Pat Tokuyama and you're about to discover some of the tastiest ways to feed your mind, body, and soul. A pharmacist by training, you may know me as the founder of all day I eat like a shark, the food blog, YouTube channel, or as author of several Japanese cookbooks. If you desire to live a healthy life and are looking for a different way forward with a hunger for growth, then this video podcast is for you!

Daidokoro is a Japanese term for kitchen. And I'm glad you're here! With each episode, we're going to be bringing clarity to your cooking by blending Japanese tradition and life lessons into bite-sized bits that even a shark would enjoy. Ready to make some magic happen? My plant-based lifestyle, and a little bit about my journey and seven tips that may help you along the way. So the first tip that I have for you is to start slow.
When I first began experimenting with plant-based foods, vegetarian food and vegan food, especially cooking it at home, I was not exactly impressed or blown away immediately. Otherwise, I think I would have made the transition much quicker than I initially did. I would say for me, it took me about one year before I actually felt comfortable, confident and would even consider calling myself plant-based. So that's a year's worth roughly of experimenting with different types of foods, different ingredients and figuring out what it is that I really enjoyed eating and cooking. As I always say in my live trainings, it doesn't really matter what other people are saying or what they're doing. And especially if they're saying or telling you that you should be doing something because it doesn't matter what they're doing or what they think, what matters is what you think, and what your goals are. And taking the time that you need to get there. Because everybody has different ways of learning different speeds at which they want to make progress and different goals, ultimately, so you got to do your own thing. And take it slow, take your time, there's no rush because plant-based foods and the plant-based lifestyle is the long game, it's an investment. And there's always going to be people ahead of you. And there's always going to be people behind you. So keep your head down exactly where you are today, where you want to go tomorrow, and keep your eyes on that goal because you're the only one that can get you there. And you can take your time doing so and to build on top of that just because somebody else is vegan, somebody else is vegetarian, somebody else is doing the mediterranean diet, somebody else is trying keto, or paleo or whole 30 etc, doesn't mean that it's right for you. You got to figure out what you want, what works for you and stick with it.
So plant-based foods for me is a way of living with eating way of cooking. And it's not a fad diet, it's an investment. And it's something that's part of my lifestyle, my daily routine, at least when I'm at home. And even when I'm out travelling or eating out, I try to also incorporate it as much as possible. So if you need to try all of those different types of diets out by all means go ahead, I'm of the belief that you need to try things out and find out for yourself to know if it's really something that's for you versus listening to somebody else talk about it. So that's my opinion. And that's how I live. So the second tip that I have for you is to start with your favorites. So as you guys may know, I am a big fan of tofu and I would not be where I am today without tofu especially Japanese style tofu because that is one of the things that has enabled me to really make the transition away from meat and fish on a daily basis to more plant-based sources of protein. On top of that, I would say whole grains have also helped me along the way in particular farro, also barley volger, different types of wheat, which I also use in my baking for homemade bread. So as you may know last year I invested in a home grain mills to help me make delicious bread at home, whole grain of course because that's where all the flavor and the nutrition is and it's healthy because of that and because you're home milling your flour, the flavor is a lot better than nutrition values a lot higher and overall it's just awesome awesomeness. I digress a little bit. So in terms of starting with your favorites, like I mentioned, tofu is one of my favorites and also whole grains. So those two things to in combination really provided the foundation for me with which to experiment, different recipes, trying different recipes, different cuisines, and seeing what it is that I like best and I made a lot of farro salads, a lot of regular salads as well with farro on top and maybe even like risotto and other kinds of dishes like curry and so on. And I really enjoyed them because it was new, it was delicious and it was also very light and filling. So, whole grains and tofu, both of those two ingredients really made a difference in helping me get away from that. And chances are, if you don't like tofu, it could be because you have not seasoned it properly or cooked it slash prepared it properly. So I know that there's a lot of Western dishes or fusion dishes that call for tofu. But if you haven't had tofu, Chinese style, maybe Vietnamese style, or especially Japanese style, maybe it's because of the seasoning or the seasoning was off, or the flavor was off. Because it wasn't one of those styles of cooking. That's you didn't like it. And maybe this could be an opportunity for you to revisit tofu, and try cooking it in one of those Asian ways of preparation. So what do you think? So what helped me make the transition, like I mentioned are those two things. So tofu was one of them, whole grains is another. And if you've never really cooked with those, you might be in for a surprise. And maybe you'll like it today. Maybe you won't like it tomorrow. Maybe you don't like it today, maybe you will like it tomorrow. And there's only one way to find out. And if you need to try those pre-made plant-based products like the impossible burgers, all those other pre I guess what would you call them pre-prepared, or pre-mixed, pre-cooked any of those new plant-based products that are not necessarily whole food plant-based but are marketed as plant-based. If that's what you need to do to start, by all means, go ahead and get started with that, because starting making that first step, and getting the commitment, the momentum, and the forward progress is what really matters at the end of the day.
So the third tip that I have for you is to experiment. So if you're new to plant-based foods, you're going to be kind of like a newborn, not a newborn. Everything is gonna look so new and fresh, because you've never really experienced it before, as far as cooking, and definitely as far as eating. So this is going to give you an opportunity to really figure out what it is that you like in terms of flavor, and also cooking. So experiment as much as you can. And one of the benefits of cooking plant-based foods is that there's much less risk of cross-contamination because you're not dealing with any kind of raw fish, raw meats, or raw poultry. So that's one of the benefits there. Of course, always wash your vegetables thoroughly because they can every now and then have some bacteria on them. So keep that in mind. So the fourth tip that I have is to stay inspired. So this is probably one of the most important tips that I have. Because if you don't feel like you're inspired to do something, it might be a little bit more difficult than it should be to do it. And that's especially true with cooking and eating healthy. So there's plenty of resources that are available today. So Instagram is a great place to find some pictures of delicious, colorful plant-based foods as well as YouTube, like my youtube channel all day I eat like a shark where I make plant-based Japanese foods simple for you guys to eat healthier and live longer. Also, of course, any kind of cookbooks, any kind of blogs, all those different things can be very helpful in helping you to stay inspired, as well as cooking magazines. So for me, some of my favorite cooking magazines include food and wine, bone appetite, and also cooks illustrated. So each of those three magazines, they didn't necessarily use to focus too much on vegetarian slash vegan foods. But I've noticed in the past few years, they started to incorporate more of those dishes and recipes into each issue so that you can cook with those types of ingredients and be plant-based. So those are definitely worth a check. So those are definitely worth a look, if you haven't seen any of those magazines yet. If you do have a library that you are part of, if you have a library card, a lot of libraries these days have a digital collection with which you can access these magazines without a paid subscription. So all you need is your library card. And you can go ahead and get access to some of these magazines just through your library. So you don't need to pay for a subscription. So that's another thing that you might want to consider and check out. Oh yeah. And then of course, there's plenty of blogs as well. I would say the other thing that has helped me to make the transition is Indian food. And there's plenty of Indian blogs that are vegetarian and can help you as well. And one of the most common questions that we would ask when we were in India a few years ago traveling is where to eat. And one of the questions that we get asked back is veggie or non veg. And guess what we would say? Vege! Vegetarian, that's what it's short for. All right, so the fifth tip that I have is to stay accountable. So there's many ways that you can do this. So one, of course to maybe set a goal for yourself and tell a friend or family member what you're doing so that you can be held accountable to it, maybe put it on your social media on your Instagram or your Facebook that you're going to be doing this for x amount of weeks X amount of months or for an entire year, and keep track of it. Because once you're able to measure your progress and keep track of how much progress you've made, chances are you're going to be much more likely to continue going because you have momentum. And because you have made progress. And that's definitely a motivator for me when I set my goals and I love seeing the progress that I've made. Because sometimes, if it's not written down, you may not recognize how far you've come, especially when everything is stuck in your head. So there's a one of my favorites, I guess, quotes is this African proverb, which goes like, you can go faster alone, or you can go farther together.
I didn't say that, right. But I'll link it in the show notes. So you guys can can see the actual quote. But I think you guys know what I'm talking about. Sixth tip that I have for you guys is to keep it consistent. So this kind of goes back to being accountable, but sort of on another level. So being plant-based is not a fad diet, this is part of your life, this is a routine, something that you do day in and day out, if you're that dedicated to it, or at least on a weekly basis, if not monthly, and it's something that's going to pay off in terms of your health, and also from a financial perspective and an environmental perspective as well. So as you may know, there's many different benefits to being plant-based and having that type of lifestyle. And it's not only related to your health but also the environment and also financially, as well. So those are some things to consider. And by being consistent, you're able to realize each of those benefits as soon as the day that you begin the day that you decide to be plant based because as you may know, plant-based sources of food are a little bit cheaper in general than meat and seafood, which tends to be on the more expensive side. And historically, meat and fish you know was where things that's usually the wealthy people would eat. And as societies, as cultures, as civilizations became more and more wealthy, more and more people were able to afford the more expensive meats and fish products. And they made that transition away from plant-based diets, which is kind of ironic if you think about it. But here we are today, sort of reversing that evolution and going back to our roots. And chances are as you get older, as you look back, you may look back maybe 510 20 years from now, and realized how lucky you were how glad you are that you made the change that you decided to invest in yourself and your health with plant-based foods so that you can live a longer, healthier life, you're also doing something that most people aren't willing to do. Because at the end of the day, it's far easier to take a pill than it is to make a lifestyle change. Especially if this has been something that you've been doing your entire life. Change is scary. And it's totally natural to feel kind of scared or hesitant or resistant to making the change because that's kind of what your I guess your reptile brain, your mammalian brain, your non-human part of your brain is trying to do to keep you safe because it knows that what you're doing now is okay. But it's scared of making the change because it doesn't know what's going to happen. It's scary doing things differently, you got to let that go. You got to overcome it, you got to find a way that you can do that. And if you need friends, family, somebody to help you. That's going to be my seventh tip, is to get help. So it's much easier like going back to my quote that African proverb, to do things together with somebody you can get a lot farther when you're doing something together with somebody as opposed to doing it by yourself. And this definitely has to do with getting support. Asking for help. If you don't know how to do something, where to start, there's plenty of resources, some of which I will be linking in the show notes so that you can check them out on your own. I found them to be very helpful. Some of them are blogs, for example, some of them our YouTube channels or podcasts, as well as books. So all of those things can certainly help you as they have helped me and hopefully, this show has helped you as well. So that's gonna be it for today. Thanks for joining us today from wherever you're watching or listening from. And if you haven't yet, it means a lot to me if you can share your thoughts in a review on iTunes to let me know what you think of this new video podcast. Then I can take that feedback and make things better for next time. And to celebrate the launch of this brand new video podcast we are going to be doing a little giveaway. All you got to do to enter is subscribe and send us a screenshot of your review. Make sure to check out the link in the description or show notes for all the details. And I'd encourage you to share this with a friend or a loved one because if you've gotten value out of it, chances are they will too. Want to try cooking Japanese food at home from scratch? Head over to alldayieat.com/aisatsu to get started today. And if you're new here, make sure to check out all alldayieat.com/daidokoro for all the show notes, bonus materials, resources, and more.

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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese food, consider joining the new Daidokoro community to discover how to cook more tasty japanese food!!

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