Steady Weight Loss with a Vegetable Garden
At age 38 with two pregnancies, I’ve tried at least a dozen diets over the years. While I’ve seen some short term results from many, nothing has ever seemed to stick. Worse, I’ve always felt grated by the rules of my diet. After starting my own garden, however, I’ve been pretty stable at a weight that I’m very happy with. I’ve maintained a steady weight loss for more than two years. Eating fresh homegrown vegetables has helped me realize how much I enjoy healthy plant-based dishes. I’ve lost fifty-three pounds and kept it off over the last two years. All this without following any rules or forcing myself to exercise.
Baby steps starting my gardening journey
My garden started out with a potted tomato plant and some basil. One of my favorite food blogs had been extolling the virtues of homegrown ingredients in pasta sauces. I wanted to experience things for myself. Thus I picked up a tomato plant and a pot of basil at the local gardening outlet. I added watering my plants to my normal routine of chores and pretty much forgot about them. A few weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised when my tomatoes began to sprout and ripen.
Steady weight loss meal prep
The first dish I tried was the tomato sauce I had been inspired by. It was tasty, sure, but I was unimpressed with the amount of effort it had taken. While tomatoes and basil were cornerstones of the recipe, they were beaten down and processed over the course of preparing it. My homegrown ingredients helped produce a superior version of the dish, to be sure, but it wasn’t as apparent as I would have liked. Disappointed, I turned to the internet to find a recipe that would better showcase my small home garden.
The Italians had my back, it turns out. There’s a traditional antipasto (or antipasti?) dish that’s basically just fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil. I quickly ran out for a gallon of milk and made myself some mozzarella, sliced two of my remaining tomatoes, and prepared a simple pesto to dress them with. The results were incredible. I could really taste the difference between my homegrown tomatoes and the ones I usually bought at the store.
My garden’s next addition was a zucchini plant, allowing me to make ratatouille. Again, the superior quality of my home grown vegetables brought this simple dish to a higher level. My dinner was healthy (almost entirely plant based!), low calorie, perfect for steady weight loss, and delicious. I was hooked. After that, I added more veggies and herbs to my garden. Good beginner plants include cabbage, carrots, thyme, eggplant, squash, and much more.
While my garden has grown, I’ve since discovered a neat shortcut. There’s a farmer’s market a few miles away from me that has fresh vegetables at low prices every Friday. I’ve been using it to expand my horizons to all sorts of dishes without having to grow my garden as much. I still try to grow herbs and common vegetables myself, but it’s nice to be able to try a new recipe without having to wait for a new type of squash to grow.
I didn’t set out to try to change my diet. It just kind of happened naturally. Over the course of my journey, I realized that inferior preparation of low-quality vegetables had caused me to prefer meat, carbs, and sugar. I can thank my parents’ love of canned cooked spinach for that. My garden has opened me up to a whole world of delicious plant-based dishes and a steady weight loss. Simple pairings of fresh vegetables, fresh spices, and just the right amount of cooking are all I need to give my taste buds a wonderful experience every night.
Plant-based nutrition for steady weight loss
Over time, my diet has become over 80%. This doesn’t mean I just eat salads (although I do eat salads a lot). I’ve incorporated things like spiralized zucchini, eggplant dishes, vegetable soups (think homemade split pea, not Campbell’s alphabet soup), and other hearty vegetable dishes into my diet. I’ll still throw some chicken or tofu in my salads for protein every once in a while, but for the most part, I’m content to eat fresh vegetables.
Having a home garden helped change cooking and steady weight loss from a chore into an adventure. I have fun every night preparing new and exciting meals for myself with my fresh vegetables. It became something I looked forward to each day at work. Because of this, I don’t need any diet rules or guidelines in order to keep myself on track. Instead, I get to enjoy myself while I prepare and eat homegrown, delicious, healthy, and low-calorie meals.
I have also discovered a very interesting weight loss program that my husband and I have been enjoying. I have been using this regimen along with gradually changing my nutrition to plant-based. A fun program with amazing results but definitely not for everybody.
I never expected to lose this much weight by starting my own garden, let alone keep that weight off. I’ve steadily lost 53 lbs over the course of 18 months and maintained weight for over six months now. I’m very happy with the results of my plant-based diet, both in terms of my physical image and the taste of my meals. While I cannot certainly guarantee my same for others, I still hope that my journey inspires others and that they’re able to find joy in cooking fresh vegetable dishes as well. I’m grateful that I will get to live healthier and longer years with my kids.