Seven Steps To Becoming A Healthy Gourmet Chef

black_vegan_chefA key to being able to keep true to your healthy eating commitment to yourself is having the skills you need to keep your meals enticing and satisfying. If you are bored with what you are preparing you are much more likely to succumb to temptation and fall back to your old eating pattern.

As I was transitioning to a raw diet I came across some great advice that can apply no matter what your healthy eating commitments are. Alissa Cohen author of Living On Live Food suggested trying a wide variety of recipes during the first few weeks. I followed this advice and it allowed me to learn a wide variety of techniques that are used in live foods. I learned about making veggie pastas, sauces, nut and seed cheeses, pâtés, dressings, breads, pie crusts and more.

After some time I gained the confidence to experiment and combine parts of one recipe with parts of another. Then I tried substituting ingredients. Eventually I wanted to create my own recipes based on favorite dishes from my cooked and animal eating days.

This flexibility has freed me to be able to quickly put together a delicious meal even when my fridge contents do not match my recipe books. It helped me create versions of Thai foods and Mexican food to satisfy cravings. The same technique can be used whether you are transitioning to raw food, or also including cooked vegan food.

Seven Steps To Becoming A Healthy Gourmet Chef

1. Acquire a variety of recipe books that appeal to you. (Here are some of my favorite raw recipe books.) Or search the web, there are many recipes and YouTube videos.

2. Select 4-6 recipes to try. Make sure you have the tools and ingredients you need. Choose easy recipes for busy days and more complicated ones for when you have more time. Try to cover a variety of areas, a salad dressing, a dessert, a main dish etc. This way you will end up with a well-rounded repertoire.

3. Each day for the next week try one recipe. Note any changes you make and how you liked it. Write it on the recipe so you will see it next time you try it.

4. Each week for the next month add one or two new recipes to your repertoire while continuing to make the others. Challenge yourself to try things that are a bit outside your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You will learn as much or more from your mistakes as you do from your successes.

5. If you have a healthy eating buddy share your discoveries with each other. My neighbor Safi and I have many of the same recipe books. She is often drawn to different recipes than I am and we encourage each other to expand our choices.

6. By the end of a month your healthy cooking/preparation skills will have expanded greatly. Now you are ready to really experiment. Start substituting ingredients to suit your tastes. Create your own recipes.

7. Take a not so healthy recipe you used to enjoy and translate it to fit your new way of eating. Don’t try to make it taste just the same, but taste just as good or even better.

Want some help? Pamoja! our membership and group coaching program provides recipe demos, lessons on how to equip your kitchen, strategies for maintaining your healthy diet, nutrition information and more.

Good luck! And have fun!

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Supporting you by bringing you flavorful and satisfying vegan and raw vegan recipes, inspiration and online training and one-on-one coaching to help LOVE YOUR VEGAN LIFE! I am an educator and revolutionary who has teamed up with my physician/dietitian husband, Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA, to address the growing health problems in the Afrikan/Black community by building a Nation of Black Vegetarians and Vegans.

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