A plant-based diet is packed full of things that are incredibly good for you and can be one of the healthiest diets you can follow. Yes, there are a few things to be conscious of: as with any way of eating, we need to ensure that we get the right nutrient balance in our body. Thinking about nutrition is a good thing though and something that everyone should do, whether they’re vegan, veggie, flexi or mindfully meaty.
We recently caught up with Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, the brains behind vegan cooking and lifestyle brand BOSH! (you’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of them) to discover their golden rules for plant-based eating. With the launch of their third book, BOSH! How To Live Vegan, we couldn’t think of a better foodie duo to take inspiration from.
Eat the rainbow
When we put together a plate of food, we roughly aim for it to be made up of 50% fruits and veggies, 25% whole grains and 25% plant-based protein: the 50/25/25 rule. This is also broadly in line with the NHS Eatwell Plate, Canadian Food Plate and Vegan Power Plate. We call it the rainbow ratio, and it’s an easy way to aim for a balanced diet – no laborious weighing or measuring out of ingredients or portion sizes. It will ensure you are getting loads of fruits and veggies in your life on a daily basis, and adequate amounts of protein and grains without any faff.
Mix up your plate
At every meal, as well as varying the colours, think about different textures, spices, and seasonal foodstuffs to give your body a broad range of vitamins and minerals. Mixing different protein sources across the day will also mean you’ll get all the protein you need.
Eat your greens
Your parents always told you to eat your greens and they weren’t wrong! Get as much dark green in as you can, turbo-charging your daily diet with kale and spinach-rich green smoothies. Anything dark green is packed with micronutrients that your body loves, so gorge on them. We like to kick-start every day with a massive green smoothie – it’s such a great way to get ahead on your plant-based goodness!
Get the balance right
Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% healthy and 20% whatever you fancy. It’s ok to eat a more unhealthy option from time to time, especially if it’s home-cooked. Just balance it out with healthy and colourful foods the rest of the time. Food is there to be enjoyed! It plays a huge part in our culture, in our family lives, and in our sense of wellbeing, so it’s really important to find a way of eating that fits within your life and makes you feel good. Maybe you will decide to eat healthily in the week and ease off at the weekend? Whatever works for you.
Get your vitamins
We like to back up all our good eating with a daily multivitamin and B12 booster. That takes away any worry about hitting our nutrition goals. Take responsibility for learning some basic nutrition and, if you have concerns, think about checking with your doctor to make sure all’s as it should be.
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
H: First things first, we whip a big green smoothie. No better way to start the day and get those fruit and veg packed in.
I: Our own recipe in How To Live Vegan hits all those nutrients and vitamins you need – there’s kale, spinach, blueberries, banana, apple… even some tomatoes. This smoothie lights you up like a Christmas tree!
What is your go-to plant power breakfast?
H: If it’s not a green smoothie, we’ll go to one of our cookbook recipes. A personal favourite is our Chocolate Croissant Tearer Sharer from our first cookbook, BOSH! We can’t claim it’s the healthiest dish in the world, but life is all about balance. That’s actually one of our 5 Golden Rules in our new book, How To Live Vegan – the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy and 20%whatever you fancy.
I: If it’s the weekend, I like to go all out and make an English breakfast. Our Baking Tray Breakfast from BISH BASH BOSH! is a proper crowd-pleaser. It’s all made on one-tray, so it saves you washing up on a lazy Saturday morning.
What is your favourite vegetable and why/how do you cook with it?
H: Mushrooms! There are so many different types, and they’re incredibly versatile. What’s great about them is how well they imitate meat.
I: We’re all about remixing classic dishes, like shepherd’s pie and beef wellington, and making them animal-free. When minced and packed with hearty flavours, it’s genuinely hard to tell that they’re mushrooms – we’ve tricked a few people!
What’s your favourite way to keep fit?
H: We’ve recently started working out in the mornings! I find that moving in the morning sets me up for the day – I feel energised and ready to take on just about anything. It helps that our personal trainer, Darren, is an absolute legend.
I: As we live in London, we also try and walk and cycle around as much as we can. It means we can get a bit of exercise in between meetings and discover new parts of the city – total bonus.
One tool you couldn’t live without in your kitchen?
H: A blender, definitely. Without that, we wouldn’t be able to start the day with our green smoothies…
I: As Henry can tell you, I started my journey with veganism by making a lot of curries… Maybe too many. But none of that would have been possible without a blender bringing together those delicious spices. I’ve branched out since those days – there’s falafel, minced mushrooms, nut roasts, burgers – basically, blenders are our number one tool.
What was your “why” for going vegan?
H: Confession… I actually thought Ian’s decision to go vegan was ridiculous when he first told me. Then we watched Cowspiracy together and I realised that a plant-based diet was the best way to tackle climate change, something I’ve been passionate about for years.
I: I first went vegan as part of a New Year health kick. I’d stopped drinking alcohol and wanted to keep pushing myself. From doing my research, I realised how much impact the meat and dairy industry has on the environment. Our new book, How To Live Vegan, is bursting with everything we’ve learned about veganism, so we can help people save the planet one small change at a time.
BOSH! How To Live Vegan by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby is out now (HQ, HarperCollins).