Fifteen years ago, I realized that I felt so much better and more vibrant when I skipped processed foods and instead ate food from the earth. So even though I was raised in the South and taught to eat everything that was put in front of me, I transitioned to a vegan, plant-based diet to support my optimal health and the health of the planet — and I’ve never looked back.
For anyone who’s looking to incorporate healthier eating habits into their lifestyle, I encourage you to bring more plant-based foods into your diet while also reducing the amount of processed foods you consume.
I love to cook for variety, special occasions or just because for friends — but there are two items I eat every single day: a smoothie and a salad. I find that a smoothie is the best way to mix vitamins, nutrients and deliciousness all in one glass. I’ll have one for breakfast or as a snack or meal replacement, and I love to experiment with a mix of fruits, superfoods and protein powder. Oftentimes, I drink a green smoothie in the morning for an extra kick of energy to jump-start my day — I’ve included my go-to recipe below.
For lunch or dinner, I enjoy a salad because it’s a great way to add more veggies to my day. I start with a base of leafy greens; my favorite is kale. Then I pick five or so vegetables (or mix it up with a combination of veggies and fruits), add some protein (such as lentils or nuts) and sprinkle on some seeds for a little crunch.
Green Machine Smoothie
- ½ cup fresh red grapefruit juice
- 1 cup destemmed dinosaur kale
- 1 large sweet apple, cored and chopped
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 scoop natural or vanilla protein powder
- ¼ cup frozen mango
- ⅛ cup fresh mint leaves
- 3-4 ice cubes
- Juice half a large red grapefruit and add ½ cup grapefruit juice to a blender.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. (Add additional water if you want a thinner consistency.)
Quick Kale Salad
- 5 cups curly kale
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 avocado, chopped and diced
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup chopped and diced cucumbers
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp coconut nectar or maple syrup
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- In a bowl, mix salad dressing ingredients with a fork.
- In a large bowl, prepare vegetables. Start by destemming and washing kale. Let dry.
- Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
- Top with dressing and mix together.
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