The REAL Plant Paradox

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The #1 Mistake Healthy People Make When Trying Plant-Based Meals


You need to eat MORE whole-food, low-fat, plant-based food to fuel your body, brain, and hormones properly. The old strategy of “eat less, move more” is a broken model. We can’t apply the same DIETing mindset to this way of eating and expect success.

Always hungry? Snacking? Gaining weight though eating less and less? You may not be eating enough…

During a class I taught in February 2022, I briefly explained what I call a Wilted Sprout, Lively Gardener, and one of the key pillars of My SIMPLE Method: Plants.

Introducing the LG Plate, full of vibrant, nutrient-dense yet LOW-CALORIE foods:

How the LG Plate helps you eat more and finally move the scale


RE: what if I’m not hungry enough to eat the whole bowl because it’s so large?

You can always eat later. Your next meal could be bigger. Take that black bean patty that you didn’t have for lunch and have it for dinner. The goal is eating more plant-based, whole foods, so you’re not hungry or wanting to snack.


Health is always a work in progress—getting your meals to work for you takes practice. We’ve had a lifetime of programming around dieting, eating less, and snacking.


It takes time, especially when we’re recovering chronic dieters (guilty!). It took me a long time to design the LG Plate™—I created it in 2018, after studying health and nutrition for 22 years!


It’s called the LG Plate, which is short for the Lively Gardener Plate. Once you get to a certain health level, I consider you a Lively Gardener. This is how you get there…


One one end of the spectrum, we have what I call Wilted Sprouts… those on multiple medications, 20+ pounds overweight, live a sedentary lifestyle, watch 5 hours of TV, spend 6 hours on social media… the unfortunate SAD lifestyle (Standard American Diet, the cause and effect of this lifestyle).


I move these beautiful souls into a Lively Gardener lifestyle: you’re vibrant, know what to eat for your body, and know how to adjust things if “oh, I gained five pounds because I was on holiday, or whatever it was. I know what to do to knock that out—I have no problem doing it. I can fast, I can move easily without a lot of pain, I can be active and not hurt myself.”


I start them on this path with the LG (Lively Gardener) plateLG is also a double entendre because as anyone who’s been around me for a few months knows, I’m a fan of puns. ThtsasdaIt’s called the LG Plate because:


  1. It’s how an (LG) Lively Gardener eats… lots of PLANT foods, because that’s what most people do when they have gardens, farmettes, or farms. They reap what they sow, eating more vegetables and fruits.
  2. It’s a large (LG) plate. It has to be, and I’ll explain why…


The history behind the size of the LG Plate and how I overcame the lies of crash DIEts… “eat less, move more.”

I was there. I “tried them all.”


Eating less/DIEting:

  • South Beach,
  • Fit for Life,
  • Doctors Clinic,
  • high protein/no carbs,
  • detox program after detox,
  • even the Cabbage Soup diet (still love the soup, just without the Lipton Onion seasoning mix!)


Moving More:

  • Tae Bo,
  • kickboxing,
  • running,
  • weights,
  • Pilates,
  • yoga,
  • martial arts




I yo-yo’d on the scale with every yo-yo DIEts and workout. I was frustrated, failing, pissed at myself, hopeless, FAT. For 20 years, I continued this outdated strategy.


Food conversations used to bother me until I reframed the story. I suddenly realized it was good for myself AND others. See, whenever I would work at places throughout my history in Corporate America, people would always ask, “oh my god it smells so good! What is that? That’s amazing!”

I’m an introvert, so having conversations about my private meals felt unnecessary. I hate to bring attention to myself and discuss my “things.” Now I discuss food for hours and hours and hours—it’s how I make a living. I just had to reframe the story in my head and understand the conversation helped others. It had nothing to do with me.


My weakness became my strength. As I teach in classes, your struggle becomes your greatest strength…


I saw how common my thoughts and feelings were. I saw myself in others and them in me… we didn’t know what to eat, what spices were, or what REAL food looked and smelled like. 


We only knew packages of garbage. (Tasty packages, but garbage, nonetheless.)


Weakness #2… I have food issues, like many people. After a lifetime of crash DIEting and low self-esteem around my weight, I knew I was doing something wrong. I just didn’t know what it was.


Portions are always a hot topic in the health realm, even though I knew eating plants requires a larger volume on your plate. I taught wellness classes, and everyone knew I was in the realm of alternative healing. Yet here I was, overweight, not feeling the part of a wellness expert.


Another story to reframe…


I always had large plates of veggie foods, and one of my bosses was a jacked-up fitness guy. He’d eat a tiny little chicken breast for lunch with a small side salad or something similarly small for lunch.


And he’d ask, “how can you eat that much food!?” Insecure, yet confident in my knowledge, I replied, “dude, seriously, it’s all vegetables! I’m eating this much because you have to!”


Plants have fewer calories. You need to eat more of them than you did when you ate meat.


It clicked… most people don’t understand nutrition, regardless of their fitness level.


They believe large portions are unhealthy, because that’s how we’re programmed. We don’t consider WHAT those portions are, we just see it with our eyes and make assumptions. But what you’re eating a lot of makes a HUGE difference!


When you switch to a high-nutrient plant diet or lifestyle, you must eat more food. This is where people screw it up when they go plant-based, just like I did. We apply the rules of the Standard American Diet, past crash DIEts, or processed foods to our new whole-food, low-fat, plant-based meals (WFLFPB).


It’s a broken strategy that leads to more imbalances than I can cover here…


When people first switch to plant-based eating, they’re not eating enough whole-food plants. Plants have fewer calories than flesh food or processed garbage. You must get enough nutrients in each meal AND stretch your stomach, so it tells your brain to shut off the hunger cue.


There are 2 receptors we need to satiate with our meals: a nutrient receptor and a stretch receptor. Without this, we’re left hungry for nutrients or calories… our bodies are extremely smart. It sends cues until we fulfill its needs.


That’s the biology most gurus don’t tell you.


That’s why on my LG Plate, it’s an enormous bowl! It looks like the meal of a mammoth, but I’m never hungry afterwards. But I’m also not sluggish when I eat,  because it’s whole food, low in fat, and full of nutrition.


Here’s a teaser for ya…roasted cabbage with toasted sesame seeds, brown rice, BBQ air-fried soy curls, tomato/olive/artichoke salsa, roasted bell peppers, spring mix, and my ranch dressing:


I can keep moving around while getting the nutrients I need—and I have a very physical job. I work with plants where I sometimes get 30 racks in a day that have to be unloaded that day—we push them from one end of the parking lot to another. Uphill, both directions… true story! 😉


It’s sometimes hot, sometimes cold. So, I have to be physically active, but also have the nutrients for the weather AND my stamina.


I reframed story #2 in 2018, when I designed the LG Plate. I worked at Sprague’s (a 15-acre nursery/greenhouse in Bangor, Maine) and the same thing happened as my previous job. At lunchtime, “dear god, you eat a lot of food!”


But there were differences from my previous lunches, because my bowls were BIGGER, and now full of veggies, protein, and less fat.


I took salads in this huge container that holds 6 cups of food. I filled it with 2-4 cups of greens, sauerkraut, tomatoes, hummus or my Pandorable Patty, pickles, roasted veggies, and homemade dressing. It always had some array of protein, which I didn’t always focus on before. I also skip carbs for lunches now usually… that works best for my body. I save my carbs for dinner, for hormone regulation and optimal digestion.


Because I knew what I was doing and why, I finally understood how to explain it with context. “I’m eating a lot of food, but I’m still eating a third of the calories that you’re eating with that burger and fries.”


I can eat all that food and still lose weight. I’m also moving differently, which made an enormous difference. No more sluggish movement… slinging plants around with no trouble.


I was never hungry. I noticed they were always snacking on their breaks a couple of hours later and explained, “we just ate! This is why I eat a lot, guys. It’s nutrient-dense food that keeps me going throughout the day. I still have the same (or more) energy that you guys have. I’m not stuffed and I’m not starving. I’m good to go the rest of the day because I’m powered completely by that big ass salad.”


I’m not poking fun at anyone. Snacking, food perception and portioning are programming issues. My job is to educate people, so they understand the pros of eating such large (LG) Plates: eat more, weigh less, get healthy, and sustain it for the rest of your life.


This is the opposite strategy of what I find most people trying, and it’s why we’re getting fatter and sicker as the years go by. 8 out of 10 major causes of death are related to our food choices—this doesn’t have to be our story any longer.


Just remember these basic guidelines:

  1. Lots of veggies! Don’t shame any of them because they’re “high in carbs, lectins, phytates,” or whatever the latest trend is. Yes, focus first on greens and cruciferous veggies like cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels, kale, so on… then add more yummy veggies.
  2. Cycle carbs and protein throughout the day, so you’re creating hormonal balance. You need carbs. They’re not the evil food group some want you to believe. When you feed rats hundreds of times the amount of grains we eat, never do human studies, and claim carbs and beans are dangerous, you’re giving people faulty and dangerous data. The real plant paradox is how many you can eat and still lose weight!
  3. Make sure you’re eating protein at each meal. Despite what most fitness experts and doctors tell you, beans ARE NOT a carb—they’re a whole-food source of protein. And you need protein for too many reasons for me to cover here. Eat beans and soy… they make you fit and strong.
  4. No snacking… this is crucial, my friend. I can’t possibly explain the reasons snacking is so counter-productive, but I cover it in my book and course, Transformation 101.


Here’s the link for the LG Plate… the download explains the correct portions, based on 2decades of plant-based nutrition, cooking private and public meals, and medical research.


Try it for a week and see how you feel. You can see it in action here:

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