Is a Plant Based Diet Too Difficult?

A plant based diet?  I know what you are thinking; you are going to be living off of carrot sticks, celery, and lettuce.  You will never feel satisfied after a meal.  You need meat and dairy for essential nutrients, such as protein and calcium in order to maintain optimal health.  But this could not be further from the truth!

A plant based diet can be as strict or as lenient as you choose it to be.  Adding just a serving of spinach or 1 apple to your diet per day has been shown to decrease your risk for certain diseases!  However, the more plants you incorporate into your daily meals and the less meat and dairy you consume will have the best outcome for your health and prevent chronic disease.

Think switching to a plant based diet is too difficult?  In all honesty it does not have to be, but it can seem difficult depending on your current lifestyle.  If you think about it, you have probably been eating a Standard American Diet for most of your life.  You were probably told that milk builds strong bones and you need meat for protein, and other nutrition misinformation.  If you are now asked to cut out the very foods your diet has been centered on this can leave you feeling frustrated and wondering what you are supposed to eat.  Good thing there are plenty of easy recipes that can help you make a transition and start a healthier lifestyle today!

If you are curious about transitioning to a plant based diet, or you are ready to add some plant based meals into your current diet then the following are some very simple recipes that I eat most days.  It does not have to be difficult.  It can be as simple as trading your bacon and eggs for some hearty oatmeal or opting out of chicken or steak fajitas and instead piling on the veggies!

I start every morning off with a fruit smoothie so I will begin my day with about 1 ½ servings of fruit to boost my energy.  Did you know that berries have the highest amount of antioxidants compared to most any other food?  And may help to prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease?  Bring on the berries!  I also add 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to my smoothie because it is extremely good for you.  Flaxseed has been shown to not only protect against high blood pressure but also to prevent and treat breast cancer.

Berry & Banana Smoothie

1 banana

½ cup of mixed berries

1 handful of spinach or kale

1-2 tbsp. of ground flax seed

Add Water or your choice of dairy free milk (cashew milk, almond milk, or soy milk)


I usually get hungry for something a little heartier in the mid-morning.  I keep oatmeal with me at work and at home so I always have access to a healthy and satisfying breakfast.  Oatmeal is good for you because it provides your body much needed fiber as well as help to prevent heart disease.

Hearty Bowl of Oats

½ cup dry oatmeal

Add hot water

Dash of cinnamon (if desired)

2 tsp of chia seeds

1 handful of fruit and nut trail mix, or any nut such as almonds or walnuts

Top with unsweetened shredded coconut (if desired)


If I am hungry before lunch I will reach for a handful of nuts and seeds.  I like almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.  Not only are nuts and seeds an inexpensive source of protein they are a good source of healthy fats.  They have also been shown to protect the body against cancer growth and lower the risk of heart disease.

Lunch time is when I try to get my large serving of greens for the day.  Most days my lunch will consist of a bed of greens with choice of beans, choice of grain, and topped with whatever veggies I have leftover in the fridge.  Did you know that spinach is high in antioxidants and protects against several different types of cancer?   It is also a good source for protein, and can reduce the risk for anxiety and depression.  Beans are also an excellent source of protein.  I usually add chickpeas to my every day salad.  Chickpeas specifically have been shown to lower cholesterol and to prevent and treat diabetes.

Greens, Beans, and Grains Salad

2 cups of dark green leafy vegetable of choice

Add veggies of choice (carrots, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, zucchini etc)

½ cup of grain of choice (brown rice, quinoa etc)

½ bean of choice (chickpeas, black beans etc)

Choose a salad dressing without oil.  I usually make my own dressing by mixing horseradish mustard with white wine vinegar and a little agave nectar to sweeten and then mix to the right consistency.

I will usually get hungry again in the late afternoon before dinner.  I always take a piece of whole fruit with me to work, or else I will bring a bowl of fresh berries to snack on.  One of my favorite and most convenient snacks to keep with me during the day is an apple.  Apples have so many health benefits including lowering your risk for heart disease as well as providing your body with much needed fiber.  Apples have also been shown to increase energy and improve your mood, which is why I try to eat one when I am starting to feel a little sluggish on a mid-afternoon workday.

Dinner time is when I like to experiment with new recipes if I have time.  I have about 5 go-to recipes that I make if I am short on time and veggie fajitas is one of them.  I like to use bell peppers, onion, mushroom, and zucchini, but you can use any type of vegetable that you wish. Pile on the fresh salsa and add fresh avocado slices or guacamole to make it even yummier!

The benefits of including a variety of vegetables in your daily diet are endless. But it has been shown that eating a large variety of vegetables daily lowers your risk for Type 2 diabetes, a disease that is currently on the rise due to the Standard American Diet.


Veggie Fajitas with Fresh Salsa and Avocado

1 zucchini chopped

2 bell peppers chopped

½ white or yellow onions chopped

5 white or baby bella mushrooms sliced

Whole grain tortillas (Stacey’s Organic Tortillas are Vegan)

Chili powder


Garlic Powder

Vegetable broth

Lightly sauté mushrooms and zucchini in a pan with vegetable broth. (Just enough so the veggies don’t stick)  Add garlic powder and pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

In separate pan lightly sauté peppers and onions with vegetable broth (Just enough so the veggies don’t stick) Add cumin, chili powder, and pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

When veggies are tender to your liking take off heat and add them to a whole grain or corn tortilla.  Top with fresh salsa and avocado if desired.

You can also make a side dish seasoned of black beans and brown rice if desired.

As you can see a plant based lifestyle does not have to be difficult or leave you feeling unsatisfied.  These recipes are not only easy but they all took me under 30 minutes to make and left me feeling full.   Adding more servings of fruits and vegetables to your current diet will not only make you feel more energized, it has countless advantages for your health!  I hope I was able to introduce you to some new ideas for replacing even 1 of your current daily meals.

Thank you for reading and stay posted for more tips on living a whole health lifestyle!


To see me making all of these recipes click HERE

10 Tips for New Moms

-Rosemary Barria

Having a baby does really strange things to your body, but it also gives you bragging rights for life. I am a very active person, so the changes that happened were shocking. I’m not talking just about my weight either or even the shape of my body, but the loss in strength. I had my son about six months ago and am just now feeling like myself. I know it is a giant pill to swallow when you are not the same shape, you may be weaker and you are still wearing maternity clothes months later. I am finally putting maternity leggings in the donation pile. We are all struggling as new moms to adjust.  I have some tips for you on how to get exercise, but I will first say BE PATIENT! Again you just gave birth to a baby…don’t let anyone forget that!  Here are ten tips that I have helped me:

One: Always Be Ready for Exercise.


Before I had a baby, my mornings were like three hours long. I woke up at 5:00am, had coffee, journal, read, listened to the news, then did like an hour to an hour and a half of yoga just about everyday. I then slowly got ready for work or school. I thought I was SO busy then…HA! Anyway, now my mornings are the mercy of a baby, so they look a bit different. I have to admit, there have been a few times that I have gone to my evening job without brushing my teeth…I think. If you want to exercise during the day, you are likely not going to know when that will happen, especially at first. One thing that helps me is that I put on workout clothes as soon as I wake up. This serves two purposes. First, I am not in pajamas or half naked for most of the day so it is psychologically super healthy to “get dressed”. Secondly, you won’t waste precious minutes trying to find an outfit that fits or have to dig through unfolded baskets of laundry (I used to put my clothes away immediately…I swear). Have that outfit ready to go and you can exercise as soon as the baby allows you to. Another trick I had to learn and this is pretty gross is to wear black workout clothes, so in case my relief…my partner got home from work late, I could throw a dress on over my workout clothes and run out the door to get to work.

Two: Start off with as little as 5 minutes.


My goal for exercise used to be an hour at first. Another big HA! Now I start off with Sun Salutations and do a little flow if time allows. Then I practice some other yoga skills. Once in a while the baby will nap long enough for me to do other exercise too, but at least if I do 5 minutes of yoga I get something. If I happen to put on a longer exercise video to try and I don’t get to it, I really don’t care anymore. Even five minutes transforms me from being a tired, cranky person, to a tired and not so cranky person. Don’t get caught up in the perfect workout because often times, more often than not, you won’t get it all into your day. Do sun salutations, do burpees, do a dance…just get moving even for just 5 minutes.

Three: Start with Walking

Before I had my son I was on bed rest for 10 days because my water broke at 27 weeks. Bed rest made my muscles so weak. As an example of how week, a few weeks after I gave birth to my son, I was trying to run across the street and my legs would not let me. They were like lead. Also since he was born at 28 weeks and we were in the hospital for 40 days, I wasn’t really in exercise mode. To keep my sanity though, I walked. I needed to rehabilitate my muscles somehow and bring peace to my mind since yoga wasn’t available to me. I don’t know what your story is, but be gentle with yourself. Know where you are and listen to your body!

Four: Workout with your baby.


If I really feel like I need to workout and the little baby isn’t napping, I put him in his carrier and exercise with him. He actually giggles now with it, but he used to fall right asleep. Of course, you can’t do aggressive jumping, but it can be a good strength workout. I find doing lunges, squats  and a weird version of a deadlift are great baby wearing exercises. My baby weighs 14 pounds now, so when I wear him and do just those three exercises, I am sore!

Five: Use YouTube or Apps.


This may seem super obvious, but at first most of us can’t go to a gym or yoga studio so youtube and apps like Popsugar’s Active app are super helpful. Fitness Blender has so many free videos on YouTube. I did a kickboxing one today and I got to do 30 full minutes of a fun and challenging workout! It is surprising how many free workouts we all have access to.

Six: Get a sitter.


Though my baby is 6 months old, I was just ready last month to leave the house for other reasons besides my part time job. I asked a grandma to watch baby for 2 hours on Saturday mornings, so that I could go to yoga. She, of course, was happy to so. A lot of gyms have child care, which would be a great option for many of you. For us, since our son is a preemie he cannot go to daycares yet. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to step up and help you. I was secretly resenting my partner for having all this freetime, when all I had to do was ask! He will now be taking over so I can go to yoga for on hour twice a week. Many times it is just default that the mother be the primary caretaker and this is a deeply ingrained in even the kindest soul like my partner, so take a stand moms and get out of the house once in a while!

Seven: Sleep is ALWAYS more important.


This is something I have struggled with my whole life, but it is truly a goal of mine to nap at least once a day with my baby. I am not a napper and have always prided myself on how little sleep I can live off of. Can and should are two different things though. One really shouldn’t live off of 4 hours of sleep! What does this have to do with exercise? If you want your exercise to count for something and if you want to truly feel better and stronger, you must sleep. Did you know that not sleeping can cause weight gain?!

Eight: Don’t weigh yourself obsessively, maybe not at all.


I started weighing myself early on after I had my baby. Why amidst all we were going through did I think that was important? I think it goes back to some control issues because like nothing was in my control. This is not a story about my disordered eating though. I stopped weighing myself everyday and the last time I weighed myself was probably two weeks ago. I noticed a significant drop in weight. I also stopped counting calories…hopefully forever and began the practice of intuitive eating. I really believe when you put your body in a place of scarcity and worry, it wants to hold onto weight. I don’t know about you, but when I weigh myself it is never a great feeling. Even when I was at my leanest, it still wasn’t the best feeling. You are not a number on the scale, plus that is a really silly way to see how you are doing health wise.

Nine: Eat enough and eat intuitively.

Like I said, I stopped counting calories hopefully for good and instead eat intuitively. It is a mindfulness practice for sure. I try to eat only when I am hungry and for sure eat when I’m hungry, not waiting to eat ever 4 hours or whatever. At first, I was hungry in the middle of night because I was feeding him in the middle of the night. Breastfeeding is hard work and if you are exercising on top of that, you need plenty of food. Again, I will mention since I quit counting calories and just started eating as many healthy foods as I need, I have started to lean out. My body is trying to find it’s true self and feels safe that it won’t starve.



This is by far the most important tip. Loving yourself is EVERYTHING. I know that sounds cheesy and like you should be happy and in denial all the time, but no it’s not about that. Working toward a goal and not being exactly happy about where you are strength wise or shape wise is fine, but it is what you say to yourself. Your words can poison you or heal you. Take this for example: ” I am so weak” vs. “I am working on getting stronger” Saying you are something leaves little room for improvement. You just are. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have been working on this my whole life. Some tools I use sound silly, but they really work. I wrote down all the negative thoughts I had and replaced them with active, positive ones. I put them on mirrors where judgment usually takes place and memorized them to say when I had poisonous thoughts. I have noticed it transforming me. Every morning I do a compress with essential oils on my face. I then use them on my heart chakra and my solar plexus. Other things to try are saying your name while looking in the mirror. Say out loud that you love yourself. Write down things in your journal that you did that day that were awesome…your wins. Write down things about you that are great. “I have a great butt” ” I am a great mother” or my favorite “I am a powerful being.”

I hope this tip helps you mommies! Remember…I think this is the third time I am typing this…YOU GAVE BIRTH TO A HUMAN BEING! If you need anything to be your mantra…make it that, but I am sure on top of being a mother, you are so many other things. Exercise heals, it helps our brains work better, it gives us energy we as new moms especially need and it makes us stronger. Use exercise to heal and not to punish and I bet you will see results inside and out. Sending everyone who reads this so much love! Thank you for reading!


Here’s a video of this if you want to see me in action! 

About Radiant Life Project

blog about


Radiant Life Project is a public health yoga initiative passionate about creating accessibility. We strive to teach the community that yoga is a powerful tool to prevent disease and to improve quality of life.  


To make yoga accessible to all individuals and to educate communities on the benefits of yoga from a public health perspective.

Who we are:


Candice Billings

Candice received her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she focused on public health.  It was there that she discovered her passion for nutrition education.  She dedicated much of her time to volunteering as a nutrition educator at farmer’s markets and nutrition education programs for children.  She then went on to complete her certification in holistic nutrition focusing on the benefits of a plant based lifestyle.

Candice found her passion for practicing yoga over 7 years ago.  Yoga has helped to transform her life like she never imagined and it has become her mission to share these powerful benefits with others. She obtained her 200 hour yoga teacher certification from Devi Yoga for Women in Boulder, Colorado.


Rosemary Barria

Rosemary is really into helping women be as awesome as they can be, full of love for themselves and boldness in life. She is an unapologetic feminist and her love of women and sisterhood informs all of her practices. She graduated with Bachelors degree in Health Sciences and focused all of her projects on women’s health.

Rosemary found yoga over ten years ago and has practiced consistently for 7  years in various forms, but her favorite is a good flowing vinyasa coupled with kundalini. Yoga has worked to help her cope with anxiety, depression and addiction problems. She became a 200 hour certified yoga instructor in 2017 and looks forward to bringing the transformative power of yoga to women. She is also a holistic life coach, tarot card reader and reiki practioner. She lives with her partner, Mike, baby Sage, Ceci, a loud dog and Curby, the coolest cat in a small, but not tiny house.