The Rooted Food App Makes Plant-Based Diets Approachable
After experiencing a dietary shift in her own life, Dr. Brooke Stubbs founded the private concierge practice — and now mobile app — to help others
A couple years ago, I was like many young, working moms I know — run-down, low energy, stressed-out, emotional and wanting more out of life than the day-to-day grind. I was pregnant with my second child via IVF (due to endometriosis) and I was discovering the benefits of a plant-based diet through my studies of Lifestyle Medicine.
I read Dr. Neal Barnard’s book, Your Body in Balance, and knew I could improve my chances of a successful pregnancy by improving my nutrition in this way. I first cut out chicken and red meat — that was the easy part. Processed foods were difficult to denounce, especially with pregnancy cravings, but as soon as my son was born, I was intent on progressing to a whole food, plant-based diet.
It didn’t happen all at once. It was a slow, but deliberate process. After meat, eggs and processed foods were the next to go. I was never a milk drinker because I’m lactose intolerant, but cheese and butter were very difficult to expel from my diet. At some point, I was able to stay away from dairy long enough that if I have it now, even just a little isn’t worth the pain I experience.
When I tell you this dietary shift has changed my life, that is a massive understatement. I feel lighter, more energetic and more focused on my health. It has elevated my confidence, my mood and my lifestyle standards. At the same time, the 63 pounds I gained with my pregnancy melted away.
Becoming plant-based was the first step toward a total lifestyle shift. It helped me feel empowered to protect everything related to my health and I help my patients do the same, through my private concierge practice, Rooted Femme.
One of the biggest components of a healthy plant based diet is to get a variety of plant foods to feed different beneficial species of gut bacteria. This was demonstrated through a study known as The American Gut Project. As I discussed the benefits of a variety of plant foods with my patients, I wanted them (and myself) to have a way to log how many plant foods they were getting each day and throughout the week. That’s how the Rooted Food mobile application came into being.
You’ve heard “eat the rainbow,” but have you ever tracked the colors or categories of your plant foods? The app is an easy way to see how many plant foods you’re getting in each color and category.
In addition to Internal Medicine, I now hold a second board certification in Lifestyle Medicine. This has become my passion. As I learn more about the benefits of a proper diet, I continue to realize the extensive power each type of plant food has on our health.
It still kills me to see patients eat processed bars they believe are good for their health or cut out complex carbohydrates and fruits because they believe carbs are bad. If I could boil a healthy diet down to one simple rule it would be, “Eat a variety of plant foods.” Plant foods include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
It’s not always easy. Our grocery selections, fast food options and restaurant menus can make eating a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet feel like swimming upstream. Luckily, Austin has many great restaurants that make getting a variety of plant foods in your diet fun and exciting. Here are a few of my favorites:
Rooted Food Approved Restaurants
- The Well — This is our downtown date night “go-to,” as it’s close to Violet Crown and the Moody Theater. There is something for every type of eater to enjoy. There are so many amazing plant-based options that it’s hard to pick favorites. The Butternut Squash is a crowd pleaser. The Guacamole takes a fresh twist with strawberries. The Kale and Lentil Salad has a little sweetness thanks to the dates. They even make a Vegan “Bone” Broth!
- Uchiko — Even before I transitioned to a plant-based diet, Uchiko on North Lamar Boulevard was my husband’s and my favorite sushi restaurant in Austin, but I was even more delighted when the chef was able to accommodate my new plant-based eating pattern by offering a total off-menu vegan tasting of 10-plus items.
- Picnik — If I’m not grabbing a salad at Central Market during the work day, I’m placing an order for pick up at Picnik. The menu changes occasionally, but lately, I find myself alternating between the Himalayan Red Rice Bowl, the Veggie Taco Plate and the Squash Arrabbiata.
- ATX FOOD CO. — This vegan food truck on South Lamar was one of the first vegan experiences I had in Austin and I still love their smoothies, Chickpea Power Bowl and Tempeh “Brisket” Tacos.
- Snooze A.M. Eatery — For breakfast fare, Snooze’s menu boasts a whole section of “Plant Power” meals. The Tofu Scramble is my favorite, followed closely by the Bravocado Toast and the Goldilocks’ Porridge.
- Casa de Luz – Whole foods, plant-based, organic, gluten free and one flat rate for a large cafeteria style meal sure to satiate any grown person. Breakfast is served from 7 to 11 a.m., with lunch and dinner served until 8:30 p.m.