In our Powered by Plants series, created in partnership with Califia Farms, we're highlighting forward-thinkers who use plants to fuel their lives—and their passions. They're out to prove that plants are so much more than just a sad plate of broccoli. Check out the other plant-based pros here.
Scrolling through her Instagram, you can easily forget Jessica Murnane follows a plant-based diet. Sure, there's the occasional salad, but her feed is also filled with waffles, nachos, pizza, creamy pastas, brownies, and even ice cream sandwiches—foods most of us would consider off-limits on a vegan diet.
That's because Murnane believes plant-based eating doesn't have to suck. Through her One Part Plant movement, she encourages people to eat at least one plant-based meal per day—and makes it easy by providing simple recipes that even meat eaters will drool over.
We chatted with Murnane about her morning routine, favorite new recipes, and why she always picks the restaurant.
Why plants? What is it about them that inspired you to base not only your diet but also your life and career around them?
Plants totally changed my life. I was headed for a hysterectomy six years ago because of my stage IV endometriosis when a friend intervened and suggested I try a plant-based diet to manage my symptoms and pain. I thought there was about a 1 percent chance it would work. But I was totally wrong. Within weeks of changing my diet, my pain started to fade, and I never ended up getting the surgery!
But that change was hard for me. So hard. I had to teach myself to cook and eat in an entirely new way. I started the One Part Plant movement to help other people make the change I did but in a more manageable and less frustrating way. I was super frustrated when I changed my own diet; I never want anyone to struggle the way I did.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Besides my toddler, Sid, enthusiastically yelling, "Paaaaanccccaaakes, Momma!" at 6 a.m., my work gets me out of bed. I'm so excited about what's in store for the One Part Plant movement and am continually inspired by the OPP community. What we're building together makes me want to leap out of bed!
What did you eat for breakfast today?
I took the time to make a pretty killer green açaí bowl. Now that a certain Trader named Joe carries unsweetened açaí packs, they're in my weekly rotation.
What’s one food you think people are missing out on and why?
In general, I think people are missing out on good plant-based meals. A plant-based meal doesn't have to be a bowl of boring steamed broccoli and brown rice; it can be creamy mushroom lasagna, curry bowls, blueberry cornbread—all your favorites, just made plant based. It doesn't have to be all or nothing either. Starting with one meal a day and making easy swaps can make a big difference.
How do you stick to a plant-based diet when you’re out to eat/traveling/don’t have time to cook?
I make sure to choose the restaurant! I always jump in when making plans with friends or scheduling work meetings and offer three suggestions for places to eat. I make sure none of the restaurants are straight-up plant based but have an option or two for me.
When it comes to traveling, I use Yelp and the HappyCow app to find places that offer plant-based options. Sometimes you need to dig around a little, but it's like a treasure hunt and makes the trip more of a food adventure.
What’s the best thing you’ve cooked lately?
I just made a batch of chocolate cashew butter. It's one of my favorite recipes from the One Part Plant cookbook. I love dipping a tart apple in it when I'm craving something sweet. It's also so easy (my favorite kind of recipe): cashews, cocoa powder, honey, and splash of almond or coconut milk all whizzed together. It doesn't last long in this house, so I make a batch weekly.