Hi, I’m Thomas. Welcome to Gastroplant, a place where I share globally inspired, boldly flavored, entirely plant-based recipes with you.
My aim is to create a solid library of recipes. Some for dishes that you’re already familiar with and some that are totally new. Some are quick and practical, and some are (possibly laborious and) indulgent.
In spite of everything, though, my goal is to create and share recipes that:
- Are delicious
- Prioritize fresh, whole ingredients
- Combine bright flavors and contrasting textures
- Create abundance rather than limitation
- Help you feel good all day, not just when you’re eating
I got into cooking when I was in college, using the kitchen as a way to procrastinate on my studies. I’d hit up the international grocery stores, pick up some spices I’d never heard of, and start experimenting. Over the years I developed my palate and my cooking techniques. I lived for several months in Europe (Greece, then Germany) and a few years in China. Traveling around the world I’ve always appreciated the vibrancy of the experience. The sounds, sights, and smells combine to make travel very sensual. Cooking is a way to recreate some of that vibrancy and excitement.
I’ve continued to use cooking as a creative outlet since then. But around the middle of 2018 I decided to see what it would be like to eat exclusively plant-based. World-class vegan athletes Rich Roll and Nimai Delgado had encouraged me through their work. And being a hobbyist runner, I was curious about the benefits of eating differently.
It turned out there were huge benefits, and not just in terms of physical fitness. I’ve had more energy and mental clarity and recover faster from hard workouts. I ran my first marathon in August 2018, my second in November, and my third in March 2019. Fourth – Sept 2019.
I’ve never felt that eating plant-based is any kind of limitation. By prioritizing the foods that make me feel the best – while eating, as well as throughout the day – I’m actually less limited than I was when omnivorous. With my culinary adventurousness, the food tends not to be boring. And food comas (a huge hint that you’re poisoning yourself) have become a thing of the past.
To think, many of us eat meals that we have to take time to recover from! We accept this hangover for our digestive and endocrine systems as routine. It doesn’t have to be that way, but I digress…
My goal with this blog is to help you feel great every day while still eating really well. Eating plant-based has allowed me to create abundance – of physical energy, of mood and motivation, of delicious and diverse foods.
I was talking to a friend over dinner recently about my progress going plant-based. I was recovering after a marathon. Two weeks had gone by since I’d last run but I continued to shed weight. I was still eating giant and tasty plant-based meals. (We were at a steakhouse and my dinner consisted of a baked sweet potato and four plates from the salad bar.) He asked, “If you’ve already come this far eating plants, why don’t you go back to normal food now?” He didn’t get it. This was normal to me now.
I hope that this blog and its recipes encourage you to reconsider what “normal food” is.
As of July 2019, my favorite recipes are:
- Vietnamese Jackfruit Salad – full of big bright flavors of earthy mushrooms, fresh basil and mint, lime, and chili. Served on crispy rice crackers, it’s a really fun-to-eat summer dish.
- Minestrone alla Milanese – I spent a few days experimenting with flavors to recreate a soup that my wife and I tried in Milan. I was happy with how this turned out. With a number of different veggies, potato, rice, and beans, it’s a comforting and complete meal in a bowl.
- Tonkotsu Ramen – a plant-based take on the super creamy (originally pork bone) Japanese ramen broth. It’s made of cashew cream, sesame, and mushrooms and is extremely satisfying to eat. The recipe helps you recreate the restaurant ramen experience at home.
I’m currently based in New York City, which has one of the best plant-based food scenes in the world. I occasionally share restaurant experiences on my Instagram, but feel free to drop me a line if you’re looking for a specific recommendation.
One last thing. I would be remiss not to mention my lovely wife Maggie, who encouraged me to start this project. She does all the graphic design and photography for the site. This project would be impossible without her support.