When Holly White first decided to swap meat out of her diet for more plant-based foods, she had no idea where this decision would take her.

Eight years later, she is a vegan chef with a bestselling cookbook. She also has a sizable following on social media where she frequently hosts virtual cook-alongs and cooking classes.

Most recently, she has launched a cooking show on RTÉ Player all about plant-based cooking and helping people eat more sustainably.

Asked about what inspired her initially to change her diet and lifestyle, Holly says it happened very organically and gradually.

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"I first started adopting a more plant-based lifestyle after I turned 30. I watched some documentaries that made me really aware of the environmental impact of animal agriculture," she says.

"For me, eating a plant-based diet was about doing something to be more sustainable on a day-to-day basis. It was about having a positive impact on the planet in terms of the food was buying and eating every day.

"When I started to eat more of a plant-based diet, I noticed that I no longer felt bloated and heavy the way I did after I ate a meal with meat. I noticed I felt more energized and my skin didn't break out like it used to. So gradually, I just started eating more of the foods that made me feel good and stopped eating the foods like meat and diary that made me feel uncomfortable."

Holly says for anyone considering eating a more plant-based diet, it doesn’t need to be a radical change and that small steps are the best way to start.

"Swapping out milk for dairy free options like oat or soy milk or opting for a coconut yoghurt or plant-based smoothie are great ways to start. Making a lentil bolognese instead of using mince meat is also an easy substitute and tastes great," she said.

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"My food philosophy is all about taste. Food that tastes great and looks beautiful. Especially if people are trying our plant-based eating. I never want my vegan food to be in any way apologetic -- everything I make has to taste absolutely delicious."

In her new series, More Than Meats The Eye, Holly cooks some of her favourite plant-based dishes which are then put to the taste test by GAA player Lee Chin and Irish rugby star Andrew Trimble.

The show is sponsored by Knorr, a brand who is committed to sustainable eating and cooking. Knorr recently teamed up with the WWF to develop their 'Future 50 Foods' initiative - foods that we should all eat more of because they are naturally nutritious, have a lower impact on our planet than animal-based foods, and can help safeguard the future of our food.

Holly said being asked to front the new cookery series was a "dream come true" as it brought two of her passions together - vegan cooking and living sustainably.

"⁣⁣It's been a dream of mine to show how tasty and practical it can be to eat and live this way and the recipes are quick, family friendly and filled with flavour⁣," she says.

"Sustainability is also very important to me. I am very conscious of food waste and using up everything I buy. I always bulk shop all my cupboard staples like lentils and legumes then do a weekly shop of vegetables and fresh produce and use up everything I can or freeze portions like berries and bread."

When it comes to making more sustainable food choices, research shows that 75% of the global food supply comes from only 12 plant and five animal species. Just three (rice, maize, wheat) make up nearly 60% of calories from plants in the entire human diet despite there being 50,000 edible plant species!

Not only does this make for a boring diet but also excludes many valuable sources of nutrition while taking excessive amount of resource from the planet and harming the precious soil.

Knorr wants people to diversify their dishes, by adding more variety and swapping in something new like:

  • Swap rice for quinoa to get three times more fibre, plus a source of magnesium and folate, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 50%
  • Swap beef for lentils to get 10 times more fibre and no saturated fat, while emitting approximately 80% less greenhouse gases than ground beef
  • Swap potatoes for sweet potato to get three times more vitamin C and calcium than other potato varieties.

These small changes can make a big difference. With more veg, less meat and a wider variety of flavoursome foods, you can help change the world by changing what's on your plate.

For more information on Knorr's commitment to sustainability see here. Eat for good.

For more recipe inspiration, watch More than Meats the Eye on RTE Player.