There are so many different diets that you can try, each offering its own set of unique benefits. Some are scientifically validated while some aren’t.
However, the overall consensus is that minimally processed foods and whole foods achieve undeniable health benefits.
Whole foods and a plant-based diet can increase your overall health by allowing you to maintain your optimum weight and boosting your immune system. At Huetrition, we utilize cutting-edge technology to create a family wellness program that’s right for you. Here’s our guide to starting a plant-based diet.
What is a plant-based diet?
As the name suggests, a plant-based diet is composed of foods derived from plants. A single definition of a plant-based diet is difficult to find even among experts, and some people mistake it for veganism. While a plant-based diet is similar to veganism in many ways, the two are not the same.
Vegan enthusiasts abstain from all manner of animal products in their diets. That includes both white and red meat as well as dairy and poultry products.
On the other hand, a plant-based diet does not mean that one must avoid meat, poultry or their byproducts. It simply favors plants and recommends consuming other foods in moderation.
That’s the difference between vegan and plant-based diets.
Therefore, it’s possible to find someone who adheres to a plant-based diet but occasionally consumes certain animal products such as milk, honey, and eggs. They may also have meats in moderation such as beef, fish, seafood, and chicken, to name a few. On the other hand, one may find another plant-based food lover that prefers whole foods, a plant-based diet, and no meats or animal products. Both parties can be defined as being on a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet is more of a lifestyle as opposed to a specific set number of ingredients. The diet is based on foods that surround plant-based ingredients and little to no meats or animal products.
Below are some of the guiding principles for wholesome foods and a plant-based diet.
- Promotes the use of locally sourced fresh and organic ingredients where applicable
- Strives to exclude ingredients such as processed flour, added sugars, as well as processed oil
- Limits meats and animal products
- Promotes meals in which, vegetables, fruits, nuts, tubers, cereals and legumes form the bulk of food
What constitutes a plant-based diet?
The guiding principle of a plant-based diet is simplicity. A plant-based diet should not be complicated or over thought. In reality, embracing a plant-based diet isn’t as hard or as boring as most people may make it out to be.
A bit of thought into plant-based ingredients that are locally available in one’s area shows that there are so many options to work with. Did you know that most people are more or less in the habit of consuming plant-based diets even without knowing it?
Examples of plant-based ingredients
Ingredients that can be used in plant-based diets are varied, available and affordable. This is an advantage because it disproves the notion that a plant-based diet is boring and lacks the sufficient nutrients for sustenance. Some nuts and seeds such as hemp, almonds and flax seeds are rich in vitamin E as well Omega fatty acids that are essential for cognitive development and dietary fiber.
Plant ingredients can be put into several categories including –
Whole foods are a major component of the plant-based diet. Whole foods mean foods that have not been processed or foods that have been minimally refined.
A plant-based diet includes a lot of vegetables. Vegetable are nutritious, since they contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that are vital to be one’s body. Examples of popular vegetables found in plant-based meals include the following.
Fruits are an essential part of any diet. A plant-based diets includes plenty of fruits, which are rich in vitamins. These doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. Just like with veggies, one can save money by getting the fruits that are in season. Fruits high in nutrients include:
- Berries such as strawberries, blackcurrants and blueberries
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and lemons
There’s plenty of tasty legumes to choose from. These are as healthy and nutritious as they are rich in dietary fiber and plant protein. They include:
- Green grams
Roots and tubers
Despite their bad reputation for being bland, this plant group provides carbohydrates as well as other vital minerals. They’re also rich in dietary fiber, which helps with digestion. They include:
- Sweet potatoes
Benefits of a plant-based diet
With just a little bit of thought and effort, a plant-based diet is both accessible and nutritious. Use nutritious cookbooks for colorful eating like HueTrition’s Healthy and Colorful Eating Made Fun. There’s no limit to what you can create! The benefits of a plant-based diet include
- Effective weight management
- Helps prevent Type 2 diabetes as well as treat it
- Helps lower the risk of heart disease
Anyone who has ever had to struggle with losing weight or improving their diet can attest to what an uphill battle it can be. A combination of a plant-based diet that incorporates whole foods and a proper workout routine is the most effective way to shed unwanted weight and stay healthy.
Diseases such diabetes can also be prevented or managed by eating plant-based foods. A plant-based diet is not only tasty and nutritious, but it also helps keep a person healthy and reduce conditions such as heart diseases.
Related: HueTrition Services
How To Start a Plant-Based Diet
Here are tips to start a plant-based diet:
Consume lots of vegetables.
Fill half of the plate with vegetables, but make sure there’s plenty of colors in those green. You can also enjoy veggie snacks like salsa, hummus, or guacamole.
Alternatives to meat.
Try consuming more olives, nuts, tofu, seeds, and avocado. These are all great sources of protein.
Cook vegetarian meals at least once a week.
Changing your diet completely to 100 percent plant-based might be too much. It’s best to start gradually and slowly, so your body can adapt to the change. The best way to do this is to cook vegetarian meals at least once a week to get yourself adjusted.
Go for greens
Don’t just stick with one type of green, go for a variety. Create a salad or dish that contains, collards, swiss chard, spinach, kale, or anything that comes to mind. You can steam, braise, grill, or stir fry, the creativity here is limitless.
Making a salad
Fill a bowl with red leafy greens, bibb, romaine, and spinach. Then add some herbs, peas, tofu, and beans. If you want to get fancy, add some apples, berries, peach, and other fruits to the mix. A salad with more variety tends to be more tasty and wholesome. Get creative with it!
If you are having trouble making a delicious salad, read more on 5 Creative Salads for easy recipes to do at home .
Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and plant-based diets are effective ways of staying healthier and fitter for the long term. The list of plant-based ingredients is vast and can easily make meals suitable for the whole family at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A local grocery store or hypermarket will have most of the above-mentioned ingredients, if not all. To make starting a plant-based diet even easier, get started with HueDietitian for guidance.