Following a plant-based diet is a popular choice for many people who want to lose weight, eat clean or enjoy any number of other health benefits.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is one that consists only of things that grow on the ground, as well as overly processed versions of plant-based food. This means that a plant-based diet will eliminate meat, fish, oil, fats, processed foods, sugar, chemicals, salt, and refined grains. Many people call plant-based diets vegetarian diets, but there are some differences since some vegetarian diets include the consumption of processed foods and animal products, such as eggs or dairy products.
All of the nutrients we need can be found in a plant-based diet, but if you want to ensure that you don’t become nutrient deficient, there are some guidelines that should be followed. Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables are well known as healthy means of acquiring calories and nutrients, particularly antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Getting the necessary levels of protein and fat is entirely possible on this diet, although effort and diet diversification is required to fulfill all your nutrient needs.
Plant-Based Diet Meal Plan
If you are a beginner who wants to pursue a plant-based diet, this is a simple meal plan that may guide your early efforts. Some people recommend slowly eliminating meat-based products and refined foods, to make the transition easier.
- Breakfast – Fruit smoothie with bananas, strawberries, spinach, blueberries, and freshly squeezed juice.
- Lunch – Edamame and hummus wrap, raw carrots
- Snack – Roasted chickpeas
- Dinner – Gluten-free mushroom lasagna
- Snack – Baked zucchini chips
Plant-Based Diet Benefits
There are many benefits to a plant-based diet, including the following:
- Preventing obesity
- Better control of your cholesterol levels
- Regulating blood pressure
- Lowering risk of cancer
- Managing diabetes
Let us discuss them in detail below.
Since plants tend to be more nutrient-dense and lower in calories than other forms of carbohydrates, it is easier to stay within your calorie restrictions on a daily basis, helping to aid in weight loss efforts and preventing obesity.
One of the major causes of hypertension is a poor diet that is high in salt, fat, and processed foods, coupled with a lack of vitamins and critical minerals. Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium, which can help regulate the symptoms of hypertension.
With fewer animal products and dairy products, you will be taking in fewer saturated fats and unhealthy cholesterol; instead, you will get better “healthy” fats from legumes and other plant-based options.
Studies have found that eliminating sugar and processed food from your diet can help to prevent or manage diabetes.
Plant-Based Diet vs Vegan Diet
While a plant-based diet can often resemble a vegan diet, there are a few key differences, both in practice and philosophy.
- A plant-based diet may be pursued by someone who feels a moral obligation not to consume animal products, but veganism often affects other aspects of life as well, such as the types of clothes you wear and what companies you support.
- Due to the nature of a plant-based diet, eating certain foods that are considered “vegan” would not necessarily fit in a plant diet, because it doesn’t resemble the “original” form of the plant. On the other hand, plenty of people who pursue a plant-based diet are not necessarily vegan in terms of their philosophy.
Plant-Based Diet Risks
The major risks of following this type of diet include deficiencies in key nutrients, namely protein, vitamins, minerals, and fats. It can be easy to get enough calories, but you may be consuming more carbohydrates than you need while skimping on protein and fat intake. If you want to switch to this diet, you should have a plan to monitor your nutritional intake, at least for the first few weeks. You should also consult with your doctor before jumping into any new diet.