A plant-based diet provides all of the necessary vitamins and minerals, but it’s best to transition slowly – aim to incorporate two or three plant-based meals each week into your routine.
Substitute half your plate for vegetables at lunch and dinner, and snack on them throughout the day as snacks. Make sure your diet includes whole grains, beans, healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts seeds or nut butters as sources.
Choosing the Right Diet for You
Common misperception of plant-based diets is that they involve eliminating meat and dairy entirely from one’s menu. While strict vegans or vegetarians exist, most plant-based approaches involve more of a Flexitarian style approach: vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts seeds and whole grains are the main focus at meals; poultry beef eggs or dairy only occasionally make appearances.
Consuming more plant-based foods can help lower blood cholesterol and the buildup of waxy plaque in arteries that leads to heart disease. Eating these foods also has been shown to benefit diabetes and blood pressure management.
Begin slowly. Start small by swapping out one meat-based meal each week with a plant-based option. Gradually introduce more plant-based options. It’s essential that we incorporate whole foods into each meal; plan ahead to include protein sources, healthy fats and carbs (such as fruit or whole grain products) at every meal.
Embracing a Plant-Based Lifestyle
As plant-based diets gain more prominence, we are witnessing an explosion of Impossible Burgers, Beyond Meat patties and Chipotle meatless chorizo hitting grocery store shelves – this trend being good news for consumers concerned with environmental protection, ethical concerns and health benefits.
But adopting a plant-based diet involves more than simply sipping on some oat milk or switching your regular peanut butter for one containing nuts; rather, it requires eating mostly whole and minimally processed plant foods like grains, legumes, nuts and vegetables while cutting back on refined sugars, unhealthy fats and sodium intake.
As part of an eco-friendly diet, shopping at local farmers markets and selecting seasonal produce when possible can also benefit both you and the planet. Protein sources like beans, lentils and nuts provide protein while omega-3 fatty acids from fish or seeds provide omega-3s essential to good health – registered dietitians can assist you in creating a nutrient-rich plant-based diet plan with all of the required vitamins and minerals.
Embracing Meatless Meals
Plant-based foods can help lower cancer risk by eliminating triggers that contribute to its development, like inflammation and excess weight gain. A diet rich in plant-based foods also supports immune system health.
Plant-based diets require careful consideration to ensure you consume an array of nutrient-rich foods. People following a plant-based diet may require fortified foods or supplements and should consult a registered dietitian or healthcare provider in developing an optimal meal plan (Craig, 2009).
People embrace plant-based eating for various reasons. Some opt to forgo meat and fish altogether while others might try a semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet that allows occasional consumption. A gradual transition is best to ensure success as this allows your body to adjust over time without feeling overwhelmed and unsupported during this process. Select seasonal and local produce whenever possible for reduced environmental footprint and more flavorful meals!
Embracing Meatless Weeks
Substituting animal products with plants-based options is one way to lower your environmental impact, since their production contributes to climate change by deforestation and energy usage. Furthermore, eating less animal products could help prevent cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.
If you want to transition towards plant-based eating, taking small steps at first is key to success. Gradual adjustments will give your taste buds the time they need to adapt.
Start small by trying Meatless Mondays: switch out meat for vegan or vegetarian alternatives such as mushrooms, tofu, lentils or beans on one day each week – be it at home, a sustainable restaurant nearby, a farmer’s market near your location or shopping at local markets specializing in locally produced goods that help increase nutritional value while reducing environmental impact from transportation of ingredients long distances.