A vegetable stir fry

How to Eat a Plant Based Diet

There are many diets that claim they will change your life, but the truth is some are just fads. When it comes to being nutritionally balanced and leading a healthy lifestyle more people are turning to a plant based diet. Packed full of fruits, vegetables, and grains that provide essential nutrients, this diet can improve your health. However, knowing how to eat a plant based diet may seem overwhelming for beginners. The good new is it’s easier than you think! Read on to learn more.

What is a Plant Based Diet?

Most people associate a plant based diet with eating lots of fruit and vegetables. While this is this case, there is a whole lot more when it comes to following this regime. Knowing how to eat a plant based diet might seem simple, but there’s more to it than just fruits and veggies.

A plant based diet also consists of grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and all naturally grown products that excludes animal products. As with a vegan diet, fish, meat, eggs, dairy, gelatin and other products derived from animals are off limits.

Plant Based Diet vs Vegan Diet

You may be wondering what the difference is between a plant based diet and a vegan diet as both eliminate animal products. The vegan philosophy is all about avoiding any animal bi-products including leather, honey, and wool, and products that are tested on animals. A plant based diet, however, is one that is purely about eating whole foods, and followers may not be strict about wearing clothes made from animal products.

Followers of plant based diets are strict about the foods that they eat, so even if a product is labeled as vegan, they will not eat them if they are processed and in an unnatural state.

While followers of both diets are more likely to care about animal welfare and the environmental impact of reducing meat and dairy products, it is more of a vegan philosophy to adhere to strict diets that are ethical towards animals.

For some people, transitioning to a plant based diet is carried out over several weeks, months, or years as opposed to making a determined decision to give up all animal products straight away.

The Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

There are many plant based diet benefits, and cutting out animal products, particularly red meat and animal fats, will result in positive dietary changes. Eating large quantities of red meat, dairy, and fats as well as processed food will increase the chances of you developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and bowel cancer, among others.

Much of the nutrients needed for a healthy lifestyle are taken from vegetables and nuts, and with a varied diet and supplements where necessary, there should be no need for meat. All plant based diets follow the same principle to avoid toxins that are found in processed foods, and to fill the body with nutrients.

When you switch to a plant based diet you will inevitably eat more fruit and vegetables, so you can look forward to the following vitamins, minerals, and nutrients:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Fiber
  • Selenium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Protein

With so many vitamins and minerals present and a lack of refined sugar, you should experience a boost in your immune system. Followers of plant based diets have reported fewer coughs and colds, as well as weight loss.

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Top Tips for Following a Plant-Based Diet

If you are interested in starting a plant based diet, there are many useful tips to get your new routine going. Remember, knowing how to eat a plant based diet doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. These tips will help everyone:

Plan your meals: As with any new diet, preparation is key. You should research recipes and quick meal ideas, and make sure you visit the grocery store on the weekend. If you have all the ingredients you need at hand and an idea of what day you will have each meal, you will be less likely to dip into your old habits and reach for processed foods.

Be prepared to try new things: You will be motivated to stick to your diet if you try things that you have never tasted before. Instead of the same old veggie stew or stir-fry, look through cookbooks or restaurant menus for inspiration.

Don’t get caught up in numbers: While it is good to have a rough understanding of what kind of nutrients you are eating, try not to get caught up in checking how much protein you are getting or how many grams of iron is in your meal. There are many forums and social media pages packed full of hints and tips on how to include all of the nutrients you need, and you can learn this over time.

One step at a time: Some people find it easy to convert to a plant-based diet overnight, and others will gradually work up to cutting out animal products. If things are feeling tough at first, try not to worry about eating some fish or dairy; being 50 percent plant based is better than ten percent. You will get there in time.

The best way to enjoy a plant based diet is to start with the basics of eating good quality whole food that will help you fall back in love with vegetables.