If so, getting started without knowing anything about the diet will for sure lead to you giving up on it within a few weeks or even days.
So to get a clear idea about this whole plant-based diet, read on. By the end of this guide, you’ll know every single bit of information there is to know about this diet.
What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
First, before getting into the advanced bits, let’s take a look at what a plant-based diet is all about.
As the name suggests, the plant-based diet is a diet that consists of plant products. That is what you might have been thinking all this time, but it isn’t.
For select individuals, there is a range of eating patterns to this diet. Not just plant-based products. Particular individuals add minimal animal products along with other whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and pulses.
However, you cannot be one of those individuals!
Adding meat, even if it’s a little amount, breaks the whole idea of a plant-based diet!
You should know that this diet should only be based on plant-based foods and nothing else.
It’s also worth noting that a plant-based diet depends on how strict you want to be. You can add any restrictions. Everything is based on your preference.
Going fully plant-based can seem daunting at first. But if you know how big of an improvement it can bring to your overall health, you won’t even have a second thought.
Plant-Based Diet: Beginners Guide On How To Get Started
Now that you know what a plant-based diet is all about, here’s a list of things to help you get started with this diet.
Consume A Healthy Amount Of Veggies
This is one of the main purposes of this diet. Cover your plate with a variety of vegetables for each meal, especially for lunch and dinner.
Try To Cook A Vegetarian Meal For One Night Each Week
Cook your own vegetarian meal for at least one night each week. Use whole grains and beans along with vegetables to build the meal.
Go For Good Fats
Fats in avocados, seeds, olives, olive oil, nuts, and nut butters are considerably healthy choices to get the fats you need.
Choose Good Greens
There is a variety of green leafy vegetables available; try one by one each day. I would suggest greens such as collards, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. Also, don’t forget to preserve their flavors by Steaming, grilling, braising, or stir-frying.
Use Whole Grains For Breakfast
Barley, oatmeal, quinoa, or buckwheat are ideal. Along with those, add some seeds or nuts with fresh fruits.
For Desserts, Go For Fruits
Fruits such as berries, melons, peaches, and apples can be stunning alternatives to desserts.
Foods To Eat And Stay Away While On A Plant-Based Diet
Since you’re about to get started with the plant-based diet, it’s crucial that you know what you can eat and avoid. With that in mind, here’s a list of the things that you can eat and stay away from while on a plant-based diet.
Foods To Eat
- Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, bell peppers, and more.
- Fruits such as melons, peaches, apples, avocados, bananas, strawberries, grapes, and more.
- Nuts such as walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, and almonds.
- Whole grains such as brown rice, farro, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, and pasta.
- Seeds such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseed.
- Legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts.
- Tea such as chamomile, lavender, green, or ginger.
Foods To Avoid
Below are the foods that should be avoided while on a plant-based diet. Also worth noting, some foods mentioned below, based on how restrictive you are, can be consumed minimally or avoided altogether.
- Meat and poultry such as beef, chicken, and pork.
- Refined grains such as white pasta, rice, and bread.
- Processed foods such as sausage, french fries, crisps, and breakfast cereals.
- Dairies such as milk and cheese
- Sugar-sweetened beverages such as non-diet soft drinks/sodas, sports drinks, coffee drinks, flavored juice drinks, sweetened tea, energy drinks, and electrolyte replacement drinks.
- Sweets such as cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, muffins, and puddings.
- Products from animals such as eggs.
Sample Menu For A Plant-Based Diet (4-Day Meal Plan)
Below is a four-day meal plan that’ll help you get started on a plant-based diet.
- Breakfast: Stove-Top Oatmeal with mashed bananas.
- Lunch: Pita wrap with hummus, greens, sprouts, lemon juice, cucumbers, olives, and salt and pepper.
Other go-to options: avocado, beans, shredded carrots, or any other vegetable you like.
- Dinner: Grilled vegetable kabobs alongside grilled tofu and a spinach and quinoa salad.
- Snack: Roasted chickpeas.
- Breakfast: Apple banana strawberry smoothie with almond milk (or any other plant-based milk) and smooth peanut butter.
- Lunch: Tomato basil soup with roasted chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Dinner: Vegetarian chili along with a spinach-orzo salad.
- Snack: kale chips.
- Breakfast: A plant-based meal replacement shake. Shakes Lab has a good collection of these shakes.
- Lunch: Avocado toast with a hint of olive oil
- Dinner: Caprese pizza is a dream with a drizzle of flavorsome extra virgin olive oil.
- Snacks: Zucchini chips
- Breakfast: Whole-wheat English muffin topped with avocado slices and fresh tomato and blueberries.
- Lunch: Vegetables dipped in hummus with toasted pita chips.
- Dinner: Veggie stir-fry with tofu.
- Snacks: Garlicky kale salad with crispy chickpeas
Benefits And Downsides Of A Plant-Based Diet
The Plant-based diet is full of benefits, but it isn’t short of disadvantages too. So, here are some pros and cons of a plant-based diet that you need to know before you get started.
Reduces Risk Of Diseases
A diet that contains plant-based products and whole foods is more likely to have a positive outcome when it comes to the health department. This diet is known to increase heart health and prevent disease related to it.
Not only that, but a plant-based diet can also decrease or completely prevent the risks of many other diseases like
- Respiratory disease
That’s not all; a recent study even found out that this diet can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And finally, consumption of plant-based protein can also increase longevity, according to studies.
Helps With Weight Loss And Management
One of the main reasons most follow a plant-based diet is that it can help with weight loss and even keep it off. Research suggests that individuals who consume plant-based products turn out to be much leaner than individuals who don’t.
Also, a study with 19 people assigned to different diets found that the people given plant-based diets lost weight.
One other study also suggests eating more plants and less or no meat results in a lower fat mass index, body fat percentage, and smaller waist circumference.
Good For The Planet
If you’re willing to contribute anything to the planet, there’s no better contribution than moving to a plant-based diet. Animal agriculture affects the environment and natural resources like no other, and shifting to a plant-based diet is the only way to stop it.
Production of plant-based food takes less toll on the environment than producing animal-based foods. With that consuming a plant-based diet can scale down waste by-products and limit greenhouse gas emissions.
With a plant-based diet, you can save not only the planet and animals but also your money. Going plant-based is really cheap, cheap to the point where a study showed that it costs on average 40% less than a diet that contains meat.
Can Be A Protein Deficient Diet
Plant-based proteins can be an incomplete protein source, unlike animals, milk, and eggs, all of which can provide essential amino acids for protein. So what you have to do is properly combine everything in a plant-based diet to reap vital proteins. Make sure to get plant-based products that are able to supply the adequate quantity and combination of amino acids.
Everything about a plant-based diet is covered, and you’re totally ready to get started. If you’re still on the fence, don’t be, a plant-based diet can be very effective, and it can impact your day-to-day life in a positive way. You know how it can be beneficial for your health too.
So don’t think twice. Just get started.
Is The Plant-Based Diet Expensive?
No, it isn’t! A plant-based diet is affordable. It can reduce costs up to one-third compared to a diet consisting of meat and dairy.
Is It Possible To Eat Bread On A Plant-Based Diet?
You can eat bread, but not every one of them. Some of them can include added ingredients such as sweeteners or fats, which, as you may know, are derived from animals.