Check out four reasons to change to a plant-based diet and a few tips on how!
Have you ever wondered what a plant-based diet is? It’s pretty simple: the goal is to eat more plants. And what is that exactly? You may imagine eating a lot of salads and sprouts, while others might envision foraging in the forest for some nuts and seeds. Well it’s all that and much more! It may seem like a very restrictive diet at first, but I promise you that once you start discovering all the plant-based food you can enjoy, you won’t miss a thing from your current diet.
The next question may be what exactly is on the menu? Of course there are vegetables. At first you may want to stick with the ones you already know, like green beans, peas, and corn. But now that we get food flown in from all over the world, there is a dizzying array of vegetables you can choose from. You can try anything from asparagus to artichokes, squash to sweet potato.
Fruits are next on the list. Full of nutrients and fiber, they are good for you and your sweet tooth! Good ones to try are avocado, blueberries, coconut, and pears.
Whole grains are important to a plant-based diet, but make sure they’re not refined or processed, which strips the grains of all the nutrients and fiber. Try brown rice pasta, rolled oats and quinoa for a filling meal.
Legumes are important because they fill you up and are full of essential protein your body uses as fuel. You can add lentils, kidney beans, or chickpeas to soups and salads.
Nuts and seeds tend to be overlooked because they’re small, but they are mighty! A handful of unsalted, raw almonds, hempseeds, and walnuts can really add great flavor to any meal.
There are many health benefits associated with a plant-based diet.
Plant-based foods contain less saturated fat and fewer dense calories that can lead to weight gain. The extra fiber provided will fill you up, allowing you to eat less. Choosing complex carbohydrates will help balance blood sugar, reducing those mid-afternoon cravings.
Energy and vitality:
Those green leafy vegetables and fruits you’ll be eating will energize you due to the water content in the food. Plant-based foods are easier to digest, not weighing you down like animal-based foods.
Better sleep quality:
Plant-based foods provide the body with phytonutrients, chemical warriors that help boost the immune system and prevent disease. Eating lots of fiber helps eliminate any toxic waste quickly from your system.
How to Get Started
Although you can make the change to your diet overnight, transitioning in a gradual way is okay too! Eventually you’ll need to eliminate anything from the animal world, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and other dairy products. In addition, you should consider eliminating anything that is processed and fried because these foods do not offer any nutritional value to you.
Whether you choose to go cold turkey or transition gradually, don’t think you need to go it alone. Talk to your friends and family, tell them of the changes you’re making to your diet, and ask for their support. Look for community or social media groups where you can share your experiences and ask for guidance from like-minded people. It’s also a good idea to enlist the assistance of a nutritionist, naturopath, or medical doctor. They can help with meal planning, provide suggestions for food sensitivities, and in the case of a medical doctor, monitor your health and any medications you may be on.
Finally, to help with the preparation of food, take a cooking class or buy a cookbook with plant-based recipes. Be prepared to try new things, have fun experimenting in the kitchen, and be proud of yourself for making a change to a healthy new way of living!