Four billion people today live primarily on a plant based diet. That’s alot of the world trending towards a plant based diet and this global shift is here to stay. Some are celebrities, some athletes, some millennials and even entire large companies have made the shift of this healthier lifestyle. Some of the reasons due to shortages of freshwater, energy or cropland. Some due to animal welfare, health or food security. Everyone has a different reason for starting a plant based diet and all the reasons are important for that person. I’m going to uncover for you here, what is a plant based diet, why it’s important and what is in a plant based diet.
A plant based diet is not a fad
What is a plant based diet
A plant based diet consists of mostly or entirely foods from plants. This would include veggies, nuts, seeds, grains and fruits and few or no animal products. Some people decide to eat 100% no animal products. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics it is possible to have a plant based diet through a properly well planned out meal plan. There are different types of plant based diets which have changed throughout the years.
Vegan diet consists of NO food from animal sources
Vegetarian diet consists of dairy or eggs but no meat
Semi-Vegetarian diet consists of small amounts of meat
Pescatarian diet consists of eggs, dairy and seafood
I’ve enjoyed following the advice of John Robbins the author of Diet for a New America. In his book he writes about many important topics of the what, why and how of starting a plant based diet. I bought the book and I love it although it does have some strong sad facts about the dairy industry and the treatment of animals. I’m also a member of the Food Revolution Network which you can get more details about by clicking here. Food Revolution Network is an education and advocacy driven organization committed to healthy, ethical and sustainable food for all.
Why is a plant based diet important
A plant based diet is important for a healthy lifestyle and to improve the health of your gut. There are several health reasons for eating a plant based diet. Some of them include to, increase fiber, lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, lower cancer risk, maintain healthy weight, reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and lower risk of Alzheimer’s. There are days that I eat a plant based diet and I always feel my best. I would probably consider myself a pescatarian. How do you classify yourself… please leave me your answer below in the comments.
There are also other reasons besides health related. They are sustainability and animal welfare reasons. These are topics that I’m very interested in sharing about but require an in depth amount of research that I will save for a future article. Watch this environmental film below.
What is in a plant based diet
It’s basically just that plant based meaning it’s mostly of plants. The choice ingredients for a plant based diet would include seeds, nuts, beans, tofu, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and minimally processed foods. The focus for some people are growing their own food and herbs.
Root vegetables are suggested because they provide a good source of carbs and vitamins. Some samples of root vegetables would be beets, sweet potato, potatoes and butternut squash. All other vegetables should be consumed regularly to get the most vitamin and minerals added to your diet.
Legumes are a good source of fiber and protein. Some varieties would be lentils, peas, chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans. Shown below are white beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.
Seeds are a good source of calcium and would include sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, chia, flaxseed and hemp seeds.
Nuts are good for vitamin E and selenium. They include pecans, cashews, almonds, pistachios and macadamia nuts.
Whole grains help maintain blood sugar and are a good source of fiber. They also contain a good amount of essential minerals, such as copper, selenium and magnesium. Examples of this would be brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats and whole grain breads.
There are many plant based milks available now. My favorite is almond milk but there is also soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk and hemp milk.
How do you get protein in a plant based diet
Plant based protein comes in many ways. The most popular way to get protein from a plant based diet is to eat my favorite which is avocado, nuts, seeds and beans. There are lots of great recipes that incorporate these items into a delicious meal. Here is a recipe for you to try a vegetarian dish.
List of plant based proteins and the amount of grams of protein
- Mixed Nuts (1 cup) = 27g Protein
- Cashews (1 cup) = 21g Protein
- Walnuts (1 cup) = 12g Protein
- Pinto Beans Raw(1 cup) = 41g Protein
- Refried Beans (1 cup) = 13g Protein
- Chickpea/Garbanzo (1 cup) = 39g Protein
- Baked Beans (1 cup) = 14g Protein
- Chia Seeds (1 oz) = 4.7g Protein
- Flaxseed (1 tbsp) = 1.3g Protein
- Sunflower Seeds (1cup) = 29g Protein
- Avocado Pureed (1 cup)=4.6g Protein
I hope you have learned more about what is in a plant based diet and would consider changing to this diet. If you are interested in growing food at home and you want to learn about starting a food garden click here. If your interested in an easy to accomplish plant based diet, I highly recommend Daily Harvest. The delicious plant based meals are delivered to your home and are very healthy. They also have other options available to ship for example, smoothies, flatbread, soups and dairy free ice cream. Here is a review I published about healthy home meal delivery that can help you learn more.
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