In its most basic definition, a plant-based diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of plant-based foods – those derived from plants with no animal source foods or artificial ingredients, nor are they heavily processed. Ultimately, while a plant-based diet avoids or has limited animal products, it is not necessarily vegan.
The diets are low in saturated fat, free of bad cholesterol and high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Why do people want to focus their diet on plants?
Whether for environmental or ethical reasons, a growing number of people are choosing to reduce the amount of animal products within their diet.
Health benefits are another reason. For example, a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type two diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. Eating the correct nutrition is a great way of reducing the risk of getting sick and, furthermore, feeling better and healthier from day to day. Many people report more energy, reduced inflammation and bigger fitness payoffs.
However, even with the benefits of a plant-based diet, it’s important that any change in what you eat also considers the change in nutrients this entails. No one specific diet is the same for everyone, but understanding some basics about plant-based diets can help you make the right decisions about your nutrition.
OK, so how might I start with this diet?
One of the best motivations for those looking to begin a new diet is cost. By creating meals around staple items like whole grains, potatoes, and beans (or take a look at our vegetarian based meal plans!), you’ll also spend much less money than on a diet rich in meat or other animal products.
At the same time, any sudden change in diet/lifestyle is not always sustainable if not planned properly. For example, instead of starting Monday with a whole new diet and no longer touching anything animal based, it’s best to cut one animal product out at a time. One of the easier ways to start the transition into this new diet is to cut milk, replacing it with soy, almond, or oat milk.
Another way to transition is to replace meats with plant-based proteins and meat alternatives. This is what we do as part of our vegetarian meal plans – by using Beyond Beef ‘meat’, Tempeh, Tofu etc…