Are you interested in Plant-Based nutrition and would like to try it for a month or long term? Here is is a quick overview, a simple guide and plus delicious recipes to get you started. Let's dive in.
Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition
There are many benefits to a plant-based nutrition, but here are some which most ask about.
Strong immune system allows your body to fight off germs, viruses, bacteria, illnesses, you name it. It’s basically your own super power. Plant foods are high in vitamin C, Selenium, Vitamin E all which reduce oxidative stress and improve longevity. World’s longest-living people live in the Mediterranean and Asia, both areas have traditional diets focused on plan-based nutrition. A great read is a book The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner.
Prevent and reverse chronic disease, like Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and other major illnesses. A great resource for more info is The China Study Book by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell. In summary, the China Study is the most comprehensive nutrition study ever conducted, showcasing the connection between nutrition and chronic disease. It speaks to health benefits of a whole food plant-based diet.
Weight loss - Think about all the colors in a rainbow; green crispy veggies like sugar snap peas and cucumber, purple cabbage, bright orange carrots, yellow peppers, red juicy tomatoes, sweet fruits like mango and cherries, filling legumes and an abundance of different beans, satisfying grains like wild rice; it’s like a flavor party in your mouth. YUM! In general, if you eat seasonally, it’s fairly simple to eat plant-based, just look to nature for inspiration. In the winter we tend eat warm hearty meals like Vegan Chili in the summer we seek to hydrate and cool off with a juicy watermelon. Also, plants have fiber, meat doesn’t. Fiber takes up more space, making you feel fuller and keeping you regular, which we all know is very important for overall health. All these factors promote sustainable weight loss without requiring too much effort. Simple enough, right?
More energy - when your body isn’t spending it's energy digesting processed food, which makes you feel sluggish,, it's able to create energy that will fuel you to get outside and enjoy your life!
Is there a Downside of Plant-Based nutrition?
Maybe.... let's see.....you may buy more avocados than you typically would? Warning – reading this may cause ‘mouthwatering’ effect. Avocado on toast, avocado added to salad, or guacamole. Anyone? On a more serious note, the most common question is how will I get enough protein?
Adequate intake of protein is based on weight and is estimated at 0.8 grams per kg of body weight for adults. An average woman needs about 46 grams of protein per day; the average man about 56. if you're curious, calculate your protein daily required intake. Protein is readily available in all plant foods, but those foods that are particularly rich in protein include whole grains, beans, nuts, lentils, tofu and quinoa. Just 1-cup of cooked beans is packed with 15 grams of protein; 1 cup of quinoa is packed with 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. In most cases you'll be getting protein, plus other nutrients while eating plant based.
When following a strictly plant-based diet, vitamin B12 is a must. This vitamin is synthesized by microorganisms, bacteria, fungi and algae, but not by plants or animals. While cows graze on grass, they consume microorganism. Vitamin B12 can then be found in their meat, organs or byproducts. Our soil has been depleted of vital minerals over the years, which means that most of us lack vitamin B12, so supplementing is a good idea.
Ready to give Plant-Based nutrition a try?
Breakfast - The easiest meal for most people to switch to plant based is breakfast. A simple switch from dairy to plant based milk, like almond or cashew is fairly easy for most. Another breakfast alternative is an avocado on toast with sautéed greens – delicious!
Lunch - substitute meat for some creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around. They’re packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. Beans are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients and low in calories. If beans are not your friends, try pasta or zucchini noodles with pesto.
Dinner can be a Veggie Stir-Fry, served over brown rice or quinoa, Consider trying out different cuisines which offer plant-based meals that are absolutely scrumptious. For example, Indian food (veggie Samosas), Thai (Fresh tofu spring rolls), Mexican (Grilled veggie fajitas), Bosnian (Grah, bean stew), Lebanon (classic Baba Ganoush), Ethiopia (Instant pot lentil stew), Polish (Pierogi), New Orleans/French Jambalaya, Pakistan (Roasted Cauliflower Curry), Vietnamese (Pho). There are so many options out there, be adventurous.
Warning - not all plant-based foods are healthy. As a good rule, stay away from processed foods. Oreo cookies are plant based, but they're loaded with sugar. For desert, seasonal fruit like mango, pineapple, orange, strawberries, or blueberries with crunchy granola on top are a great option.
Even if you incorporate one plant-based meal in your daily menu, it’s a great way to consume more nutrient dense foods which contain more fiber, minerals and vitamins. If you eat seasonally, you will have even less to think about when selecting what to incorporate into your meals, visit farmer's markets and let nature be your guide. Try new cuisines and discover new favorites. You may even loose some weight, gain more energy and enjoy life.
If you're ready to try Plant-Based nutrition and experience all the benefits, then let's team up. As your health coach, I will be a guide and mentor who will empower you, provide ongoing support and guidance to make sustainable changes that improve your health and transform your life.
“When you truly understand that your food choices are powerful and life affirming, you can exercise control and restraint without deprivation.”
– Marlene Adelmann