ALOE there! Looking for a way to add more fruits, veggies, and whole grains to your diet? Well you’ve come to the right place! A plant-based diet might just be what you’ve been searching for!
So what is plant-based?
A plant-based diet is more of a food-based lifestyle shift! There is no rigid definition for how to follow a plant-based diet, as it varies from person to person. What is eaten on a plant-based diet depends on which animal product you allow.
For the most part, the focus should be on eating mostly plant-based foods that have minimal processing. This means the attention should be on foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, unrefined whole grains, seeds and nuts. This generally also minimizes artificial additives, refined sugars & starches, and processed oils. Some vegan-friendly, but highly processed foods might not be ideal!
Okay…but why a plant-based diet?
People choose a plant-based diet because of the flexibility that it allows! There is no strict definition, which allows for each individual person to tailor their diet to fit their own needs. For instance, while one person on a plant-based diet might not choose to eat any form of animal product, another might allow small amounts from time to time.
A plant-based diet focuses on eating unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods which means that you will typically have a higher intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When meat, eggs, and dairy are removed, it typically makes it lower in cholesterol which can help improve your overall health and wellness!
The best part about it? You don’t have to sacrifice flavour! There is a wide range of fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains which can be prepared in a variety of ways to fit your palette!
Are there any plant-based protein foods?
If you prefer to cut out meat and animal products for the most part, it’s important to consume animal-free protein sources. Some examples of animal-free protein sources include:
- Legumes - chickpeas, lentils, peas, and many types of beans
- Nuts - cashews, almonds, hazelnuts etc. (including nut butters and nut-based milks)
- Seeds - sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia and flax seeds
- Whole Grains - quinoa, buckwheat, barley, millet, amaranth, and wild rice
- Soy-Based Products - Tofu, and tempeh
Do you have any plant-based diet tips?
Here are some helpful tips you can keep in mind when starting or while you’re on a plant-based diet:
- Don’t be afraid to start slowly! You can begin with one vegetarian dish per week, and slowly transition to a few plant-based meals per week. Animal products can also be phased out slowly, depending on what you do / do not want to include!
- Switch up your portion sizes in the meals you already love. Include more vegetables, and less meat / animal products!
- Plant-based diets don’t need to be expensive! Fresh produce, whole grains, root vegetables, and beans can go a long way with creating a delicious and filling meal that serves multiple people.
- The internet is your friend for finding new plant-based recipes!
- Watch out for highly processed foods. Some of these may technically be “Plant-based”, however, refined sugars / starches, and processed vegetable fats shouldn’t make up the bulk of the diet.
- Don’t be afraid to have a cheat day, or indulge every so often! Remember, food-based lifestyle shifts aren’t about being perfect all the time. It’s about transitioning the bulk of your diet in the direction of plant-based, minimally processed foods!
What about plant-based alternatives?
Need help starting your plant-based diet off with some basics? Well here are some plant-based alternatives that you can add to your pantry:
Plant-Based Pastas / Starches - your typical pasta and starch products, but made from plant-based ingredients! Common substitutes for the usual starch base of pasta are chickpeas, palm hearts, cauliflower, peas, lentils, almonds, cassava, and many more! Explore the PASTA-BILITIES of these alternatives here!
Plant-Based Milks - there are so many plant-based milk and creamer options to help you find an alternative to fit your taste. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, oats, hemp, coconut, the list goes on! MOOOve to the beat of these plant-based milk drums here!
Plant-Based Snacks - who doesn’t love a good snack when you get the munchies? But guess what? There are a variety of plant-based crackers, chips, and so much more available here!
Plant-Based Protein - or maybe you just need a variety of choices that contain plant-based protein! Well fret not, you can find them here!
Whatever your choice is for choosing a plant-based diet, we’ve got you covered with a selection of plant-based foods for you to dig into!