Adopting a Plant-Based Lifestyle
In recent years, adopting a plant-based lifestyle has become increasingly popular as it’s beneficial to both our bodies as well as the planet. With this lifestyle, you’ll be embracing plant-based whole foods for optimal nutrition and nourishment for your body. You’ll also be leaving a smaller environmental footprint as sustainable eating habits can help with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and land used for factory farming.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at plant-based living, what a plant-based diet entails and a sample meal plan to help you along the way.
Easing your way into a plant-based living
Your diet plays a pivotal role in helping you ease into plant-based living. Adopting a plant-based lifestyle starts with a plant-based diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes. Eating healthy fats such as nuts, coconut oil, olive, oil, avocado, chia seeds or other omega-3 rich foods also constitutes a plant-based diet.
With a plant-based diet, you’ll need to minimize or exclude the consumption of meat, dairy products, eggs, and highly refined foods. If you must consume animal products, try to opt for organic, cage-free, and hormone-free animal proteins. Try also to use locally sourced or organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Either than the regular plant-based diet of focusing on fruits and vegetables while limiting meat, dairy products, eggs, and highly refined foods, there are also other plant-based diets that you can choose to adopt:
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarian: Consumes plant-based foods, dairy, and eggs
- Ovo vegetarian: Consumes plant-based foods and eggs
- Lacto vegetarian: Consumes plant-based foods and dairy
- Pescatarian: Consumes plant-based foods and fish
- Vegan: Consumes plant-based foods and no animal products
- Raw veganism: Consumes raw plant-based foods only
How do you start a plant-based diet?
If you’re new to a plant-based diet, it can be quite overwhelming. To get started, you should try replacing two to three days of your week’s meal with vegetarian options. If that’s a little too much, you can also consider doing Meatless Monday’s.
So, what does eating plant-based mean? Well, you’ll need to focus on eating whole foods that are unprocessed and beneficial to your body. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains like legumes, and tubers like sweet potatoes are all part of a plant-based diet. You’ll be using simple ingredients to create a delicious meal that your body will love.
Here’s a sample list of plant-based whole foods to get you started:
- Vegetables – Dark leafy greens, root vegetables, and herbs
- Fruits – Berries, apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi, and goji berries
- Healthy fats – Avocados, nuts, grains, legumes, olive oil, and chia seeds
- Nutrient-dense foods – Quinoa, buckwheat, spirulina, millet, and oats
- Superfood boosters – Maca, bee pollen, cacao nibs, cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric
On a plant-based diet, you should also limit your consumption of processed foods such as white bread, pasta, cereal, chips, boxed mac and cheese, processed meat, etc. Start by swapping out some of the processed items for fresh fruits and vegetables – start with small changes, and you’ll soon reap the rewards.
Sample plant-based menu
There are many plant-based recipes readily available online to get you started. Below, we’ve got a sample plant-based menu to get you started.
Berry-Almond Smoothie Bowl: A creamy and satisfying combination of frozen banana with your favorite fruits and toppings
Black Bean Quinoa Buddha Bowl: A nutritious bowl of beans and quinoa with a lovely hummus dressing that’s topped with refreshing pico de gallo, avocado, and cilantro.
Chard and White Bean Pasta: Gluten-free pasta with soy-free, nut-free and vegetarian ingredients for the perfect meal.
Mango Chia Seed Pudding: A tantalizing dairy-free exotic dessert with coconut milk, mango, and chia seeds.
Practice makes perfect
Transitioning to a plant-based diet is not only beneficial to the environment but also has many health benefits such as reducing obesity, diabetes, and more. While it’ll take time to ease into a plant-based diet, don’t rush into it. Instead, slowly find your rhythm, once you have it, a plant-based diet will become a natural part of your lifestyle.