A Beginner’s Guide to a Healthy Plant-Based Diet
Whole Food Plant Based Diet For Beginners
A plant based diet is a great way to lose weight and stay healthy. It also helps to prevent chronic diseases.
Plant-based foods are nutrient dense and high in antioxidants. The goal is to eat a variety of whole fruits, vegetables, greens, grains and legumes.
Make sure to eat enough protein, iron, vitamin B12, and calcium.
What is a whole food plant based diet?
A plant-based diet is a lifestyle that includes all foods — including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds — and excludes animal products, processed foods, refined sugar, and added fats. It’s a healthy eating pattern that has been shown to prevent and reverse heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
It is a simple, nourishing way of life.
It’s also a compassionate choice that revokes support for an industry that trades in suffering. Every time you choose to eat a plant-based meal, you’re sending a message that tells factory farms that we don’t need their products. Then they can focus on providing healthier alternatives for us instead. We recommend stocking up on healthy snacks and preparing food ahead of time to make the transition as smooth as possible. For example, keeping a bowl of fresh fruit or a few hummus & veggie sticks in the fridge to grab on the go is great.
What are the benefits of a whole food plant based diet?
A plant-based diet is not just about avoiding meat and dairy but rather about choosing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. This diet has the potential to be delicious and satisfying.
The plants contain a great deal of fiber that fills us up and makes us feel satisfied with smaller portions. It also provides zero dietary cholesterol and minimal saturated fats. All of these factors are good for heart health.
There is a lot of support for the plant-based diet including websites and cookbooks that make it easy to create meals. Some people find it challenging to eat out and stay on the plan but it is possible to ask for an alternative when eating out at restaurants by looking up menus online or calling ahead. You can even request that food be cooked without added salt or sugar. Most people find that they can eat out on the plan once they learn to make simple swaps like this.
How do I start a whole food plant based diet?
A whole food plant based diet is not only sustainable but also the healthiest way of eating. Unlike other fad diets it does not deprive you of the foods you love and instead allows you to add in plant based versions of your favorite meals. There are also many apps like Oh She Glows and Meatless Mondays that can make the switch easier.
A plant based diet is low in fat and high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. It has been shown to reverse heart disease in just a few months and reduce a multitude of other comorbidities.
To start your new lifestyle gradually add in whole fruits, vegetables, salads and pulses/legumes while slowly eliminating meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. You can also find plant based meal delivery services that offer pre-made, ready to eat meals to help you get started. Choose from a variety of 100% plant based meals and customize your order to fit your needs.
How do I stay on a whole food plant based diet?
It’s best to stick with whole foods that are as natural and minimally processed as possible. This includes green veggies, whole grains, legumes and fruits. These are affordable, easy to prepare and a very nutritious base for any diet.
Legumes, like beans and lentils are a great source of protein. They also provide fiber to keep you feeling full and nourished. Healthy fats, such as avocados, olive oil and nut butters are also important for the body.
It’s also helpful to stock up on healthy snacks such as whole fruit, nuts and healthy sweets. This will help you avoid reaching for packaged unhealthy foods when a craving strikes. It is also a good idea to talk to your lifestyle physician about getting additional vitamins and nutrients, such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Omega-3. This can be done through a supplement.