What is Plant-Based Diet?
In the last few years, health and wellness communities have come up with a plethora of diets focused on improving the overall well-being of an individual. Plant-based or plant-forward is one such diet that has allured the attraction of the masses as an increasing number of people are jumping on the bandwagon to reap its benefits. A plant-based diet is a diet that constitutes primarily of plants and plant-based products. Studies have found that a diet that is free from processed foods and is rich in fresh, plant-based ingredients is much more nutritious and healthy for the human body.
A plant-based diet includes fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, legumes, beans, and whole grains. In a strict sense, a plant-based diet is devoid of animal products be it meat, eggs, or dairy but an increasing number of people are adopting a more flexible approach wherein they occasionally indulge in a bit of meat/dairy. According to Marisa Moore, a dietitian based in Atlanta, “Some people say plant-based and mean vegan, while others don’t.” So no matter how strict or flexible you are in your approach, this article will help you comprehend everything you need to know about what is plant-based diet.
What does it mean to follow a plant-based diet?
Following a plant-based diet varies from person to person. Several individuals tend to follow a strict vegan diet. For others, it means consuming more fruits, nuts, beans, legumes, and whole grains while also indulging in meat and dairy occasionally.
The whole idea of this article is to know what is plant-based diet and then make plant-based foods the primary part of your diet.
As we know what is plant-based diet let’s explore its Health Benefits:
1) Weight management: According to Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari, “sugar has become more dangerous than gun powder. One is more likely to die from drinking too much cola than being blown up by Al- Qaeda”. Our poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle has made us our enemy. Obesity has become an increasing issue in the modern world and an increasing number of people are becoming victims of their poor life choices.
According to recent studies, a plant-based diet helps in lowering the body mass index (BMI) and helps manage obesity and heart diseases. The abundant nutrients, vitamins, fibres, and antioxidants present in a plant-based diet not only keep you healthy but also help in shedding those extra pounds.
2) Prevention of Diabetes: Plant-based diets help people manage or prevent diabetes by lowering their body mass index (BMI) and reducing insulin resistance. A study done in 2009 on 60,000 people indicates that only 2.9% of people on a vegan diet had type 2 diabetes compared to 7.6%of those eating a non-vegetarian diet.
3) Lower risk of heart diseases and other conditions: A plant-based diet lowers the risk of heart diseases by keeping the cholesterol in check. A plant-based diet also helps in reducing the risk of other health conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome, stroke, obesity, and certain cancers.
How to get started with a Plant-Based diet?
Starting a plant-based diet may not be as easy as it sounds. Here are a few tips that can help you get started.
1) Keep it simple: Do not switch your diet immediately. Make small changes at a time. Replace one of your meals with a meal that focuses only on plant-based foods.
2) Replace dairy: Start by replacing your dairy products with almond, soy, or hemp alternatives. Begin your day with a glass full of a protein shake made of soy or almond milk to keep you fuller.
3) Start consuming more vegetables: Increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in your diet.
4) Consume more nuts and dry fruits: Instead of munching on processed and packaged food as evening snacks, try replacing them with nuts and almonds.
5) Limit your meat intake if you’re unable to quit: Try limiting your meat intake to once or twice a month and reduce your proportions. Have smaller amounts, have it alongside some other dish instead of keeping it as your only meal.
6) Eat fruit for dessert: Try replacing your bowl of ice cream with some fresh fruit after dinner. A fresh slice of watermelon or a bowl of some delicious mangoes will keep your sugar cravings at bay.