With many established health benefits, a plant-based diet is focused on encouraging whole, nutrient-dense plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil. It discourages processed foods, and reduces and limits the types of meats and dairy.
What is the Plant-Based Diet?
The plant-based diet isn't the same as eating vegetarian or vegan. In fact, dairy and meat is allowed (although some who follow it choose not to consume any or certain animal-based foods).
Additionally, a vegan or vegetarian diet doesn't necessarily mean a focus on whole foods or avoiding processed food and refined flours and sugars, while plant-based diet does.
The plant-based diet is also focused on what is allowed/encouraged rather than what is banned.
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
There are a number of well-established benefits of the plant based diet, including:
- Improved immunity
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced weight
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Reduced risk of diabeted
- Reduced inflammation
Getting Started on the Plant-Based Diet
The great thing about the plant-based diet is its focus on what TO eat instead of what NOT to eat. That makes it easier to transition, and means it requires a lot less overthinking.
Here are a few tips to get started:
- Load up on fresh vegetables, and add them throughout your day whenever possible.
- Start with plant-based foods you and your family love.
- Be more selective about any non-plant-based foods. If you're consuming dairy, make it organic from grass-fed cows as a source, for example.
- Build up pantry staples of whole grains and healthy oils to have on hand to build any meal, such as barley, quinoa, rolled oats, brown rice, olive oil and coconut oil.
- Rethink snacks to shift to plant-based. Get nuts and vegetables, and package these into small portion-sized amounts that are easy to grab and eat.
- Rethink the way your plate is arranged. Make vegetables the bulk of each meal, with whole grains next. Fruit, dairy, meats and fats should be an accent and not the main ingredient.
Here is a sampling of plant-based recipes to get you started: