How To Do A Plant Based Diet For Beginners

For beginners and explorers of new healthy diets, the most common question is, “Is plant based diet healthy?”

Plant-based diets bring a range of health benefits to those who adopt them. This healthy diet has been linked with the alleviation and prevention of diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Certain plants also help with managing and avoiding autoimmune conditions, and can help with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

There may be an adjustment period when adopting a plant based diet for beginners. This is especially true if you were accustomed to eating a lot of meat before. However, once you get going, you’ll really enjoy all the health benefits you experience. You’ll also be more energetic, clear-headed, have brighter skin and better overall health.

Is Plant Based Diet Healthy? Overview of a Plant Based Diet for Beginners

A plant based diet is centered on whole foods that are unrefined or minimally refined or processed. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, tubers, and legumes are at the heart of it. You can also eat nuts, seeds, potatoes, mushrooms and yeast. However, not surprisingly, a plant based diet excludes meat and dairy products. Anything that comes from an animal is not eaten. This includes eggs and cheese.

However, the “minimally processed” foods description allows for the use of condiments such as mustard, soy sauce, and hot sauce. Guacamole dip and hummus are other examples of minimally processed plant based foods. Healthy, whole grain tortilla chips are even allowed, as long as they are minimally processed and free of too many preservatives.

Not Ready to Go Cold Turkey? Start Gradually

So after knowing what you can eat, you may still be asking, “Is plant based diet healthy?” If you’re not ready to dive into a plant based diet 100%, start gradually. Begin by substituting some of the meat and dairy you have been eating with plant based options. Over the days and weeks ahead, gradually replace more of them with plant based foods until you are no longer eating meat and dairy.

The Difference Between a Plant Based and Vegan Diet

While vegan and plant based diets are similar, vegans tend to be much more strict about their diet and their behaviors. They also see veganism as more of a lifestyle; they will not wear leather or use any product that exploits animals in any way.

Persons eating a plant based diet may or may not choose to live this way. Also, certain foods such as processed cookies can be eaten on a vegan diet, but they are generally not on the plant based food diet due to their being heavily processed.

Protein is Key to Health in All Diets

Getting enough protein is important for any type of diet. Be sure to eat adequate amounts of it for your body type and health goals. With a plant based diet, protein is largely derived from nuts, seeds, and legumes. However, vegetables and fruits are also a source of protein.

Believe it or not, ALL plants contain some measure of protein, including fruit and rice. Most people aren’t aware that calorie for calorie, kale and spinach have almost TWICE the protein of beef!

The top plant based protein options include:

  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Leafy greens
  • Green vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Split Peas
  • Hummus
  • Tahini
  • Edamame
  • Quinoa
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Wild Rice
  • Nutritional Yeast

It is also important to seek out vitamin B12 fortification or supplementation as part of your plant based diet. Vitamin B12 is crucial to avoiding anemia, nerve damage, artery damage, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Since vitamin B12 cannot be derived from plant based foods, those on a plant based or vegan diet must seek it out in supplement form or in fortified plant based foods.

A plant based diet brings numerous health benefits to those who follow it. Improved heart health, clarity of thinking, more energy, lowered risk of type 2 diabetes and healthier skin and hair are just some of the benefits. You’ll also find it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Use this plant based diet for beginners guide to help you get started with the plant based lifestyle. No need to ask, “Is plant based diet healthy?” again.

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