A Guide to a Plant-based diet
“A plant-based diet is more likely to produce good health and to reduce sharply the risk of heart problems, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, gallstones, and kidney disease.”– Colin Campbell
A plant-based diet – Powerful, Healthy, and Boosting!
Only if people knew the benefits of a plant-based diet, there would be many who would opt for it. Right from improving the overall health to boosting energy levels to preventing chronic diseases, a plant-based diet is a great move. Primarily, we must change our nutrition because that’s a power-packed way to reduce your risk of getting sick, live longer, and help the environment.
Have you heard the phrase, “you are what you eat”?
So, imagine, if you are eating plants, that grow, bloom, and blossom, you are going to do that same. The effects of a plant-based diet could make the best version of your body, as well as the mind, come out!
We suggest, don’t wait up, and start a plant-based diet right away!
Variety in Plant-based Diet
1. Being Vegan:
Vegan – You might have heard this word a lot of times! It’s a famous plant-based diet that many people opting for these days. ‘Going vegan’ is the new trend that people seem to be following and for reasons more than one!
We live in this environment and we need to take care of other living beings living here too, right? Even this pandemic has taught us, in a way, to coexist peacefully. Just because animals cannot speak our language, doesn’t mean we should not understand them. We must know their plight and find ways in which we can help them live in a better manner.
So what is a vegan diet? Well, it excludes all types of foods that comprise animal products and animal byproducts including fish, meat, eggs, and dairy. Hence, people choose a vegan diet for several reasons including health concerns, environmental issues, and animal welfare concerns. Vegan diets are among the most restrictive types of plant-based diets and they are accompanied by other co-related lifestyle choices as well. Many times, vegans practice abstinence from utilizing non-food animal products such as wool or leather.
Examples of foods permitted on a vegan diet:
Following are the types of food allowed in a vegan diet:
- Fruits: All types of fruits are allowed in this diet. So, fruit it up!
- Vegetables: All kinds of starchy and non-starchy choices are permitted.
- Grains: All types of grains, prepared without animal fats.
- Nuts and seeds: All types of nuts and seeds you can indulge in!
- Legumes: All kinds of legumes are allowed.
- Fats/Oils: Many types of oils are permitted such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, vegetable oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, etc.
- Herbs and spices: All kinds of herbs and spices you can relish up on!
Foods prohibited in a vegan diet:
A variety of foods are a strict no-no in a vegan diet. Following are the list of foods that are prohibited in a vegan diet:
- Meat: poultry, fish, seafood, beef, lamb, pork, meat-based broths, and sauces
- Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, butter, ice cream, whey, casein, lactose
- Eggs: all types
- Fats/Oils: lard, tallow, fish oil, butter, mayonnaise
- Other: honey, fish sauce, gelatin, bee pollen, most vitamin D3 supplements, certain food additives, and colorings
Many times, “vegan” is the word used in the replacement of a plant-based diet, but it is far from that! The world of plant-based diets cannot be described in one word particularly. Even the dietary patterns that arise from the vegan category can be distinct from one another. For example, some people follow ‘whole foods plant-based diet’. Now this type of vegan diet, essentially prioritizes whole and minimally processed plant foods. It excludes the more processed choices such as sugars, vegetable oils, and refined grains. Since this diet is very restrictive, it might be difficult for people to receive adequate amounts of specific nutrients, such as iron or vitamin B12. Hence, adding to a well-planned diet, one might need a combination of fortified foods and nutritional supplements to ensure that the daily nutrition needs are satisfied.
Now, this is known to many! A vegetarian diet is less restrictive as compared to a vegan diet. All kinds of vegetarian diets permit the same foods allowed on a vegan diet, excluding all types of fish, seafood, and meat. However, based on the specific type, a vegetarian diet may allow other types of animal products such as eggs and dairy.
So, when we look at vegetarian diets, they seem to be very flexible. They generally include a wide range of foods from all food groups, fortified foods and the use of nutritional supplements might not be necessary for meeting your daily nutrient needs. Therefore, with a variety of combinations of foods in the vegetarian diet, you can complete your nutrient needs substantially.
Okay! Now let us tell you that vegetarian diets also have categories, they are as follows:
See! Lacto refers to dairy and eggs refer to ovo, so here goes, a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is one that allows all types of eggs (ovo) and dairy (lacto) products, excluding meat. Most commonly, this type of diet is chosen for health reasons, but the decision could also be made because of humanitarian and environmental concerns, or just for the sake of personal preference.
So, now we know the meaning of ovo! Ovo refers to eggs, and an ovo-vegetarian diet refers to one that includes eggs but prohibits all kinds of dairy products such as cheese, cream, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurt. Some people might have intolerances or allergies to dairy, and hence, might opt for such a type of diet. This might also be if they simply do not like the taste of dairy products, or for environmental or ethical animal welfare reasons.
As the name goes, a lacto-vegetarian diet includes all dairy (lacto) products but excludes all types of eggs and foods that contain eggs including egg whites, whole eggs, mayonnaise, and also baked goods containing eggs. There could be various reasons why one would go for such a diet including a personal aversion to eggs and egg-based products, egg intolerances and allergies, or other kinds of animal welfare or environmental concerns.
Okay! Now, this is a very tricky diet. Here, pescatarian refers to a plant-based diet that is usually grouped with vegetarian diets as it excludes all kinds of meat. However, it does include fish, seafood, and shellfish. One thing dominant here is that just like other plant-based diets, a pescatarian diet is vitally based on plant-derived foods. Many pescatarians also indulge in eggs and dairy products, but some do not.
Essentially, a person who consumes fish, dairy, and eggs would be following a lacto-ovo pescatarian diet. Although, one is more likely to hear the varied categories of pescatarian diets all pushed into one general “pescatarian” category. The reasons for following a pescatarian diet could vary, it could either be for boosting intake of high quality or heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, while some might choose it for environmental sustainability reasons. For one who following a pescatarian diet, it’s vital to be careful of the possible exposure to seafood and fish, that might be contaminated with heavy metals.
The predatory, huge fishes that are higher on the food chain have a higher chance of bioaccumulating neurotoxins such as mercury, which can lead to negative health outcomes if consumed a lot. Also, it’s best to avoid high-mercury fish and seafood varieties such as marlin, shark, escolar, swordfish, and tuna.
Children and pregnant women must avoid fish intake as there could be a higher risk of negative health effects associated with mercury consumption. A balanced and well-planned pescatarian diet can give all the essential nutrients to the body without the use of fortified foods or supplements. However, just like any other diet, it depends from individual to individual and the food choices of every person.
4. Flexitarian (semi-vegetarian):
Out of all the types of plant-based diets, a flexitarian diet is the most flexible of all!
Its also referred to as a semi-vegetarian diet. This type of diet does not prohibit any type of animal-based products at all. However, the foundation of a flexitarian diet is based on plants, small amounts of eggs, dairy, fish, and meat can be included as desired.
This might be a start-up for people who are wanting to turn vegan but are taking it one thing at a time. They are usually steadily moving towards full veganism by forgoing the nonveg foods. A flexitarian diet comes with various advantages as any plant-based diet but avoids the strict rules that accompany many of them. Many people follow this diet without even realizing it.
How a Plant-Based diet helps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
Plants grow, and when you eat plants, you will also grow, it is as simple as that. Various positive changes can be felt when you go for a plant-based diet such as an upbeat mood, light feeling, and overall health betterment. A plant-based diet when adopted in a balanced way can give you various benefits and give a good boost to your mind and body.
Tips to get started with a Plant-based diet
One thing you must take care of while following a plant-based diet is that you must receive all these nutrients to maintain your body in the long term. The nutrients that you must get enough of and take care of that you receive them sufficiently in a plant-based diet such as Omega-3 fats, Vitamin B12, and so on.
Omega-3 is a very power-packed nutrient, essential for a person’s long term good health. Omega-3 keeps your heart healthy, prevents memory loss, reduces inflammation, and other chronic conditions.
Now the thing here is that the two primary omega-3 fatty acids are DHA and EPA. Seafood, fish, and animal products, such as eggs are among the main sources of EPA and DHA. When it comes to plant-based foods, flaxseed, hempseed, and walnuts contain Omega-3 ALA. However, according to certain researches, the body is inefficient and slow at converting ALA to DHA and EPA. Some people are genetically at risk for poor absorption of ALA too.
So, as a vegetarian alternative, algae and seaweed are significant sources of omega-3 for people on a vegan or vegetarian diet. These are one of the few plant groups that contain EPA and DHA. There are seaweed snacks available for vegetarians as a healthy alternative.
Moreover, there is spirulina and Chlorella that are a healthy addition to oatmeal or smoothies. Additionally, nori is the seaweed that most people utilize to wrap around sushi. Seaweed has various other benefits too such as protein, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and antioxidant properties. Furthermore, nuts such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts have omega-3 ALA to provide you with the necessary nutrient. If there is an issue of absorption, one can choose Omega-3 supplements with advice from the doctor.
Hemp seeds are also an excellent source of Omega-3 AHA, protein, iron, zinc, and magnesium. These powerful seeds are great for a person’s skin, digestion, and heart. You can add these to your daily oats, granola, salads, smoothies, and can be added to snack bars too. Soya bean oil is has a good content of omega-3 ALA. Also, it contains riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and folate. They can be used as a part of your meal, as cooking oil, and in salad dressings as well.
You are what you eat and hence, it is important to choose a healthy diet. However, people have their own food choices that they prefer. We make sure that your diet is according to your preference as well as balanced at the same time.
A diet must work in your favor, providing all the necessary nutrients. We make sure that you eat your choice of foods, and add the vital food products that will complete your overall body requirement. There are vegetarian alternatives to everything and we advise you on foods that you could include for gaining all-important vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Moreover, we even advise you if you require supplements and which of them would be good for you, for how long. All these techniques will make sure that your body is healthy for a long period as you are consuming everything that you need!
We aim to provide balanced diets so that you can keep healthy in the long run.