What is a plant-based diet?
Discover which foods you should eat and what to avoid
More and more people are turning to a plant-based diet in order to improve their health and wellbeing. Eating more vegetables can only be a good thing, right? Today we’ll be discussing the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet and how plant-based eating is different from veganism. Learn which plant-based foods you should be eating and what to avoid. Get inspired in the kitchen with some of our delicious plant-based recipes – you won’t want to eat anything else!
A plant-based diet is one that is full of unprocessed, whole foods derived from plants, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains.
You don’t need to cut out animal products completely (although some people do); however, you should only eat eggs, fish and meat in small quantities.
We want to point out that eating a plant-based diet involves consuming foods in their natural state, organic where possible. Eating packaged and processed foods, refined grains (such as bread), fruit juice and dried-fruits is not a healthy approach to plant-based eating. Eating according to the seasons and your constitution is also recommended. Buy vegetables that are in season and grown locally.
It’s best to avoid fruit in the winter months as fruits are very cooling for the body. As winter is dominated by cold, it’s better to eat warming foods instead, to create heat in the body.
So, what should you eat on a plant-based diet?
- Any kind of vegetable – the more colours the better. Eat lots of greens including spinach, kale and broccoli; orange vegetables like sweet potato, carrot and pumpkin; red vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes.
- Low sugar fruits (except in winter) such as blueberries, strawberries, citrus and apples.
- Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, whole wheat and barley.
- Nuts and seeds including nut butters.
- Legumes: beans (all types), lentils, chickpeas and peas.
- Plant-based oils such as coconut, olive and almond oil.
- Herbs and spices, both fresh and dried.
- Refined grains such as white flour, white rice and pasta, bread, pastries, cereals and crackers.
- Sugar and sweeteners including high-sugar foods and refined carbohydrates.
- Takeaways and fast food.
- Packaged foods such as crisps, biscuits, tinned food and frozen meals.
- Processed meats like sausages, deli meats, bacon and ham.
What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?
Eating a plant-based diet is very beneficial for your health, if done correctly.
- Improves your nutrient intake as vegetables contain plenty of essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Great for gut health as plant foods are a fantastic source of fibre, keeping your bowel movements regular and your digestive track flowing. Plant-based foods are easier to digest than animal products.
- Keeps weight in check. Those who eat a wholesome plant-based diet tend to have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) and a reduced risk of obesity.
- Good for your heart. Eating lots of animal-derived foods can contribute to increased cholesterol in your arteries and high blood pressure.
- Lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin regulation. This is due to the high fibre, mineral and antioxidant content of plant-based foods.
- Better for the environment as plant foods are more sustainable than animal products.
Plant-based vs. Vegan – what’s the difference?
Some people interpret a plant-based diet as being a vegan diet; this is not the case. Vegans do not eat any animal products whatsoever, including honey. Many vegans also avoid using animal-tested products and wearing animal-derived clothes and shoes such as leather. If you eat a plant-based diet, you will predominantly consume foods that come from plants; however, animal products can be eaten in small quantities, if you so desire.
Plant-based diet recipes
Eating a plant-based diet is easy when you know what to cook. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in the following delicious recipes.
A healthier you
Eating a plant-based diet is not only great for your health, it’s also good for the environment.
Not to be confused with veganism, a plant-based diet is one that consists mainly of vegetables, whole grains and legumes; animal foods can be eaten in small amounts.
A diet full of unprocessed, organic plant-based foods can improve your nutritional status, enhance gut function and keep your weight in check.
Categorised in: Nutrition