Why go on a plant- based diet?
The main reason a plant- based diet is more likely to be sustained long term is because it is not as extreme as a vegan diet.
A plant based diet includes anything you eat that grows from a plant: fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It doesn’t mean you give up the meat, simply eat majority of plant foods. For the past couple of years I have consciously and slowly made small changes to my diet , I eat from a wide variety of foods- legumes, lentils, whole grains while enjoying chicken and fish in moderation.
There are innumerable benefits of a plant- based diet –
Eating a variety of plant -based foods provides your body with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fats. Eating a plenty of different plant foods everyday to ensure you are getting all essential nutrients.
Plant foods are Super power house. They contain highest amount of natural chemicals known as phytonutrients. They are considered to be body’s biologically active superheroes when it comes to fighting inflammation, tackling harmful free radicals, preventing diseases and promoting longevity. These phytonutrients are found in small amounts in meats, eggs and dairy.
They are rich in fiber and great for digestion. Natural fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and legumes. It is indigestible parts of these plants that our bodies simply don’t have enzymes to break down, but this fiber is extremely important for aiding digestion. Apart from supporting a healthy bowel movement, it can make you fuller for longer and prevent certain diseases like type 2 diabetes.
It helps manage weight. Fruits and vegetables have very less calories. In fact loading up on vegetables and Low GI fruits(berries,cherries, grapefruit) can slow down the rate of sugar being released into the blood avoiding the sugar highs and lows.
And most importantly a plant- based diet is more healthier for environment
However , the most common question I often receive is will I get enough protein in my diet ?
No doubt that the animal based foods is considered to be higher in bio availability, they can be fueled with mass produced hormones that have adverse effect on our weight, heart arteries.
Although the plant based protein is a little less digestible for human body there are some complete protein plant foods that help bridge gap derived from animal based foods.
How much protein?
For healthy adults, 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight is recommended.
Here are a few plant foods in which protein can be found abundantly
Lentils – nutrient rich shot of protein, carbs and fiber
Spirulina – 60 % of protein content – it’s a richer source of protein than most vegetables.
Chia seeds- contains 4 g of protein for just 2 tablespoons
Quinoa -7 to 9 gm protein per half cup
Including plant based protein powder in your diet is a surefire way to include protein in your diet . However, while buying these powders watch out for sugar, sweetener, artificial flavors, thickeners, GMO derived ingredients.
Things that you should look out for before buying plant based powder – Protein from multiple plant sources including pumpkin , sunflower , chia and spirulina. Look out for no added sugar , organic and nutrient dense ingredients.
If you are contemplating to adopt a vegan diet, I would highly recommend start with a plant based diet . This will allow you to experiment with different foods and transitioning into a vegan diet will be smooth and less painful.