Plant-based diet

What is a Plant-based diet? Making the transition.

Will I get enough Protein?

There has recently been a great deal of media focus on sustainable eating and how the meat and dairy industry are a major contributor to greenhouse emissions. It therefore makes sense to explore a reduction in our consumption of animal-based foods and instead choose a wide range of plant foods to benefit not just our planet but our health.

What is a plant-based diet?
This a diet that is based on foods derived from plants, including legumes/pulses, vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, seeds and fruit. It is vital that they are well planned to ensure that we obtain the wide variation in nutrients necessary to support healthy living.

What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?
This type of diet tends to cut out unhealthy items, such as added sugars, refined grains and saturated fats. It has been linked to a number of health benefits, including reducing your risk of:

  • heart disease
  • certain cancers,
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • cognitive decline

Meat and dairy can increase the body’s inflammatory response which can make certain health conditions worse.

A recent study published in the journal Nutrients, detailed the experience of a young man with Crohn’s disease who achieved complete remission after eliminating meats and processed foods while he adopted a plant-based diet. See also 'Gut Health' & IBS info.

Can I lose weight on a plant-based diet?

A higher fibre content combined with excluding processed foods is a fabulous combination for shedding excess pounds!
A review of 12 studies that included more than 1,100 people found that those assigned to plant-based diets lost significantly more weight — about 4.5 pounds (2kg) over an average of 18 weeks — than those assigned to non-vegetarian diets.

How do I get my protein?
Plant-based sources of protein include lentils, beans, chickpeas, seeds, nuts and nut butters also tofu. Eggs, and dairy are also good sources if you are eating these.
Meat substitutes like vegetarian burgers, soya sausages, and other meat alternatives can be useful for those who are adapting to a plant-based diet and can provide a source of protein.
However, as with any processed foods, these can sometimes be high in salt and fat so should be used in moderation. These products may also contain animal ingredients such as eggs, milk derivatives and honey.

Does that mean I can’t eat meat?
No, it does not mean that you cannot ever eat meat. Being plant-based means that you are seeking to obtain a high proportion of your diet through plants but not necessarily exclusively. Some people choose to have meat-free days; others to only eat meat once a week or once a month etc.
So, a wholefood, plant-based diet is very flexible. The idea is to eat mainly plants but animal products are not off limits.

Types of plant-based diet can include:
• Lacto-ovo vegetarians – eat dairy foods and eggs but not meat, poultry or seafood.
• Ovo-vegetarians – include eggs but avoid all other animal foods, including dairy. Lacto-vegetarians – eat dairy foods but exclude eggs, meat, poultry and seafood.
• Vegans – don’t eat any animal products at all, including honey, dairy and eggs. Variations of plant-based diets include:
• Pescetarians – eat fish and/or shellfish.
• Semi-vegetarians (or flexitarians) – occasionally eat meat, poultry or fish

Planning your diet for optimum health
Here are seven simple tips to help you make that transition to a wholesome, plant-based diet:
1. Start slow. ...
2. Cut down meat and processed food intake. ...
3. Go for a plant-based breakfast. ...
4. Watch your protein. ...
5. Know your food. ...
6. Stock up on healthy foods. ...
7. Keep your meals fun and exciting.

To make sure that you have planned your plant-based diet correctly, it may be beneficial to seek the help of a registered Nutritionist.
Book a Nutritional MOT with the FOOD COACH.

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