Plant-Based Diet for Beginners – Read This Before You Start?

Written by: Yuvika Iyer

Published on: Aug 24, 2020

Plant-Based Diet for Beginners – Read This Before You Start?

why plant based diet
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Last Updated on September 4, 2020 by Yuvika Iyer

Planning to introduce plant-based recipes in your daily diet?

You should know some important things, such as plant-based protein recipes and ideas for your everyday meal.

Before deciding to start a new diet plan, there are many things you need to know.

When I started my plant-based diet journey, I researched, read, and experimented with different plant-based food combinations.

Many times I understood the health benefits, weighed every recipe on the deliciousness scale, before finally choosing our favorite ones.

We want to spread the joy of eating veggies because we are living on it for years and have seen how it can be transformational to your health.

Plant-based food has immense benefits, which will lead you to the path of becoming healthy and hearty.

Having more plants can be one of the most fulfilling, sumptuous, and nutritious ways to fall in love with your food.

You have to take one step ahead, embrace this new habit, and get started right away.

In this step-by-step guide, let’s review why plant-based diet can be a great way to start your journey to a healthier life and what you should know before you start.

What Is A Plant Based Diet?

First, let’s understand what do mean by a plant based diet?

In recent years the popularity of plant based food has grown exponentially. Many people are integrating these foods into their life after realizing their health benefits.

But, does it imply that plant-based food makes you leave all animal products, like a vegan diet? Do you have to eat animal-based food products in moderation? Let’s address all these key questions.

A comprehensive study by the Harvard Medical School researches cited that plant-based ingredients are derived essentially from plants. You neither have to be a vegan nor vegetarian nor forgo dairy or meat items.

Instead, you should choose more plant-sourced food to strike the right balance in your diet. Occasionally you may eat meat or other animal-sourced food and break the monotony of similar taste.

Introducing more plant-based ingredients and gradually reducing animal-based food and dairy items make you a “flexitarian” or “semi-vegetarian.”

I chose a 100% plant-based diet, and my partner decided to be pescatarian with over 70% weightage on plant-based food.

We experiment with different plant-based recipes and make it flavorful. When we have dinner outside or traveling, my partner occasionally eats fish and seafood items.

Our flexible eating habits and constant experimentation with delicious plant-based recipes made us stick to a healthy diet for over 10 years.

I share all the things i learnt in this blog!

If you are transitioning to a plant-based diet for any reason, you can do this too!

Let’s see how to do this the simple way.

What’s a WFPB or Whole Food Plant Based diet?

The whole food plant-based diet is commonly referred to as WFPB, which focuses on fresh and the least processed foods derived out of plants.

Whole foods are minimally processed whole grains and vegetables.

Ingredients like sugars, refined flours, and other processed foods are not counted as whole foods.

Including healthy whole foods in your daily diet will keep you away from exposure to harmful preservatives.

Vegan Vs. Plant Based

Sometimes plant-based diet is synonymously used for a vegan diet. But the core analogy of both these diets is different.

A vegan diet excludes all animal-based products, whereas plant-based foods include dairy products with a choice to add animal proteins occasionally.

In this write-up, we aim to explore and expose the flexibility of a plant-based diet and give you plenty of options.

Plants are the foundation of a plant-based diet as you are eating more or plants or plant-based foods.

In a Vegan diet, you are staying away form any kind of animal-based foods such as meat, seafood, beef, eggs and dairy products.

Read More: 5 Super Easy Yeastless Bread Recipes (Use what you have!)

Plant-based vs. Keto

Vegetarian and vegan diets have 100% focus on plant-based ingredients eliminating the majority of the food items sourced from animals.

It centers around fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, whole grains, seeds, and vegetables as key ingredients.

In contrast, Keto focuses on adding the rich sources of fat in your daily diet, such as dairy products and fresh meats.

If you plan to become a keto-follower, your daily meal will always have low-carb ingredients.

You won’t get to eat whole grains, beans, some vegetables, and fruits too often.

why plant based diet

The primary goal of both these diets is weight-loss, like many other customized eating plans.

Plant based diet brings in plenty of health benefits like lower consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat, primarily found in animal protein.

Plant-based foods are fiber-rich and contain the right mix of powerful and disease-fighting vitamins and minerals.

Plant-based Vs. Vegetarian

A true vegetarian doesn’t include fish, poultry, or meal in their daily diet.

Vegetarianism, as a concept, is focused on avoiding animal-sourced products.

However, with time vegetarianism has taken several forms with set guidelines and stringent rules in some cases.

  • Flexitarianism: Flexitarians are sometimes referred to as casual vegetarians. They follow the principles of vegetarianism by heart but sometimes eat fish and meat to break the chain of similar tastes.

  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism: Lacto-Ovo is the commonest form of a vegetarian diet, which includes eggs and dairy products but no fish, meat, poultry, and seafood.

  • Lacto vegetarianism: Here, you can eat dairy products and needs to stay away from meat, poultry, eggs, and fishes.

  • Ovo vegetarianism: If you add eggs with vegetables but no dairy products, you will be known as Ovo vegetarian.

  • Pescatarianism: Pescatarian diets are leaned mostly on plants with the occasional inclusion of fish.

  • Veganism: Vegan diets exclude all animal-sourced foods that include honey as well.

  • Raw veganism: Vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, nuts, and sprouts form part of the diets of raw vegans.

So What Is A Plant Based Recipe?

Let’s explore plant-based recipes in detail.

Typically plant based recipes are created with plants as the main ingredient.

They do no include animal products such as eggs, honey, and meat.

A Vegan recipe would also avoid having dairy, cheese, butter ingredients to stay away from any kind of animal based products.

Want easy vegan recipes?

Check out these easy breakfast recipes that you can whip up in less than 10 minutes:

5 minute Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

20-minute Vegan Beans on Toast Recipe with a Chipotle Twist!

5 Minute Vegan Breakfast Smoothie

10 Minute Vegan Overnight Oats with a Yummy Cookie Dough Flavor!

What Are Plant Based Foods? How Do I Get Plant-based Protein?

If you are asking yourself ‘Why Plant Based Diet’, let’s know more about it.

Plant based foods are devoid of dairy, meat, honey, egg, and other animal products.

Choosing the protein-packed plant-based foods is vital to stay energized, full, and satiated.

Plant-based eating has been an integral part of our life, which slowly but surely integrated vegetarian and vegan recipes in our daily diet.

Vegetables are easier to digest compared to animal products, so keep your stomach full unless you may feel hungry within an hour.

Read More: Top 10 Essential Oils to Purify Your Home

These days you will find lots of options to add plant-based protein to your meals to make healthy and delicious. Find here some of the best and protein-packed plant-based foods:

  • Legumes: Try to eat different types of lentils like red, brown, green, French and black, black-eyed peas, split peas and lots of beans (garbanzo or chickpeas, lima, black, pinto, navy, kidney, and white)

  • Grains: Whole grains have a wide range of health benefits. Include barley, quinoa, amaranth, millet, wild and brown rice, and bulgur wheat in your daily diet.

  • Seeds and Nuts: They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and healthy fats. Add lots of cashews, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and hazelnuts in your diet.

  • Soy: Soy based products are healthy packed with plant-based protein. You can make delicious dishes using tempeh and tofu and satiate your taste bud. It would be best if you stuck to anything between 2 to 4 servings every week to maintain the balance and variety in your diet.

  • Veggies: Some veggies are protein-rich, but the percentage is much lower than the foods mentioned above. If you prefer to eat all veggies, go for high-protein vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, corn, artichokes, and brussels sprouts.

It’s important to introduce more varieties to your diet.

why plant based diet

When you are consuming lots of plant-based protein every day, it’s essential to bring in more varieties in the protein sources in your diet.

The idea is not to dump a can of black beans daily in your stomach but plan your meal smartly combining all the healthy ingredients.

A Harvard School of Public Health study suggested that we should nicely mix up all plant-based ingredients to avoid missing out on the protein components.

A study conducted by the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition revealed that soy is a nutrition-rich protein source that you can eat many times a week.

Soy is a better and healthier alternative to processed and other forms of red meat that you can eat to your heart’s content.

Read More: 13 Plant Subscription Boxes for Your Plant Loving Friend!

How To Start A Plant-Based Diet For Beginners

By now, you must have understood the plethora of health benefits of plant-based diets.

Now it’s time to take charge and get started right away.

Most of the plant-based foods are a perfect blend of high-taste and nutrition.

You will be spoilt for choices from sandwiches to soups to snacks to breakfasts to salads to tacos and many more such options.

Remember to have a balanced diet with the right mix of protein and other vital nutrients and review our article for reference. 

Does your main dish not have all the key nutrients? Include a side-dish with the missing component.

For example, a green veggie salad with seeds, almonds, or a handful of other healthy nuts should work.

Choose one that has your favorite ingredients and start.

Don’t over-analyze.

Every time you experiment with a new dish, your interest and knowledge level gain substantially.

If you like the recipe you tried, excellent! Save it for future treats.

If it didn’t satiate your taste bud, move on, try new things, and develop new tastes gradually. But never give up on living a healthy life.

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