According to Statista, about 60% of Americans prefer a plant based diet due to the health benefits it provides. Plant based diets are said to minimize health risks, especially when it comes to heart health.
That’s not all, a diet that’s strictly a plant based diet can help in keeping the weight well maintained and also improve blood sugar levels in the body.
What Is A Plant Based Diet?
A diet that bans all kinds of animal foods, dairy products and eggs and solely focuses on plant foods is a plant based diet. In this diet, the dieter needs to follow a strict plan that includes a variety of plants with some additions such as nuts, beans, grains, fruits etc.
However, animal foods such as fish, poultry, meat and dairy are restricted completely.
Plant based foods are loaded with a variety of important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein fiber and more. These nutrients help a person become healthy and reduce the risk of catching certain disease. Other than this, such a diet can also help reduce the symptom of certain medical conditions.
There are a number of various plant based diets, namely, the vegan diet, pescetarian diet, vegetarian diet that you can opt for after consulting with a nutrition expert to determine which one suits you the best.
What To Eat In A Plant Based Diet?
A lot of dieters think that since a plant based diet doesn’t contain any animal or their bi-products, it is not able to fulfil the body’s requirements. This is far from the truth. A plant based diet ensures that all requirements are met by mixing various plant foods in the diet.
Here are the foods that you can eat in a plant based diet:
Sprouted And Fermented Plant Foods
Most of the plant based diets include fermented and sprouted plants. These foods help in absorbing minerals in the body. Some healthy sprouted and fermented plant foods are miso, kombucha, pickle, tempeh, ezekiel bread, sauerkraut, probiotics, natto and kimchi. They are all rich in vitamin k2 and other minerals.
Plant Yogurts And Plant Milk
Since a plant based diet excludes all kinds of dairy products, it can create calcium deficiencies in the body. To cover up for dairy products, plant based diets include calcium-fortified yogurts and plant milks. These include blackstrap molasses, chia seeds etc.
As for plant yogurts, almond, cashews, coconut, soy and hemp can be included in the diet as they are delicious and also have many health benefits.
Nutrients, fiber, antioxidants are important to keep the body healthy. Lentils, beans and peas are loaded with all of these nutrients. There are many health benefits of including legumes in your diet such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood sugar, and regulating heart rate.
There’s no restriction on fruits in a plant based diet because they are highly packed with important vitamins, minerals, fiber, potassium etc.
Whole-Grains, Cereals And Pseudocereals
It is vital to feed your body with carbs, minerals, iron, fiber, B-vitamins etc., because they aid in improving health and maintaining proper growth. Including whole-grains, cereals and pseudocereals can help in this regard as they contain all of these nutrients. Teff, quinoa, amaranth and spelt are the foods that can be eaten to feed your body with these nutrients.
Seeds: Protein is another nutrient which can help give you strength and repair your tissues. Seeds such as flax seeds, chia and hemp can be included in the diet as they are packed with a lot of protein. Apart from that, seeds also contain omega 3-fatty acids in some amount and helps to cover for fish and sea foods since they are excluded from plant based diets.
Nuts: Our body needs magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, fiber and iron to ward off diseases, maintain good weight and have healthier bodies. This can be achieved by including nuts in our daily diet. However, make sure you consume only an ounce of roasted or raw nuts because they are calorie rich.
Foods Not To Eat:
- Eggs: Quails eggs, chicken eggs, fish eggs and ostrich eggs are restricted in a plant based diet.
- Dairy Products: Ice cream, butter, yogurt, milk and cheese shouldn’t be included.
- Meet And Poultry: Lamb, chicken, goose, beef, pork, veal, duck, quail and turkey shouldn’t be eaten.
- Bee Products: All bee products such as honey, royal jelly and bee pollen are restricted.
- Seafood And Fish: All types of fish and fish oil should be kept at bay.
- Animal Based Ingredients: Egg white albumen, casein, lactose, Isinglass, shellac, l-cysteine, gelatin, whey, cochineal, carmine are prohibited to eat in a plant based diet.
Benefits Of Plant Based Diet
Improves Bone Health: Spinach, kale, and black eyed peas are said to improve bone health by covering up for calcium deficiencies as they are a great source of calcium.
Milk is considered to be one of the most important drinks for a person but since it is excluded from plant based diet, you can turn to alternatives. Soy milk, vegan cheese and almond milk can be good replacements for milk.
Helps Fight Many Diseases: A lot of diseases are caused by eating animal foods and since all kinds of animal foods are prohibited in plant based diets, heart diseases, chronic diseases, diabetes and cancers are less likely to occur.
Weight Loss: Plant based diets work like charm when it comes to losing weight as they are low on calories. Moreover, they are easy to digest as compared to animal foods. Plant based foods are rich in minerals, vitamins and other nutrients which help in reducing weight.
Plant Based Diet Recipes To Know About
Here are two delicious recipes:
Garlic Hash Brown With Kale (30 minutes)
- Shredded Yukon Gold potatoes - 2. (f Yukon potatoes aren’t available, take 2 cups of shredded sweet potatoes.)
- Salt - ¼ tbsp.
- Freshly ground black pepper - ½ tbsp.
- Minced garlic cloves - 6
- Large shredded kale leaves 2 to 3.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Take a container and fill it with water to rinse the shredded potatoes.
- Now leave them to dry.
- Spread the shreds of potatoes on a baking sheet and add salt and pepper.
- Bake it for 10 minutes in the oven.
- Now, take the sheet out of the oven and add minced garlic to it.
- Bake for 5 more minutes.
- While the potatoes are being baked, take a large pan and fill it with ⅛ inch of water and add a pinch of salt.
- Put the kale in this pan and saute over medium heat till the water evaporates. This takes about 10 minutes.
- Now that both the kale and potatoes are ready, serve them together.
Barbeque Chickpeas And Rice (25 mins)
- Whole grain rice or brown rice - 1 cup
- Rinsed and drained chickpeas - 1 can.
- Diced baby portobello mushrooms - (4- 5)
- Vegan barbecue sauce - half cup
- Cook brown rice in a rice cooker by following the guidelines written in the direction area on the package.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Add chickpeas and mushrooms in an ovenproof dish, add barbeque sauce to the mixture, mix it thoroughly and send it to the preheat oven.
- Let it cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until the sauce begins to evaporate but doesn’t get dry.
- Take the chickpeas out of the oven and allow them to cool a little.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Plant based diets are known to improve health largely which is why a lot of people are turning to these diets.