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Beginner's Guide to a Plant-Based Diet
Starting with a plant-based diet indicates that you are moving towards a healthier life. Going for a plant-based diet may sound cool but when it comes to implementing it, there is a lot that you must know. For health reasons, environmental reasons or to avoid meat you might have any reason for opting for plant-based diets. You have landed in the right place to explore more about it.
Table of Contents
What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to plant-based diets. In a nutshell, a plant-based diet is about following some eating patterns that avoid animal-based foods and emphasize food derived from plants. The term plant-based can be interpreted by people in different ways. For some, it may mean becoming a complete vegan, for others it may mean eating more plant-based food and going animal-based a few times. Eating planet-friendly food will bring you a step closer to following a plant-based diet. This change may feel overwhelming at first but with baby steps, you’ll soon reap the benefits of it. Also know about vegetarian protein sources.
How Plant-Based Diet Helps in Weight Loss?
Amongst the many benefits of opting for a plant-based diet, losing weight is an essential one. Plant-based diet weight loss is a natural way to get rid of the extra calories. Following a plant-based diet can prevent you from being overweight and obese. Going for such a diet is a sustainable way to achieve weight loss goals. Plant-based foods like whole grains are rich in fiber which improves the breakdown and digestion process of food and aids weight loss. Added to that, avoiding meat that has higher fats will help you to manage your calories in a better way.
Types of Plant-Based Diets
Plant-based is a broader term under which there are several types of diets that people follow. Millions of people follow different types of plant-based diets depending on their choices. While some prefer being completely vegan others go for more flexible and less restrictive diets. Here are a few types of plant-based diets that you can consider for yourself.
- Vegan- Consuming strictly foods derived from plants.
- Vegetarian- This diet primarily consists of plant-based food.
- Lacto-vegetarian- It's a diet where dairy products are consumed along with plant-based food.
- Ovo-vegetarian- This diet excludes everything anima-based other than eggs.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian- A lacto-ovo-vegetarian prefers dairy and eggs along with all other plant-based products.
- Pescatarian- A diet that excludes animal-based foods other than seafood and fish.
- Flexitarian (Semi-vegetarian)- As the name suggests, a flexitarian is flexible in preferring what types of foods he or he should be consuming.
Foods to Eat on a Plant-Based Diet
Plant-based diet weight loss not only means avoiding animal-based but there are also certain foods that you should include in your diet to gain to fulfill your body’s requirements of essential vitamins and nutrients. There are many options for a plant-based diet for various food categories.
- Vegetables- Include leafy and cruciferous vegetables like kale, spinach, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc. for the immense health benefit they possess.
- Fruits- Go for fiber-rich fruits to ensure controlled blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Some fruits that you can consider are berries, avocados, watermelon, apples, oranges, etc. Read more about sugar in watermelon
- Nuts and seeds- Certain nuts like almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts are good for satiety and weight management. These are also good for maintaining cholesterol levels. Certain seeds like flax, chia, and hemp are also beneficial.
- Whole grains- Add fibrous whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc. as these are full of phytochemicals that are good for health.
- Pulses- Pulses like chickpeas, lentils, beans, dry peas, etc. increase the fullness hormones and help in calorie management.
Foods to Avoid on a Plant-Based Diet
Knowing what is avoided in a plant-based diet is very important as not all plant-based foods are beneficial for your health. For example, processed foods like potato chips, fries, white bread, etc. are not beneficial. Added to that avoid animal-based products as much as you can. These may include dairy products, meat, poultry, processed animal meats, etc. Also exclude refined grains, sweets, and sweetened beverages.
Pros and Cons of a Plant-Based Diet
Following a plant-based diet comes with positive and negative impacts. However, the pros are so beneficial that the cons almost diminish. Before you decide to completely consume plant-based foods you must know these implications.
Pros- Following a plant-based diet reduces the risk of developing heart diseases or any other chronic diseases. It enables you to maintain optimum cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also helps to cure anxiety, depression, and inflammation and boosts immunity. Consuming plant-based products reduces the risk of developing cancer. Added to that, a plant-based diet is perfect for weight management and causes zero harm to mother nature. Also know about the low sugar levels.
Cons- The only con of consuming all plant-based foods is that you may need supplements if you do not make smart food choices. If your body lacks certain nutrients you may need to rely on other sources for fulfilling them. If you are not planning well, you may make your body deficient in vitamin B12, iron, protein, zinc, calcium, omega 3, vitamin D, etc.
You don’t have to force yourself to restrict all animal-based foods. Initially you choose any type of plant-based diet to take a step towards becoming vegan. Keep experimenting with your meals to know what works best for you. If you make smart choices then you won’t face any deficiencies caused due to a plant-based diet. To achieve the significant health benefits of a plant-based diet have a positive and wise approach while implementing it.
Are eggs OK on a plant-based diet?
You can consume eggs while following a plant-based diet for weight loss. This type of plant-based diet is called Ovo-vegetarian. Many other types are flexible to include certain animal-based foods. The approach depends on you.
Can you eat pasta on a plant-based diet?
Pasta comes under foods that are derived from plants making it perfect for a plant-based diet. Generally, pasta contains no animal-based ingredients. You can make pasta further healthier by adding veggies and beans to it.
What are the basics of a plant-based diet?
A basic plant-based diet includes a majority of foods that are derived from plants and promotes the exclusion of maximum animal-based foods. However, you can be flexible in your approach and go for less restrictive plant-based diets.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.