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If you are struggling with your weight or if you have a medical problem such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, you can improve your health and manage your weight by choosing a plant-based lifestyle. If you need help on how to start a plant-based lifestyle, you came to the right place. Here at Pick Plants 4 Life, we will be discussing the specifics of a plant-based diet and why this is something that you should consider. If you are interested in this topic, then we encourage you to keep reading below to find out.

What is a plant-based diet? 

A plant-based diet is a diet that is mainly focused on eating foods that are primarily made from plants. This does not only focus on eating vegetables and fruits but also includes foods that are made from nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, beans, and legumes. It does not mean that you are a vegan or vegetarian and do not eat foods like dairy and meat, instead, you are proportionately choosing your food from plant sources. 

The vegetarian diet has been tested with individuals and its results showed that it can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancers, depression, etc. It also has been shown to support health which includes a lower risk of acquiring coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and an increase in longevity. 

Plant-based diets also provide carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins, that can help improve your health. It is also rich in fiber and phytonutrients that your body needs. Vegans must also take supplements such as Vitamin B12 because it is found in foods of animal origin such as eggs, fish, poultry, meat, and dairy products. 

There are different varieties of vegetarian diets. Check out the different vegetarian diets below.

  • Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian – This diet does not solely focus on eating vegetables and fruits but it also includes eggs, dairy products, occasional intake of meat, fish, poultry, and seafood. 
  • Pescatarian – This diet includes vegetables, fruits, dairy products, eggs, fish, and other seafood. It does not include the consumption of animal meat or poultry. 
  • Vegetarian – This diet is also known as the Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet. This diet includes eggs and dairy products but does not include fish, poultry, fish, or seafood. 
  • Vegan – Mainly focused on vegetables and fruits, grains, etc. but does not include foods from animal sources. 

What are the different ways you can start a plant-based diet? Here are some tips you can consider so you can get started on a plant-based diet. 

Eat plenty of vegetables

You can start a plant-based diet by slowly increasing your vegetable intake daily. For example, you can fill half your plate with vegetables during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can try different types of vegetables and incorporate them into your meals every day. You can also snack on vegetables if you find their taste bland you can enhance their taste by eating them with different kinds of healthy dips such as guacamole, hummus, or salsa. 

Change your mindset about meat 

You can eat meats in small portions. You can use it as a garnish instead of the main star of the meal. 

Choose healthy fats

Fats from nuts, olive oil, olives, nut butter, seeds, and avocados are healthy fats. You can incorporate them into your meals every day. 

Prepare a vegetarian meal at least once a week 

You can create a vegetarian meal using whole grains, beans, and vegetables.

Incorporate whole grains for breakfast meals 

You can use any of the whole grains: barley, buckwheat, oatmeal, wheat, and quinoa. Then you can mix them with nuts and seeds with fresh fruits for your early morning breakfast. 

Eat leafy green vegetables 

You can try different varieties of green leafy vegetables in your meals daily such as collards, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and other green vegetables. You can braise, grill, steam, or stir-fry them so you can enjoy their original flavor and get their full nutrients. 

Try different types of salad 

You can eat a salad every meal which can be prepared by using leafy greens like Bibb, romaine lettuce, spinach, or red leafy greens. Fresh herbs, beans, peas, or tofu can also be incorporated to add volume and flavor. 

Eat fruits for dessert 

You can enjoy delicious fruits for dessert after each meal. You can eat a peach, a slice of watermelon, or an apple if you are craving sweets after every meal. 

Here are some sample plant-based meals that you can try for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Examples of Breakfast Meals

  • Rolled oats mixed with bananas, cinnamon powder, and walnuts or almonds
  • Breakfast wrap: Made using a whole wheat tortilla. You can add scrambled egg, black beans, bell peppers, onions, cheddar cheese, and hot sauce or homemade salsa.
  • A whole wheat muffin with tomato, avocado, and blueberries on top. 
  • Eggless French toast with fruit salad
  • Cereals with raisins and soy milk

Examples of lunch meals

  • A Caesar salad; you can use chopped romaine lettuce, croutons, light Caesar salad dressing, and shredded parmesan cheese. You can also add whole wheat pita bread on the side and you can eat a slice of watermelon for dessert.
  • Tomato soup using fresh tomatoes, cream, and vegetable stock, whole grain crackers on the side with tabbouleh salad, and a crispy apple for dessert.
  • Vegetarian pizza with mozzarella cheese, red tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli and you can eat strawberries for dessert. 
  • Creamy vegan pasta salad using noodles, summer squash, and tahini dressing and you can eat a slice of melon for dessert. 
  • Apple white cheddar grilled cheese and you can eat a juicy peach for dessert.

Examples of dinner meals 

  • Grilled tofu and vegetable kabob, and a quinoa and spinach salad for sides. 
  • Whole wheat pasta with beans, green peas, and a romaine salad with cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 
  • Vegetarian chili with kale salad drizzled with carrot ginger dressing. 
  • Roasted chili Rellenos with black beans.
  • Vegetarian burrito bowl

What are the different food categories that can be eaten on a plant-based diet?

  • Fruits – Any kind of fruit such as apple, banana, grapes, strawberry, melon, citrus fruits, etc.
  • Legumes – Any kind of beans, lentils, pulses, etc.
  • Tubers – Root crops such as carrots, potatoes, taros, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.
  • Whole grains – Grains, cereals, and other forms of starches such as quinoa, brown rice, red rice, whole wheat, oats, popcorn, etc.
  • Vegetables – All types of vegetables such as corn, lettuce, spinach, kale, green peas, collards, peppers, beans, etc.

Other foods that you can eat include nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, tempeh, whole grain flour, whole wheat bread, and plant-based milk such as almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, etc. We recommend eating these foods in moderation because they are rich in calories and can cause you to increase your weight. You can portion your food intake to make sure you control what you eat. 

What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?

Weight management

Individuals who have a plant-based lifestyle are usually leaner than those who don’t. This type of diet helps with weight control, especially for individuals who are having a hard time losing weight. Plant-based diets are helpful for individuals who want to lose weight because it is calorie-dense. Whole plant foods are low in calories so you can eat more without consuming high-calorie foods. This allows you to eat more without counting calories or portion control needed. 

Disease prevention such as cardiac disease 

It has been also linked to decreased rates of arthritis, enhanced liver function, and improved kidney health. This diet has been shown to improve heart health; studies found that eating whole plant foods can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease compared with diets that are rich in meat and dairy products.

This is because animal-based foods are rich in fat and cholesterol, which can increase the low-density lipids or bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Highly-processed foods have a lot of salt content, therefore, increasing blood pressure that can damage the lining of the arteries. 

It prevents type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Studies done has shown that eating a plant-based diet can help lower the rates of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and improve the condition of those individuals who have chronic medical conditions. Plant-based diets are low in saturated fat and high in fiber, therefore, helping the body regulates the sugar in the blood and absorb nutrients that the body needs. It also prevents the risk of being obese and overweight which is a common risk factor for type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. 

If you need help transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, you can rely on Pick Plants 4 Life. You can contact us here if you have questions or inquiries regarding our services. You can read our clients’ testimonials here. You can also check out our services by clicking this link here

 If you need a personal plant-based consultant offering online consultation services, Pick Plants 4 Life is worth checking out. Our owner and founder, Kerri Hampton has been living a plant-based lifestyle for more than 5 years. We are offering virtual and phone consultations for our clients.

If you want to inquire or if you are interested to hire us for our services, you can reach us by calling our phone number at 512-656-9209 or sending an inquiry email at justpickplants@gmail.com. Contact us today! We are offering free initial consultation.