The world is changing and many are now turning to plant-based nutrition as an alternative to eating animal products. Whether it is completely embracing a vegetarian or vegan diet, or just adding more plant-based foods into your diet, there has never been a better time to reap the benefits of this lifestyle. From boosted energy levels and weight loss to increased mental clarity and improved overall health, plant-based nutrition has a lot to offer. Let’s explore the many benefits of plant-based nutrition and how embracing this lifestyle can take your health to the next level.
1. Exploring the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
The world is changing, and people are beginning to understand the benefits of a plant-based diet. Going completely vegan is an admirable lifestyle choice, but even if you don’t want to go all the way, incorporating more vegetables into your diet can have major health benefits.
- Eat Fresh – Eating fresh fruits and vegetables gives you an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
- Reduce Inflammation – Incorporating more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet may help reduce inflammation caused by chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and digestive issues.
- Enhanced Digestion – A plant-based diet can help improve digestion, as well as prevent constipation and its complications.
Furthermore, studies have revealed how switching to a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of deadly diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancers.
This is not to say that veganism is a “cure-all”, however, there is no doubt that eating less meat and more plants can be beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing.
2. Health Benefits of Eating More Plant-Based Foods
Eating more plant-based foods can have a plethora of health benefits. Not only are these foods beneficial for your physical health, but they can also bring mental well being. Here are some of the top advantages of veering away from animal products:
- A plant-rich diet is packed with essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for overall health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes are all loaded with fiber, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Eliminating processed foods and including more whole plant foods can help to reduce bloating, improve skin health, and boost energy levels. Eating nutrient-dense plant-based foods provides plenty of antioxidants, so they will give your body the protection it needs to fight off toxins and illnesses.
- Eating more plant-based foods can also help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. These foods are known to have a calming effect on the body, as they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that help to keep the mind and body balanced.
- From a weight loss perspective, plant-based foods are also beneficial. These foods generally contain fewer calories and more fiber, so they can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce cravings.
Overall, eating more plant-based foods can have a myriad of health benefits for both your physical and mental well being. You can enjoy the wonderful taste and health benefits of plants in a variety of delicious ways!
3. Sizeable Gains from a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet
The benefits of transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan diet are numerous and worth considering. This diet provides sizeable gains for both your health and the environment. Here’s what you can look forward to:
- Improved Heart Health: Eating vegetarian or vegan meals results in lower saturated fat consumption, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Weight Loss: Vegetarian and vegan diets are much lower in calories than meat-based diets. Consuming fewer calories leads to weight loss, reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases.
- Improved Mood: The lower cholesterol consumption from following a veggie or vegan diet is thought to be beneficial for mental health. Studies also show people who follow this diet are more likely to report higher levels of emotional wellbeing.
- Environmental Benefits: Emissions from raising meat-based livestock has a major negative impact on the environment. Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet requires fewer resources so it can reduce your carbon footprint.
So, if you’re looking to reap sizeable gains for your health and the environment, transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan diet is one of the best steps you can take.
4. Balancing Macronutrients – Protein, Carbs & Fat
Achieving your desired body composition requires more than just eating enough calories. You must also balance the types of foods you eat and the macronutrients they contain. Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and each have their own role in the body.
Protein is necessary for building and maintaining muscle. It also helps to keep you fuller for longer and can help aid in weight loss. Try to include a source of protein such as lean meats, eggs, fish, and plant-based proteins in each meal and snack.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy and come from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products. When consumed in moderation, carbohydrates can support a healthy diet. Limit sugary foods such as cakes, candy, and sodas as these can contribute to weight gain.
Fats provide your body with a range of important nutrients and are essential for skin and hair health. However, not all fats are created equal. For optimal health, it is important to choose and consume unsaturated fats such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts instead of saturated fats such as lard, butter, and cream.
To find balance with your macronutrient intake, try following these guidelines in each meal:
- 1/3 of your plate of protein
- 1/3 of your plate of complex carbohydrates
- 1/3 of your plate of healthy fats
By following a balanced macronutrient plan, you can be sure to fuel your body adequately and keep it functioning optimally.
5. Taking the Leap – Starting Your Plant-Based Journey Today!
- Start Small and Don’t Overwhelm Yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘all or nothing’ mindset when it comes to major diet changes. Start small and gradually make the transition to plant based eating. Replace a meat dish with a vegan option once or twice a week, switch out a cow’s milk with a non-dairy milk, and get comfortable with the flavour and texture before switching up your entire cupboard and fridge.
- Stock up on Plant-Based Pantry Staples. Having a well-stocked pantry with plant based staples makes the transition to plant based eating much easier. Start with the basics like plant milks, nut butters, tofu, seitan, tempeh, legumes, rice, quinoa, and whole grains. There are plenty of vegan options in the supermarkets, as well as in specialty health food stores.
- Experiment in the Kitchen. The best way to get familiar with plant based ingredients is to experiment in the kitchen. Try switching up classic recipes by replacing ingredients with vegan-friendly alternatives – it’s a great way to try something ‘new’ without having to follow complicated recipes. And don’t be afraid to fail – it’s all part of the journey.
- Satiate Your Appetite with Delicious Recipes. There is a never-ending list of inspiring, plant-based recipes out there. Spend some time scouring the internet and cookbooks for ideas, and find recipes that fulfill your taste preferences. Veganism is so much more than just salads and smoothies – you can easily enjoy the same yummy comfort foods that you are accustomed to, just made with plant-based ingredients.
- Take it One Day at a Time. Don’t worry about what the future holds – focus on enjoying your journey and creating positive changes. Be mindful to be patient with yourself, and take it one day at a time. The key is to find balance and appreciation for the things that you consume – embrace it, savour it, and enjoy it!
Ready to reap the bounty of a plant-based lifestyle? Start by taking one small step towards a healthier, vegetarian or vegan diet and you may soon discover the power of plants in your life. Goodbye — until next time!