Have you considered transitioning to a plant based diet?
A plant based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits – but with few or no animal products. The goal is to focus on consuming more fruits and vegetables throughout the day. That’s it. It’s not about what you can’t have; it’s about what you should be eating to improve your health today, tomorrow and in the years to come!
Many health experts and dietitians have recommended plant based diets for years as a way of optimizing health and preventing numerous health-related issues. By increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, you may lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, hypertension and even type 2 diabetes.
Switching to a plant based diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few tips to get you started!
Eliminating or drastically reducing animal protein intake can be a hard transition for many Americans, but the benefits are huge. A high intake of animal protein is linked to many gut and health issues and going meatless a few times a week is a great way to get your plant-based journey started. Vegetarian Soups, salads packed with veggies and many other meatless recipes can make going meat-free delicious!
The goal of a plant-based diet is to eventually have fresh, organic vegetables at every meal and to use fruits for snacks. When you’re starting out, however, it might be easier to pick 2 or 3 meals or snacks a day and pack them with veggies. You can also please even the picky eaters in your home by sneaking in veggies where they go unnoticed. One easy way to do this is to use ½ steamed cauliflower and ½ potatoes when making mashed potatoes. Fresh fruit is also key in getting many of the nutrients our bodies need. Try having fruit for dessert or in a smoothie packed with hidden spinach!
One concern some people have about plant-based diets is getting enough protein. Many whole grains and vegetables contain adequate amounts of protein. Quinoa, legumes (beans), edamame, hummus and lentils (as well as the healthy fats in nuts, hemp and chia seeds) are full of good protein. Other sources like tofu, tempeh, organic soy products, spirulina and nutritional yeast can add healthy protein and texture to your meals.
Going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to cut out meat entirely. At Integrative Health Matters, we recommend our patients drastically reduce the amount of animal protein they ingest. Choose organic, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and eggs when you choose to eat them. We offer Shady Grove Ranch products in our office.
Adding fresh herbs is another great way to keep plant-based meals extra flavorful! Next time a recipe calls for dried herbs, try adding the fresh version instead to enhance the flavors and brighten up the dish. You can often use even less when the herbs are fresh and retain the same great taste.
There are many benefits to a plant-based diet. The fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber, which helps keep you feeling ‘fuller’ for longer and prevent overeating. This can assist with obtaining a slimmer waistline, as well. You may discover that you actually start saving money as you go more plant-based. Fruits and vegetables at the market are cheaper than meat products, helping you save money in the long run.
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