People follow a plant-based diet for a number of reasons: for animal welfare, environmental reasons or health benefits. Studies suggest that people who eat whole foods not only have a lower rise of dietary illnesses but also live longer!
The general idea is that if you fill your plate with vegetables, whole grain foods, legumes and healthy fats as opposed to a diet rich in processed foods, meat and dairy, you may slow down the ageing process.
The term ‘plant-based diet’ can mean a diet that includes small amounts of animal products, or completely excludes any animal products.
As they tend to be lower in saturated fat, eating a plant-based diet can help not only manage your weight but also reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
When excluding or minimising animal products within your diet, you will need to eat a variety of foods to ensure a healthy, balanced diet.
The concept of removing animal products from your diet can be daunting to some. A good idea is to slowly reduce the amount of meat you consume. Try starting ‘Meatless Mondays’, and then with time as you experiment with foods and learn more plant-based recipes, it will become easier to plan a meal without being based around meat. A common practice is to initially cut out red meat, then poultry and finally seafood.
Probably the most common concern when transitioning to a plant-based diet is protein. The recommended daily amount of protein is 55g for an average man and 45g for an average woman. This requirement works out at roughly 0.8g of required protein per kilogram of your body weight.
Great protein rich additions to a plant-based diet include nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu and tempeh.
Another concern is getting enough Iron. Iron-rich plant-based foods include beans, lentils, peas, dark leafy vegetables and wholegrain rice, which can all be easily introduced to your diet.
Iron found in plant-based foods can be harder for the body to absorb than iron derived from meat. Vitamin C can help the body to absorb Iron from plant-based foods, so try taking a vitamin C supplement or a squeeze of lemon here and there to enhance the absorption.
Shopping for plant-based foods:
It doesn’t have to be expensive! Studies show that frozen fruit and vegetables are just as nutritious, if not more so than fresh products.
Try stocking up on frozen fruit and veg. It’s not only convenient but will also save you some money as you will only cook what you need with less wastage. Tinned fruit and vegetables are great to have in the cupboard.
Try our recipes that include a wide range of fruit and veg.