There is a lot of hype around the word vegan, so I prefer to call my way of eating – following a plant-based diet. There’s a big movement now to eradicate meats and animal byproducts from our diets. Besides saving and supporting the environment, by making a commitment to consume more plants – a plant-based diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, while low in fat – and provides us with more sustainable energy that actually helps up to live happier, fuller lives.
What is a Plant-based Diet?
Plant-based diets are primarily composed of vegetables, whole grains, legumes and whole fruits. Just like the vegan or a Raw Food Diet , people who eat a whole food plant-based diet avoid animal-based products, including meat, dairy, andeggs. This way of eating is based around unprocessed or minimally processed vegtables, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The great thing about this way of eating is, you haven’t labeled yourself – you follow a plant-based diet, but if you slip up one night and have an ice cream, it really doesn’t matter too much. I follow the 80 -20 rule, so I’m not putting myself under too much pressure, whereas if you call yourself vegan, you could be in trouble if you slip up somewhere. This way of eating can also work well for people who don’t want to give meat up completely and become vegetarian, but want to eat healthier. This article discusses why following a plant based diet doesn’t mean you have to vegetarian, and I found it really interesting.
Let’s look at the benefits that come from eating through a plant-based diet:
Plants are rich insources of nutrients, like unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and proteins. All of these compounds are necessary for a fuller, productive day if you want to feel energized and ready for action. Large amounts of heavy meats, dairy, and fats, on the other hand, slow you down, make you sleepy, and require more energy for digestion.
It’s no secret that the world is battling an overweight epidemic, which is why it’s important to consider alternatives that promote weight-loss and lower rates of obesity. As a result, plant-based diets help individuals avoid heart disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and even cancer. A study even confirmed that eating a plant-based diet over 20-years produced a 20% lower risk of diabetes.
Lower Blood Pressure:
In a recent study released by the Harvard School of Public Health, it was found that diets loaded with veggies and fruits can contribute to lower blood pressure. With about one-third of the population suffering from high blood sugar today, that means that 33% of people are at high risk for heart disease or stroke. Switching to a plant-based diet would actually combat the scary effects of high blood pressure.
Now that you know the benefits of plant-based dieting, it’s time to look at some easy and quick recipes to try with your family:
Did you know that cauliflower can be grinded down to resemble a grain, without all of the excessive carbohydrates and fats? Simply cook the cauliflower florets for 10-minutes in a pan, pop them in the food processor, and mash like you would potato. Or you can add it in your favorite casseroles, and bake for about 15-minutes in the oven at 180 degrees. This Mashed Cauliflower green bean casserole recipe is delicious, so give it a try.
When chopped down correctly, zucchini can actually mimic the texture of pasta. Spiralize the zucchini, cutting them in half depending upon how short or long you want them to be. Make your own sauce on the side, considering a portabella tomato sauce that actually mimics a meat sauce. Dice the mushroom and simmer it in a pan while you prep the zucchini. Sautee the noodles in a pan with olive oil and seasoning for 15-minutes, and voila, you’re done.
I also found this article; 25 Healthy Plant-Based Dinners The Entire Family Will Love, there are some great ideas in here, I love the Vegan Meatballs and the Lentil Sheperd’s Pie recipes.
Ready to give plants a try? You might be surprised by the outcome!