We are hearing the words ‘Plant-Based Nutrition’ more and more. With the launch of documentaries like Game Changers, books like Forks over knives and athletes changing their nutrition to be plant-based, you could be forgiven for thinking you have to go vegetarian or even vegan to add plant-based nutrition to your menu.
But plant-based nutrition differs from one person to the next.
In the world of nutrition, plant-based eating means having a large portion of your nutrition coming from vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, whole grains, and also includes legumes and other plants. There is also no need to cut out any other food sources if you don’t want to.
Types of Plant-Based Nutrition
Strict vegan plant-based nutrition means you are not going to eat any meat, fish, or animal products like dairy foods (if you can tolerate them), honey, or eggs.
Vegetarian plant-based nutrition is less strict than vegan as you can eat eggs, dairy, (unless you’re dairy-free), and other animal products but no meat or fish.
Pescatarian plant-based nutrition is similar to vegetarian but does include fish.
Meat is still off the menu.
With flexitarian plant-based nutrition you slowly move into more plant-based eating without removing meat totally from your diet. A flexitarian would have a larger proportion of plant-based food on their plate with only a small portion of animal product.
Nothing is off limits for a flexitarian but the focus is on more plant-based foods.
Benefit of Plant-Based Nutrition
Most Western diets include double the recommended daily intake of protein. By reducing the amount of animal protein we eat and replacing it with plant-based protein sources there is little risk of us over indulging.
Too much protein can cause digestive issues in some people.
At the other end of the spectrum, Western diets contain too little fibre. Lack of fibre can also cause digestive issues including inflammation, constipation, and hemorrhoids.
Increasing our intake of plant-based nutrition also increases our fibre intake. Vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes are all high in dietary fibre.
Weight Loss / Management
Overall, those who follow a more plant-based nutrition program eat fewer calories than those who don’t. When most of your food comes from nutrient rich sources you don’t need to eat as much to be satisfied.
Disease Prevention / Management
A report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that a daily intake of 400g of fruit and vegetable can contribute to preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
3 Steps to Plant-Based Nutrition
Your Grocery List…
To ease your way into more plant-based nutrition, slowly increase the amount of plant-based food on your grocery list.
Grab a couple of cans of lentils, black beans, and chick peas (low sodium of course). They are quick and easy to add to your dishes to increase the plant-based nutrition – you can also use them as a substitute for animal protein too.
If you don’t already, add Meat Free Monday to your weekly menu plan. You can find some ideas here.
I admit it, I would be lost if I didn’t meal plan. With all the activities my teens do if I didn’t have a weekly meal plan there would probably be nights when we ate only cereal.
It’s easy to do. What are some of your family’s favourite meals? Write them down and you’ll most likely find you have enough in the rotation to have something different for 14 nights.
Then all you have to do is add and/or subtract an ingredient or two and you’re well on your way to more plant-based nutrition.
Go For It!
Just pick a day (or two) you want to allocate to being more plant-based and go for it.
You won’t regret it.
Getting more plant-based nutrition into your family doesn’t have to be a chore. A few small changes here and there and you will be well on your way to eating healthily.
Don’t forget that it can take up to 10 (!!) times for young children to accept a new food. So, if you have little ones, go slowly and patiently.
Most of all…
The content on this website is for general information purpose only.
By providing the above information, we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before commencing any type of natural, integrative, or conventional treatment we advise you seek the advice of a licensed medical practitioner.