Depending on who you ask, a plant-based diet will mean different things. In general, it’s a way of eating that emphasizes real, whole foods derived from plants.
“I love plant-based diets because they encourage inclusivity over exclusivity and foods that are as similar to their natural state as possible,” says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
What does Plant -Based mean?
This for some reason brings up a lot of controversy, but it’s pretty simple really. A diet based in plants. It does not mean a diet of exclusively plants – the word for that is vegan, a plant based diet emphasizes whole plant foods as the star of meals and snacks.
It may or may not contain animal products, but animal product intake is less frequent and portion sizes are smaller than in most traditional diets.
Beginners Guide to a Plant Based Diet
Plant-based products have been entering and flying off store shelves for the past few years. Plant-Based, according to a dietitian, has no official description. To others, this entails following a fully vegan diet. Others define a plant-based diet as consuming mainly plants with some meat, fish, eggs, and dairy on occasion. The basic principles, however, remain the same: eat more whole plant foods like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and consume less animal products.
Things you can eat on a Plant Based Diet
- Vegetables: spinach, kale, tomatoes, potatoes
- Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, peas
- Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, barley
- Unsweetened beverages: coffee, tea
- Fruits: berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches
- Spices and Herbs: basil, oregano, thyme
- Nuts and Butter: almost butter, peanut butter, walnuts
- Plant Based Protein: tofu, tempeh, spirulina
Things you can’t eat on a Plant Based Diet
- Fast foods: any junk foods containing chicken, beef or meat
- Desserts: ice-creams containing dairy products and too much sugar
- Processed meat: nuggets, fried chickens
- Seafood: fish, shrimps, lobsters
What is Whole Food Plant Based Diet Plan / wfpb?
A whole-food plant-based diet is one that emphasizes whole foods over processed foods. Frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as canned beans, are also acceptable options because they are minimally processed and contain few additives. Plant-based is a general term that refers to any diet that emphasizes non-animal plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
We consider not only whether it’s a whole plant meal, but also whether it promotes good health when developing a WFPB diet. Coconut products, for example, are avoided because of their high saturated fat content, which is unhealthy. Unlike other diets, however, a WFPB diet is characterized more by what is included than what is not.
On the Internet, there are many whole food plant-based diet and meal plans to choose from. We can choose it based on our personal preferences and tastes. If you are a busy person who does not have time to make meals every day, you can prepare a week’s worth of meals in advance. These meals can be easily stored in the refrigerator and are extremely tasty when heated.
5 Days Sample Meal Plan for Beginners
- Day 1
- Breakfast: muesli, unsweetened almond milk, blackberries,
- Lunch: 1 serving Green salad and Edmame
- Dinner: roasted curry chickepea bowl, mixed greens
- Day 2
- Breakfast: strawberry mango smoothie
- Lunch: Lemon roasted veggie hummus bowl
- Dinner: roasted sweet potatoes, spinach salad, white beans
- Day 3
- Breakfast: strawberry mango smoothie
- Lunch: roasted sweet potatoes, spinach salad, white beans
- Dinner: Lemon roasted veggie hummus bowl
- Day 4
- Breakfast: banana apple smoothie, walnuts
- Lunch: slow cooker plant based chili
- Dinner: stuffed sweet potatoes with hummus
- Day 5
- Breakfast: 1 apple, 1 cup edmame in pods
- Lunch: falafel salad with lemon tahini dressing
- Dinner: slow cooker plant based chili
Major Benefits of Whole Food Plant Based Diet for Beginners
A whole-foods plant-based diet has many advantages. Cutting back on meat and replacing it with more plant-based foods reduces our environmental impact while still allowing us to support our local farmers. There are, of course, health advantages. Fiber is an essential nutrient found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, and people who consume a plant-based diet have a higher fiber intake.
Following are the most important benefits of whole food plant based diet for beginners:
- Prevent and Treat illnesses
Plant-based diets have been related to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and others. Other research has linked consuming plant-based proteins (such as beans and tofu) to overall longevity.
- Weight Loss
Eating more plants has a positive impact on your waistline. A more plant-based diet and therefore consuming less animal-based foods was linked to a smaller waist circumference and lower body fat percentage in a recent study. Although it’s true that the more you cut down on your calories, the better for your weight and waistline, it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation.
- Good for Mother Nature
Our climate and natural resources are being harmed by animal agriculture. The production of meat and dairy animals accounts for around 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. To reverse the impact, we must make significant changes in our eating habits. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes consumption will need to double globally, while red meat and added sugar consumption will need to be reduced.
- Easy to follow
A plant-based diet is relatively simple to sustain as compared to most other diets. There are no calorie counters or meal plans to obey. It provides a lot of versatility because there aren’t any hard and fast rules—you can eat less meat, avoid animal products entirely, and so on. You can do what you think is best for you.
- Other Benefits
- Better mood and energy
- Improved skin tone and acne
- Better sports performance and activity
- Better gut health
- Improved reproductive health
- Personal empowerment
Is it possible to switch to a Plant-based Diet?
Yeah, it is absolutely possible to make this transition at every age and stage of life. To make the most of a plant-based diet, the change should be gradual and consistent. Starting a plant-based diet should be about more than just losing weight; it should also be about maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
We will need to reconsider how we put our meals together if we want to eat mostly plants. Many of us have developed the habit of basing our meals on a protein—often meat—and then surrounding it with vegetables and starches. To be genuinely plant-based, it’s helpful to think in the opposite direction: Begin with the vegetables, then add the remaining ingredients.
How to transition to a plant based diet?
It’s easier than you thought to move to a plant-based diet. To make this change, what you need is commitment and dedication. Life becomes smooth and gets back on track once you’ve passed the beginning process. People who are less encouraged are more likely to give up halfway through. The first rule of switching to a plant-based diet is to take it slowly. Begin gradually letting go of old habits.
Transitioning from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet may seem daunting if you’ve been eating a lot of meat. You may be wondering what you should eat if you don’t eat meat, eggs, or dairy. It’s important to go into this new chapter with an open mind and a positive attitude. Instead of focusing on what you’ll lose out on by eating a plant-based diet, try to think about what you’ll gain.
It shouldn’t demand willpower, struggle, or deprivation to stick to your new diet. Once you learn more about plant-based eating, you’ll realize you don’t need to give up anything.
You’ll have no trouble learning to enjoy the plant-based lifestyle and how it makes you feel once you’ve learned the ins and outs of plant-based alternatives to pizza, cookies, muffins, chocolate, and sandwiches.
There are a few things, which you need to ask yourself before transitioning to a whole food plant based diet.
Why do you want to make a transition?
It’s important to be crystal clear about why you’re starting a wfpb diet. If you’re making a significant lifestyle change, it’ll be difficult at times, but getting a good reason why will help you stay on track. Find a cause that encourages and excites you, and make sure you understand it fully. Make a list of your reasons and post it on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Keep the justification in mind to keep you focused.
When you have finally decided to embark on this journey, then you need to act upon the following things:
- Always fill up on a salad or vegetable soup before main course
- Drink unsweetened tea and coffee
- Enjoy snacking on nuts and seeds as they are rich source of fibers and protein
- Eat more vegetables and more often when you can
- Enjoy sweets and desserts but in smaller amounts
Tips before Starting Plant Based Diet for Beginners
- Be Prepared Emotionally
It’s not necessary to make the switch to a plant-based diet all at once. Expect the transformation to take anywhere from weeks to a year, so don’t expect perfection or to arrive overnight. Change is difficult and breaking away from the norm can be emotionally difficult. Depending on where you are on your healthy eating path, you might be able to make the move right away, but for those of you who need to make a more significant change, a gradual transition may be the best option.
- Make your own food
This is perhaps the most crucial part of consuming a plant-based diet. Unless you have limitless food budgets or live in a city with a plethora of plant -based restaurants, cooking your own food at home is essential to making a whole food plant-based diet function. So, let’s get to work in the kitchen! There’s no need to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare healthy plant-based meals; they can be made quickly and easily.
- Stock up the kitchen
Having a well-stocked pantry of staples will help you keep track of your shopping lists and prepare nutritious and tasty meals on the fly.
- Research a lot
This is a significant move as well. Making plant-based decisions becomes simpler as you gain more knowledge about health, nutrition, animal welfare, and agriculture. Begin to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of a plant-based diet.
- Grab some cookbooks
Recipes and suggestions can also be found on Pinterest, Instagram, and plant based food sites. Take those cookbooks to work with you and prepare your meals for the day when you have a break.
- Don’t give up too soon
This is crucial, and it happens all the time: people make one mistake and then give up entirely. It’s the equivalent to dropping your phone and absolutely crushing it or getting a flat tyre and having to replace all four tyres. It’s not a big deal if you fall down; the important thing is to get back up and keep going forward.
Never throw away all your hard work because of a minor setback. We learn and develop by failing. Consistency is much more critical than perfection; in truth, perfection does not exist, so be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, acknowledge small victories, and keep going. Every single one of us is a human being.
Working your way up to a completely plant-based diet in stages is probably your best chance for success. Let’s take it one move and one day at a time. This makes it more practical and long-term, as you’ll inevitably fail along the way before you find your feet and eating plant-based becomes second nature.
There’s no reason to feel rushed into switching to a fully plant-based diet. The journey is all part of the fun, so if you can learn to enjoy the process, you’ll have a much better chance of long-term success.
You’re eager to get started but taking it slowly will allow you to fine-tune and develop your plant-based cooking skills, knowledge, and even taste buds. Small changes can have a big impact.
But don’t let yourself off the hook completely; be honest with yourself and force yourself to step outside of your comfort zone because that’s where the good stuff happens.
London, J., 2021. [online] Uploads.strikinglycdn.com. Available at: <https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/81c0a5e2-7894-474e-833b-6d0b0e48d0a4/70086390783.pdf> [Accessed 28 April 2021].
Medicalnewstoday.com. 2020. 15 best plant-based protein foods. [online] Available at: <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321474> [Accessed 29 April 2021].
Lawler, M. and Lynn Grieger, C., 2019. 10 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources | Everyday Health. [online] EverydayHealth.com. Available at: <https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/best-plant-based-sources-of-protein/> [Accessed 29 April 2021].