Eating a Plant-Based Diet: What I've Learned January 2020

What is a plant-based diet?

I've been learning that "dieting" is always a short-term solution to a long-term problem. For me, I know that I require the long-term solution of not giving up all my favorite foods entirely, but focusing on eating things that grow out of the ground, commonly known as a "plant-based diet". A plant based-diet is not necessarily vegetarian, but is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products. What I have discovered is that most plant foods are not only rich in nutrients, but they are not as calorie dense as meats, dairy, and grains. So you can get fuller, faster, just by eating plants as opposed to other edibles.

Why change the way I'm eating?

Modern research has been increasingly supporting the notion of plant-based eating habits, and the evidence is compelling. Research over many years has linked plant-based diets to lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It has also shown that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower heart disease mortality rates.

Is it hard to do?

Many people think that eating a plant-based diet means they must sacrifice taste. I have found that to be untrue. The more I have adopted to reduce my consumption of meats, dairy and processed foods, the less dependent I seem to be upon them to be satiated and content.

Colorful foods are often the most nutritious and flavorful.

What are my options?

Popular plant-based diets include a vegetarian diet (excludes meat), a vegan diet (excludes not only meat but also any animal product, such as dairy products), and a pescatarian diet (vegetarian diet but also includes seafood).

Listen to the experts:

Are there risks?

Plant-based diets carry some risk of inadequate protein, vitamin, and mineral intake. But these risks are readily overcome by choosing the right vegetarian foods and, when necessary, supplements. For example, soy, quinoa, and nuts are good sources of protein, and tofu, lentils, and spinach are good sources of iron.

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Created with images by Chantal Garnier - "Mix of vegetables at the Flower Show in Chantilly" • Nadine Primeau - "These pictures are part of a set of photos that were taken towards the end of the summer to realize one of my projects that was close to my heart: making a calendar for the coming year. Because I like to admire the colour and textures, vegetables are an excellent choice because they can offer a whole show for the eyes all year round!" • Lindsay Moe - "Moody Cheeseboard" • Eiliv-Sonas Aceron - "Mediterranean Salad" • Brooke Lark - "Donuts halo’ed with fruits and flowers. Whatever could be better?" • Bruna Branco - "Oranges" • Cayla1 - "Autumn Soup"