Plant-based dieting is becoming more popular in the U.S. This diet has proven health benefits, and it is good for the environment. More than one-third of American consumers are consciously opting for plant-based meals, and it is a food trend that looks like it is here to stay.
This diet consists of meals centered on whole plant foods. It means you will only consume vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes, seeds, mushrooms, and whole grains. You can also use herbs and spices to season your food.
People use plant-based nutrition and vegan nutrition interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. Not all vegan diets are nutritious. Notably, French fries and some types of ice cream are vegan but are not exactly health food. In any case, the pros of refraining from meat and its byproducts far outweigh the cons.
Benefits you reap from switching
Turning to plant-based diets is a sustainable way of managing your weight. Studies show that it helps you prevent high cholesterol and hypertension, as well as heart disease. This type of diet may also lower the risk of contracting some types of cancer.
Plant-based or vegan meal replacement, however, takes some planning. Many people start out strong, only to abandon their efforts midway, frustrated that they cannot get the motivation to keep eating plant-based meals. Here are a few tips for people who want to begin.
1. Make the change gradual
Start your transition with only a few plant-based meals throughout a week. Since people tend to stick to their habits, choose dishes that you already like but happen to be plant-based. When you are more confident, you can incorporate one plant-based meal a day, and work it up to the point where none of your meals contains meat, fish, or eggs.
2. Change proportions on your plate
Alternatively, you can get rid of meat by modifying the proportions of your dishes. In the first week, you could have 25 percent plant-based food for each meal, and then 50 percent in the second week. Gradually change the proportion until you get to completely plant-based meals. You can also swap the usual ingredients in recipes with plant-based alternatives.
Protein does not need to be from meat and its byproducts. All that humans consume out of protein are the essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize, and you can obtain all of them in various plant foods.
3. Learn more plant-based recipes
One more hurdle people experience is a lack of knowledge in plant-based diets. Look for recipes specifically for vegan meal replacement, and learn how to prepare ingredients for these dishes. Educate yourself on nutrition and ways to prepare different ingredients. You can also hire a dietician who specializes in plant-based diets.
4. Don’t forget to have fun
Making lifestyle changes does not need to be a chore. You should focus on accessible meals and favorite food. Conversely, if you get tired of always eating the same food, you should make it a habit to change your meal plan frequently. Treat yourself as well—master a handful of recipes for plant-based desserts for when you want to indulge.
Switching to plant-based diets takes a considerable amount of time and effort. You have to figure what works for you and what does not - so be kind to yourself as you try to learn.
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