Plant-based diets are becoming popular as more and more people are making the switch from a meat-based diet to a meatless one. Just because celebrities are embracing this diet, it does not mean that we need to follow it too but only because it is healthier than animal-based diets and better for the environment too.
Minimally processed plant foods are ‘alive’ foods coming straight from the soil and taking charge as saviors to fight against diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Most people make the blunder of completely making a switch over from animal-based foods to plant-based ones and start becoming restless some time later. There is no need to completely cut down on all animal-based foods. The steps given here would help you in your transition and it is not a rule to follow these steps in the same order in which they have been given. Master any one step and then move on to the next step.
A plant-based diet is not equivalent to a vegan diet and emphasizes more on consuming minimally-processed plant foods with modest amounts of fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy.
Replace meats with legumes, edamame, tempeh, tofu and seitan (wheat gluten). Go meatless once a week, maybe Fridays. Every other week, make an additional day of the week meatless. By the end of the first month, you would have gone meatless twice a week. Increase the number of meatless days gradually until you go meatless entirely, if you want to do so. Otherwise, you can be satisfied with eating less meat.
Eat more plant-based foods at every meal. Our plates are filled with rice, roti, dhal, poultry and seafood, with vegetables and fruits sitting in a small corner of the plate. How can you reduce the meat portion and increase the produce portion?
- Add more zucchini, spinach and carrots to your lasagna and use less meat.
- Add extra beans to your burritos and cut down on the chicken portion.
- Stuff more vegetables in your sandwich and use less meat.
- Prepare eggs and omelettes with more tomatoes, bell peppers and onions.
- Top your pizza with pineapple, olives and peppers instead of sausage and pepperoni. Learn to make an awesome wholegrain pizza at home with all vegetable toppings from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Stock your kitchen cabinets and refrigerators with healthy, plant-based foods. The more you see these foods, the less you will crave for animal-based foods. Stock your shelves with frozen vegetables, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, fresh or frozen fruits, avocados, sunflower seeds and nuts, canned tomatoes and canned beans and lentils.
Eat whole grains instead of refined grains. The nutrient and fiber content in refined grains is thoroughly lost and it enters the blood stream easily. Blood sugar levels rise quickly and drop down even more quickly resulting in mood swings and sweet cravings. Choose nutritious foods such as quinoa, whole wheat bread, millets, 100 percent whole-wheat pasta and brown rice over refined grain products such as cookies, pastries, crackers and white bread.