How to Go Plant Based: 10 Tips for Beginners

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How to Go Plant Based: 10 Tips for Beginners | If you are interested in trying a plant based diet but don't really know how to get stared, this post is for you. Plant based diets are known to help lower BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and can also improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, and give your immune system a nice boost. Click for a list of plant based protein sources as well as tips for beginners to help make the transition easier and more sustainable.

Going plant-based doesn’t mean giving up flavor or satisfaction. Whether it’s for health reasons, environmental concerns, or simply out of curiosity, choosing a plant-based diet is an exciting opportunity to nourish your body, expand your culinary horizons, and contribute to a more sustainable planet. If you’ve been wondering how to go plant based, we’re sharing 10 of our top tips for beginners. Let the journey begin!

What Is a Plant Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds like – it’s centered around foods derived from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It’s more than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle choice that prioritizes plant-derived foods while minimizing or eliminating animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs.

However, it’s essential to note that plant-based eating doesn’t necessarily mean strict veganism. Some individuals might choose to incorporate small amounts of animal products occasionally, while others may opt for a fully vegan approach. The key is to focus on plant foods as the foundation of your meals.

Embracing a plant-based diet isn’t about deprivation or sacrifice, it’s about abundance and variety. From vibrant salads bursting with color to hearty bean stews simmering with flavor, the possibilities are endless. By filling your plate with nutrient-rich plant foods, you’re not only nourishing your body but also supporting a more sustainable and compassionate way of eating.

What Are the Benefits of a Plant Based Diet?

  1. Improved heart health – Plant-based diets are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, making them beneficial for heart health. Research shows that adopting a plant-based diet can lower the risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels.
  2. Weight management – Plant-based diets tend to be lower in calories and higher in fiber compared to omnivorous diets, which can aid in weight management and promote satiety. Focusing on whole, unprocessed plant foods can help you feel full and satisfied while maintaining a healthy weight.
  3. Better digestive health – The abundance of fiber in plant-based foods supports a healthy digestive system by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Additionally, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential nutrients that nourish your gut microbiota, leading to improved overall digestive health.
  4. Reduced risk of chronic diseases – Research suggests that plant-based diets may lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. The diverse array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients found in plant foods work synergistically to promote optimal health and protect against disease.

7 Sources of Plant Based Protein

  1. Legumes – Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are excellent sources of plant-based protein. They’re also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to any meal. Try incorporating legumes into soups, salads, stews, and stir-fries for a protein-packed punch.
  2. Tofu and Tempeh – Tofu and tempeh are soy-based products that serve as versatile protein sources in plant-based cooking. Tofu, made from soybean curds, has a mild flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes, from scrambles to stir-fries. Tempeh, on the other hand, is a fermented soy product with a nutty flavor and firm texture, making it perfect for grilling, marinating, or crumbling into dishes.
  3. Quinoa – Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. This ancient grain is also gluten-free and packed with fiber, making it a nutritious and filling choice for plant-based meals. Use quinoa as a base for salads, pilafs, or breakfast bowls for a protein-rich boost.
  4. Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all excellent sources of plant-based protein and healthy fats. Sprinkle them on oatmeal, yogurt, or salads, or enjoy them as a satisfying snack on their own. Incorporating a variety of nuts and seeds into your diet provides essential nutrients and adds texture and flavor to your meals.
  5. Nutritional Yeast – Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is commonly used as a cheese substitute in plant-based cooking. It has a cheesy, nutty flavor and is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, including B vitamins and zinc. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn, pasta, salads, or roasted vegetables for a savory, umami-rich boost of protein and flavor.
  6. Spirulina – Spirulina is a nutrient-rich blue-green algae that is often consumed in powdered form as a dietary supplement or added to smoothies, juices, and other beverages. It is exceptionally high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a valuable addition to a plant-based diet.
  7. Soy Milk and Other Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives – Many plant-based dairy alternatives, such as soy milk, almond milk, and pea milk, are fortified with protein and other nutrients. Enjoy them as a beverage on their own, or use them as a creamy base for smoothies, soups, and sauces to increase your protein intake while avoiding dairy products.

How to Go Plant Based: 10 Tips for Beginners

  1. Start slowly – Transitioning to a plant-based diet doesn’t have to happen overnight. Instead of making drastic changes, start by incorporating more plant-based meals into your routine gradually. Begin with one meatless day per week and gradually increase the number of plant-based meals you enjoy.
  2. Experiment with new foods – Embrace your inner culinary explorer and try new fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that you may not have tasted before. Visit farmers’ markets, explore ethnic grocery stores, and experiment with different cooking methods to discover exciting flavors and textures.
  3. Plan ahead – Planning is key to success when adopting a plant-based diet. Take some time to meal plan, batch cook, and prep ingredients in advance to make weeknight meals a breeze. Stock your pantry with staple ingredients like beans, grains, canned tomatoes, and spices, so you always have the foundation for a quick and nutritious meal.
  4. Get creative in the kitchen – Plant-based cooking is all about creativity and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and reinvent your favorite dishes with plant-based ingredients. Get inspired by cookbooks, online recipes, and cooking blogs, and have fun exploring the endless possibilities of plant-based cuisine.
  5. Listen to your body – Pay attention to how your body feels as you transition to a plant-based diet. Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, so listen to your body’s cues and adjust your diet accordingly. If you’re feeling low on energy or experiencing any deficiencies, consider consulting with a registered dietitian who can help you optimize your plant-based eating plan.
  6. Seek out plant-based alternatives – Explore the wide variety of plant-based alternatives available for your favorite animal-based foods. From plant-based milks like almond, soy, and oat milk to vegan cheese, meat substitutes, and dairy-free ice cream, there are plenty of delicious options to satisfy your cravings without compromising your commitment to a plant-based diet. Experiment with different brands and products to find ones that suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
  7. Stay hydrated – Hydration is key to overall health and well-being, especially when transitioning to a plant-based diet. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and support your body’s natural functions. You can also hydrate with herbal teas, infused water, coconut water, and fresh fruit juices to add flavor and variety to your beverage choices. Aim to consume at least eight glasses of water per day, or more if you’re physically active or live in a hot climate.
  8. Educate yourself – Take the time to educate yourself about the nutritional aspects of a plant-based diet and how to ensure you’re meeting your body’s needs for essential nutrients. Familiarize yourself with sources of plant-based protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and other vital nutrients to help you plan balanced and nutritious meals. There are plenty of reputable resources available, including books, websites, documentaries, and online courses, that can provide valuable information and guidance on plant-based nutrition.
  9. Be patient and flexible – Transitioning to a plant-based diet is a journey, not a destination, so be patient with yourself and allow room for flexibility. It’s okay to have slip-ups or moments of indulgence along the way – what matters most is your overall commitment to incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet. Remember that progress, not perfection, is the goal, and every plant-based meal you enjoy is a step towards a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
  10. Connect with others – Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your interest in plant-based eating and seek support from friends, family, online communities, and local meetups. Sharing experiences, recipe ideas, and tips for navigating challenges can be incredibly motivating and empowering. Consider joining social media groups, attending plant-based cooking classes, or participating in community events to connect with others on a similar journey and build a supportive network of fellow plant-based enthusiasts.

By embracing the abundance of plant foods and following these beginner-friendly tips on how to go plant based, you’ll be well on your way to thriving on a plant-based diet. Bon appétit!

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How to Go Plant Based: 10 Tips for Beginners | If you are interested in trying a plant based diet but don't really know how to get stared, this post is for you. Plant based diets are known to help lower BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and can also improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, and give your immune system a nice boost. Click for a list of plant based protein sources as well as tips for beginners to help make the transition easier and more sustainable.

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