Are you interested in learning more about a plant based diet? Or maybe you just want to start eating healthier? Either way, this guide will help you learn everything you need to know about a plant based diet.
Veganism is becoming increasingly popular around the globe. In fact, according to a recent YouGov survey, nearly 65% of Indian plan to eat more plant-based foods in their daily diet this year.
A plant-based diet is very low in cholesterol & saturated fat and high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The benefits of a vegan diet include improved health, lower risk of heart disease, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and better overall well being.
But What Exactly Is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is one that excludes all animal products, including meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Technically, it includes vegan or vegetarian diets because it doesn’t include any animal foods.
However, vegan diets exclude animal products for the sake of living a compassionate, non-violent lifestyle. Vegan believe that there is exploitation in food when you use animals for food when there is another plant-based option available.
On the other hand, a whole food plant based diet is centered around unprocessed plant-based foods for the sake of optimal health and nutrition. Importantly, it has been proven to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, which is the top killer disease in India today. It can even clear up arteries over time in those who may already have cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis.
Whole foods, plant-based diet is a diet rich in fiber and phytonutrients, apart from traditional nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals that give you optimal nutrition for better health and longevity.
Are you interested in learning more information about a plant based diet, but don’t know where to begin? In this guide, I will walk you through the basics of what a plant based diet entails, and how to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
What a Plant-Based Diet Looks Like: 1-Day Sample Menu
A plant-based diet is a lifestyle choice that focuses on eating plant-based foods that are grown naturally instead of processed food.
It’s a healthy alternative to a meat-heavy diet or one that contains a lot of dairy foods, and it’s becoming increasingly popular among vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, and others who choose to eat less animal products and get their nutrition from plant sources.
Whether you are eating an American Diet or an Indian Diet, it may contain a lot of dairy foods or animal foods. If it does, a whole food plant based diet may be a healthier option for you.
While it may seem daunting to start a plant-based diet, it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of delicious recipes available online, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you could try making your own meals.
Here’s a simple meal plan for one day. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients depending on what you feel like eating.
Breakfast: Fresh fruit salad with berries, nuts, and seeds or a Green Smoothie
Lunch: An Orange, Brown Rice, Palak Sambar, Cabbage Sabzi
Snack: Green Tea or Hibiscus Tea with a Baked Samosa
Dinner: Fruit Bowl, Farm Fresh Cruciferous Vegetables Salad, Jowar Roti, and Chana Palak
Instead of dairy foods and animal protein, simply choose a plant-based option to get started.
What Are the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet?
What Are the Benefits of A Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is a diet based on whole foods, where the food primarily comes from plants. These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dals, grains, and legumes.
While the term “plant-based” may seem restrictive, it doesn’t mean you can only eat salads and tofu. There are plenty of delicious dishes that fit into this category, and you can still enjoy meat, dairy, and egg alternatives made from plant sources by choosing vegan options during your transition phase.
Here are five reasons why a whole foods, plant-based diet is beneficial.
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Steady blood sugar levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Optimal body weight
- And even potentially longer lifespan!
How Do I Start a Plant-Based Diet?
You’ve heard of vegetarianism and veganism, but what about a Whole Food Plant Based Diet?
A whole-foods, Plant-based Diet or WFPB diet is based on unprocessed plant foods for optimal health and longevity. It is slowly gaining popularity as people focus more on their health.
However, for many people, it is new concept. There is lot of confusion about how to start. If you’re looking to improve your overall health, then a whole foods, plant based diet could be a good fit.
"How do I cook without oil?"
"Should I eat only salads everyday?"
"Do I have to give up my favorite recipes?
The first step is to understand why you should move away from animal products and processed foods, and towards healthy whole plant foods. This will help you make sustainable lifestyle changes rather than go on a temporary diet.
When it comes to the actual diet changes, the first change I recommend is to add healthy foods to your diet rather than removing unhealthy foods. Focus on the positive, not the negative.
For example, you could start every meal with a fruit bowl and cruciferous vegetables salad, add a green smoothie to your breakfast, or try out some new Plant-based recipes.
Choose vegan options at your favourite restaurant, or try a new vegan restaurant.
Learn to convert your favorite recipes to healthier, whole food plant based versions.
The NutritionScience.in Plant-based Diet Masterclass is a great resource when you're getting started with a Plant Based Diet. It helps answer all your doubts and give you support through your journey.
Why consider a plant- based diet?
What is a plant-based diet and why should you try it?
A whole foods, plant-based diet is a healthy choice for everyone. Not only does it help you lose weight, it also helps you live longer.
It’s no secret that meat is bad for your health. Eating meat and dairy is linked with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. But what if we told you that eating plants could help prevent all these disease?
Whole food plant based diet has a low calorie density. It is a calorie dilute and nutrient dense, making it perfect to lose weight & gain health.
A whole food plant-based diet even reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. And it makes you look younger, too!
If you are already diabetic, a whole food plant based diet can help reduce insulin resistance and keep you sugar levels stable. You can see a measurable improvement in just a few days.
Any doctor will tell you that a healthy lifestyle is the key to treating metabolic syndrome - diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight and chronic inflammation - and a whole food plant based is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.
You can have a huge variety of fantastic food while still using only healthy ingredients. There are more details about this below.
What is a plant-based diet, really? Is it the same as vegan?
While most vegans avoid animal products, by definition, it has nothing to do with nutrition. Veganism is a conscious compassionate lifestyle, where you avoid causing harm to other living beings.
Veganism is also confused with vegetarianism. Vegetarians do not consume meat, fish, poultry, or eggs. Vegans do not consume any animal products whatsoever, including dairy products, and also do not use any other kind of animal products like silk, wool or leather.
A plant-based diet, on the other hand, is designed for optimal health and longevity.
By definition, a plant-based diet is simply eating foods that come from plants. A whole food plant based diet adds another dimension of avoiding any processed foods, and consuming only unprocessed plant foods. These include fruits, vegetables including green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, dals, and grains.
What Beginners Should Know About Plant-Based Eating
Plant-based eating is becoming increasingly popular among health conscious individuals. But what exactly does plant-based mean? And why should you care?
To understand how plant-based eating works, we must start by looking at our biggest health crises today.
The first thing to know is that the top reason why people die in India is heart disease. Chronic diseases like stroke, diabetes, high BP and obesity have boomed, and even been accepted as 'normal'.
Scientific research has found that a whole food plant based diet can help prevent, treat and sometimes even reverse these diseases.
Heart attacks are not 'normal'. You have the power to prevent a majority of heart attacks - and it starts with what's on your plate.
Having said this, it isn't always easy to change your diet, so start slow. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables as a first step - this may be the easiest way to start.
Take time to learn about plant-based diet. Have you checked our the Plant-based Nutrition courses on NutritionScience.in or tried a Sampoorna Ahara Meal yet?
What can I eat on a plant-based diet list
A plant-based diet is becoming increasingly popular, especially among millennials. If you’re looking to lose weight, improve your health, or simply reduce your carbon footprint, then you might want to consider going on a vegan diet.
While it may seem daunting at first, it’s actually quite simple to follow a plant-based diet. There are plenty of delicious recipes available online, and you can easily find vegan alternatives to most foods like nut butters and nut milks instead of dairy products, nutritional yeast instead of cheese, and powdered flax seeds instead of eggs.
Flax seeds are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids too!
Here is a list of ingredients that are recommended on a whole food, plant-based diet:
- Fruits and Dry Fruits
- Nuts and Seeds (like pumpkin seeds and chia seeds)
- Dals, Pulses and Legumes
- Whole Grains
- Vegetables, Greens and Mushrooms
- Herbs and Spices
Using these ingredients, you can make nearly anything you like! Delicious foods AND less risk of cardiovascular diseases - that's the beauty of a whole food, plant based diet.
There are tons of recipe to start meal prepping today on the NutritionScience.in Plant-based Kickstart, have you tried them yet?
You can also order meals from Sampoorna Ahara to get started.
What is the easiest way to start a plant-based diet
The easiest way to start a plant-based diet is by adding healthy foods to your diet, like fruits and vegetables.
Eating some extra apples doesn't seem too complex, does it?
The leading dietary risk factors for death are foods that you're not eating enough of - like fruits, whole grains and vegetables. This also happens to be the easiest way to start.
It is difficult to give up unhealthy foods, like dairy products. So choose Plant-based alternatives. We call them transition foods, and they can be a great help when getting started.
You can find recipes for everything from pizza to burgers to pasta dishes on NutritionScience.in. And if you’re rushed for time, simple order a meal subscription from Sampoorna Ahara to make it easy for yourself.
What Cannot be Eaten on a Plant-based Diet
A plant-based diet means low to no animal-based food like meat, dairy, eggs, or fish to prevent chronic disease like high blood pressure and eat healthier.
Choosing plant-based protein rather than animal protein could even reduce risk of dangerous diseases like cancer. And yes, plant foods have complete protein with all the essential amino acids too!
Avoiding animal products doesn’t mean you have to give up cheese or milk. There are lots of delicious vegan cheeses and milks available. You can make your own with nut butters and nutritional yeast at home. There are many meat substitutes available too.
Apart from focusing on plant foods, on a whole-food, plant based diet, you may also want to avoid processed foods.
Processed foods are defined as any food from which something food is removed or something bad is added.
For example, fruits are healthy whole plant foods, but fruit juices are processed foods. Coconut milk is a processed food if the fiber is filtered, and so is unsweetened almond milk - if the fiber is filtered, it is not fiber rich anymore. If it has the fiber intact, then it may be a whole plant food.
Processed foods include oil, sugar, jaggery, white rice, maida, alcohol, tapioca, fruit juices and more.
Instead, focus on eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes. They’re packed with nutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein.
In case you're wondering how to cook tasty recipes, check out this free Plant-based Kickstart course for 200+ whole food, plant based diet recipes
Can I eat eggs on a plant-based diet?
Eggs are a staple food for non-vegetarians and those on a pescetarian diet too.
While eggs are considered a good source of protein, they contain animal protein, which has been associated with a higher risk of chronic diseases, unlike plant proteins.
Animal-based foods like eggs also contain cholesterol, which can cause heart attacks, high blood pressure and cancer.
There are plenty of egg substitutes available that don't contribute to your cholesterol levels.
The FREE Plant-based Kickstart on NutritionScience.in has a fantastic scrambled eggs recipe made with tofu.
You also get liquid 'eggs' made with plant foods that taste just like regular eggs.
You can also try making your own vegan egg replacer by combining flax seeds, ground almonds, and water.
Vegan foods have several environmental benefits associated with avoiding animal agriculture apart from its health benefits.
Can you eat peanut butter on plant-based diet?
Yes, you can eat peanut butter on a whole food, plant-based diet.
Because natural peanut butter is made from whole peanuts, which are whole plant foods, and no healthy components have been removed, it is a healthy food.
Although it contains fat, research has show that it does not contribute to weight gain and may even help you stabilise your blood sugar levels.
Most store-bought peanut butter also has a lot of salt or sugar, which makes it unhealthy and you may lose out on its blood sugar levels stabilising benefits.
When buying peanut butter, choose a single-ingredient natural peanut butter brand like Sampoorna Ahara to ensure it is healthy for you and your family.
Can you eat bread on plant-based diet?
Yes, you can eat bread on a plant-based diet because it is made from plant foods.
However, you should avoid breads made with maida or refined flour, or bread that contains oil, milk, sugar, or starches.
A diet rich in whole grains has multiple health benefits over a diet containing refined grains!
Instead, you could make your own wholegrain bread at home, or order whole food, plant based bread from Sampoorna Ahara.
Can you eat pasta on a plant-based diet?
Yes, you can eat pasta on a plant based diet.
However, you should be careful about the ingredients used for making pasta.
If the ingredients simply say 'wheat', it could be referring to refined wheat. Look for 'whole wheat' or other whole grains and legumes to choose a pasta that could improve your heart health.
How long does it take for a plant-based diet to work
A plant-based diet takes just one meal to work.
After one healthy vegan meal, most people feel fresh and light.
In 30 days, you can see visible changes in your mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, and maybe even your blood tests.
The first week is the hardest because you need to change your eating habits and daily meals. But this is the period of time when you should put in maximum effort. Once it becomes a habit, a whole food plant based diet is here to stay!
For best results, you could go for a customised Plant-based Meal Plan from Sampoorna Ahara that is designed by experts for your health goals.
Is almond milk plant-based?
Almond milk is plant-based because it is not made from animal foods
Almond milk is made from almonds, which are nuts, and water.
Because it is not made from animal foods, almond milk is plant-based. Almond milk can be used to make a range of dairy products, which are all great alternatives for these animal foods.
On a healthy diet, to make the healthiest form of almond milk, simply dissolve almond butter in water and make it instantly at home whenever you want.
Almond butter is made from ground almonds and no other ingredients - especially if you get it from conscious brands like Sampoorna Ahara or make it at home. This makes almond butter a part of a healthy whole foods, plant-based diet.
Did you know, almonds are one of the oldest cultivated tree fruits known to man? And one of the healthiest nuts! A healthy diet rich in almonds is a great way to get your healthy fats.
What foods do you eat on a plant-based diet
You eat unprocessed plant foods on a whole food, plant based diet.
- Vegetables including green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables & even starchy vegetables - eat them as cooked food or raw foods!
- Fresh fruits like citrus fruits, papayas, bananas, berries and more on a daily basis
- Nuts & Seeds are a great part of a diet for weight loss, due to their phytochemical and fiber content
- Dals or Pulses & Legumes are great plant sources of protein and fiber
- Whole Grains are a great addition to your daily diet to make it a balanced diet
- Water & healthy beverages
What are the negatives of a plant-based diet?
A vegan diet has been proven to be healthier for humans, animals, and the environment.
From a health perspective, the only negative of a whole foods, plant based diet may be that you experience the benefits too fast - like blood sugar control, reduced blood pressure and weight loss, so you may find it useful to get started under medical guidance.
A diet rich in healthy foods has tremendous health benefits!
Can you eat eggs on plant-based diet?
No, you cannot eat eggs on a plant-based diet because it is an animal food.
Eggs are a common part of non-vegetarian diets. Many people even think that eggs are healthful foods, but they do not feature on a whole-food, plant-based diet.
However, egg yolks contain cholesterol, which is bad for heart health. The protein from egg whites may increase risk of kidney disease and cancer. Eggs have zero fiber too.
Many people eat eggs for protein. It is advisable to choose plant proteins rather than animal protein because they come with high nutrient density and have been shown to be safer for kidney health and cancer prevention.
How long does it take for your gut to adjust to a plant-based diet?
Your gut needs time to adapt to a new diet, if your previous daily diet was too low in fiber.
Your good gut bacteria love fiber - that's what they eat. When you switch from low fiber to diets rich in fiber, your gut microbiome adapts and the population of good gut bacteria grows, while producing a lot of gas.
Some people may experience gas and bloating during this transition phase.
The good news is, it goes away within 3-4 weeks for most people, once your microbiome settles back.
Do doctors recommend a plant-based diet?
Doctors recommend a plant-based diet all over the world today.
Whole foods plant based diets have been proven to help prevent, treat and even reverse our most common diseases like heart disease, and high blood pressure.
It is a great way for people with diabetes to potentially reverse diabetes.
Whole foods, plant based diet can help reduce cholesterol levels and support weight loss too, while eating larger volumes of food!
This is because whole food plant based diets are low in calorie density (calorie dilute) and nutrient dense, making them perfect for achieving your optimal weight & optimal health.
Is olive oil allowed on a plant-based diet?
Olive oil is a processed food, because it is extracted from olives.
On a whole foods, plant based diet, no types of oil are recommended, including olive oil.
Although it is less harmful than other oils, it may still not be as healthy as whole nuts and seeds.
Plant Based Diet - A Simple Guide To Starting Today
There are many reasons people go plant based. Some people simply want to eat healthier, while others want to save the planet by reducing their carbon footprint.
The truth is, there are many different diets that fall under the category of plant based. This means that you can start eating a whole foods, plant based diet without having to worry about counting calories or worrying about carbs.
This is because these diets focus on whole foods that contain all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.