Veganism has gathered a lot of momentum in recent years, so much so that it is slated to be 2018’s biggest food trend. This is hardly surprising with all the information on the benefits of a plant based diet as well as the horrors animals have to go through in order to land on our plates. If you have been thinking of making the switch to veganism or at least incorporating plants into your diet then you might benefit from a few tips we have rounded up on transitioning to a plant based diet.
People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer. – Andrew Smith
When all you have ever known is meat and meat products it might seem a little daunting to switch to a plant based diet. But there is really nothing to it except a little knowledge, so let’s get into the what why and how of a plant-based diet.
So what the heck is a plant based diet? It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat and meat products (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.
According to Dr Axe Top 3 Benefits include
Lowering your risk of chronic diseases – Many populations living around the world that still eat “traditional diets” high in plant foods tend to suffer from far less chronic diseases overall than those eating modern Western diets do. In the world’s “ Blue Zones ” — where the highest percentage of people living over the age of 100 can be found — plant-based diets help to reduce the rates of heart disease, cancer, dementia, diabetes, osteoporosis and more. Other research has shown that plant-based diets can significantly help lower body mass index and high obesity rates, high blood pressure, high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, diabetes risk and more.
High in Fiber – Vegetables, seeds, grains and legumes are high-fiber foods that are capable of lowering your risk for constipation, digestive problems, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes. A high fiber diet helps to prevent cravings and overeating, keeps your arteries clear from plaque, and allows healthy probiotic bacteria to thrive in your GI tract. Soluble fiber slows down digestion and makes you full by attracting water and forming a gel-like substance, while insoluble fiber tends to speed up digestion by adding bulk to stool”.
High in anti inflammatory foods – Inflammation is now being tied to nearly every chronic disease there is, from leaky gut syndrome and arthritis, to cancer and heart disease. Anti-inflammatory foods help stop the progression of disease by supplying nutrients that fight oxidative stress (also called free radical damage) including:Antioxidants and phytonutrients (such as flavanoids, resveratrol , quercetin, beta carotene, and more), Essential vitamins such as vitamin C, E and A, Trace minerals, Electrolytes and Essential fatty acids. Studies show that diets high in anti-inflammatory foods promote longevity, regulate the immune system, and impact the way inflammation affects our bodies and our lives. Plant foods can help foster better gut health, boost immune functioning and reduce autoimmune reactions that can cause a cascade of age-related diseases”
Below is a little advice on how to With a little effort you will be able to navigate through the beans and tofu terrain in no time.
Baby Steps – Instead of going cold turkey and trying to avoid meat and meat products wean yourself slowly. Incorporate a #MeatlessMonday in to your eating plan. Going meat free once a week let’s you get a feel for the vegan lifestyle without depriving yourself of meat. So start small and build up from there until you can go a whole week without eating meat.
Substitute animal based protein with plant based protein. Try: tempeh, edamame beans, tofu, and seitan (wheat gluten), fiber, and healthy protein to your meal. These will replace the protein you were getting from meat and animal based products, they are low in fat and high in fiber. And ways to incorporate them into your meals are endless.
Love Legumes – High in fiber, carbs, and protein, legumes are generally feel-good foods for satiety, balancing blood sugar, maintaining weight and energy. Give lentils a go in soups, salads and stews. Make hummus to dip veggies in.
Get with healthy fats – Include a handful of seeds and nuts on a daily basis, try hemp and flax seeds; walnuts, almonds, and cashews, nut butters, and avocados.
Google Vegetarian Recipes – Meal ideas is another big reason why people are reluctant to switch to a plant based diet. People often think this limits their choices and will become tedious and uninspiring fast. The internet is home to 1000+ plant based recipes to last you a life time. Make use of spices, sauces and herbs to keep everything interested and tasty.
Sign Up For A Vegan Food Delivery Service – Try healthy food delivery services like Real Food Zim or Farmers Market Zimbabwe. They deliver 3 meals a week with recipes cards inside. With a healthy food service you know you will be getting ingredients which are fresh, local and organic. Bonus: everything is done for you except the cooking. This takes the stress out of trying to come up with a meal idea.