Plant Based Diet - What? How? Why?
Importance of Incorporating Plants into our Diets
With growing interest and popularity surrounding plant-based diets, it is vital to be informed and educated in order to best fuel our bodies, receive all the required vitamins and remain satiated from our food. In this blog, we will touch on some topics surrounding plant-based diets, the various food options and alternatives, and the importance of intuitive, balanced eating.
I personally follow a varied diet, aiming for moderation by incorporating animal products, in addition to a large volume of vegetables and fruits, which are a part of 2/3 of my daily meals.
Most of the general population should be eating more plant-based foods - fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains and everything grown, should be eaten regularly and ideally with each meal! Plants add colour and importantly flavour to your meals, whilst providing an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, and numerous natural chemicals that are essential for maintaining health.
Food Alternatives & Products
If you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet – one of the main challenges is getting enough protein. Adding a plant-based protein to a meal or two is an easy fix for this – we have several options depending on how you plan to add it to your day. Simply adding a scoop to your smoothie or morning bowl of cereal, to yoghurt, soup, or sauces – is an easy fix.
We also love Tempeh – a fermented soy product high in protein that is less processed than tofu. It contains probiotics as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Easy to use in stir-fries or curries – we find it extremely versatile and full of flavour. Slice it thin, marinate it and bake it until crunchy, so delicious and nutritious!
Nutritional yeast is another amazing addition to a plant-based diet. This extremely popular vegan cheese alternative, is an inactive yeast which provides good amounts of
Vitamin B12 and Zinc. Vitamin B12 is only present in animal protein and is essential for the production of energy and the nervous system. Zinc is required for the immune system and helps promote gastric acid for digestion. Keep a container of Nooch (Nutritional Yeast) on the table to sprinkle on your veggies and pasta or use it to make macaroni and cheese!
Some great natural sources of healthy fats, protein and vitamins can be found in plant-based sources. Add avocado on sprouted bread; or a nut butter added to your bowl of oats and berries. Smoothies are a one cup wonder with a multitude of plants that can be thrown in – frozen fruit, greens, flaxseeds, and coconut oil plus a scoop of plant-based protein powder all make for a nutritious start to the day.
Dinnertime is the perfect time to incorporate more vegetables; try rice with tofu and stir-fried vegetables or a simple slow cooked meal with added beans, legumes and spinach which go perfectly together. Set yourself a goal of adding more plants – or an extra plant to each meal and see how easy it is. Try substituting your usual animal protein for a tin of beans, jackfruit, or tempeh! An easy swap for many of your more traditional recipes.
Thanks for reading,
Tracey Wilson ND