Approximately 69% of US adults are overweight or obese. While there are many diets out there that advertise weight loss success, due to their restrictive parameters, they are not sustainable and results are not easily maintained. I’ve got a more flexible option for you that is not only good for you but the environment too. Have you heard of the plant-based diet?
What exactly is a plant-based diet? It doesn’t mean being vegan or even vegetarian. It is more of a lifestyle than a diet. A plant-based diet:
- Focuses on eating plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. These foods should make up the majority of what you eat.
- Limits or avoids consuming animal products.
- Consumes minimally processed foods including added sugar, white flour and processed oils.
- Is aware of food quality and often chooses organic products when possible.
Many studies show that plant-based diets can help you lose weight. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why. The high fiber content, along with the exclusion of processed foods is a
combination for successful weight loss. Plants are also lower in calories. The fiber fills you up and makes you feel fuller longer. Eliminating or limiting animal products reduces inflammation in your body and can improve your energy. Studies also show that this way of eating may also help keep weight off in the long-term. As I said, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet.
In addition to weight loss, plant-based diets have been linked to a number of health benefits including reducing your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Consuming more plants and reducing animal products can also lower your cholesterol, blood sugar and reduce dangerous abdominal fat.
Another bonus- it’s good for the environment. A review of 63 studies showed that diets consuming the least amount of animal-based foods provided the largest environmental benefits. Researchers concluded that plant-based diets emphasizing local ingredients are more environmentally friendly than diets that rely on mass-produced animal products and produce. More information on this can be found HERE and HERE.
How to get Started on a Plant-based Diet
There are no specific rules. Do what makes sense to you. Begin by planning a few meatless meals per week. Fill your shopping cart with:
- Fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, pineapple, bananas, etc.
- Vegetables: Kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
- Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
- Whole grains: Brown rice, rolled oats, farro, quinoa, brown rice pasta, barley, etc.
- Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
- Legumes: Peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
- Seeds, nuts and nut butters: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, tahini, etc.
- Unsweetened plant-based milks: Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, etc.
- Spices, herbs and seasonings: Basil, rosemary, turmeric, curry, black pepper, garlic, etc.
- Condiments: Salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, coconut aminos, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
- Plant-based protein: Tofu, tempeh, plant-based protein (like pea or hemp protein) sources and powders with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
- Beverages: Coffee, tea, sparkling water, etc.
Here’s how Jay Z and Beyonce did it!
If you need help getting started, contact me. I am here to help 🙂