So, you’re interested in eating a plant-based diet? Or maybe you already do. Nonetheless, there's definitely a right way and a wrong way to embark on eliminating animal products from your diet. Fellow and future vegetarians or vegans - read closely to learn how to safely eat a plant-based diet.
What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
Well, this depends what kind of plant eater you are. A vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat foods that consist of or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of any part of the body of a living or dead animal. Then there's lacto-ovo-vegetarians who don’t eat animal flesh but do eat dairy and eggs, and just lacto vegetarians who don’t eat eggs but do eat dairy. Ovo vegetarians avoid all animal products with the exception of eggs, and vegans avoid ALL animal products including dairy, eggs, and honey. Some even take it one step further and eat only a raw vegan diet, where the plants consumed are not even cooked prior to eating. You can also consume mostly a plant-based diet with being a pescatarian, someone who doesn't eat animal products except fish and shellfish or a flexitarian, someone who follows a vegetarian diet majority of the time but will occasionally eat meat. Bottom line of all of the above: plants are the majority of your diet.
What Do You Eat On A Plant-Based Diet?
What you eat depends on what kind of vegetarian you are above. Whatever form of vegetarianism you may pick though, be sure to stick to REAL food whenever possible. Therefore fast-food and anything processed should be avoided. Traditionally you shouldn't eat anything containing meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or insects either. See below for the general food groups you should stick to.
- Grains (rice, pastas, oats, barley, buckwheat)
- Legumes (beans, lentils, soy)
- Nuts & Seeds (almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, quinoa)
- Vegetables (mushrooms, asparagus, spinach)
- Fruits (bananas, apples, oranges)
How To Safely Eat A Plant-Based Diet
Many people worry about going vegetarian or vegan because they feel they won't be giving their bodies enough protein or calories. If you follow these diets safely though, you'll be getting MORE than enough. What it comes down to again is eating REAL food. Don't assume you'll automatically lose weight either, because many vegetarian and vegan options are loaded with calories. For example, did you know that Oreos are vegan? Same with french fries? Thus you still have to eat properly on these diets, even with food restrictions. As far as protein goes, you simply won't be getting all nine necessary amino acids in one meal, as you would with a piece of meat. However if you eat some kind of unprocessed starch (rice, corn, potatoes, beans) combined with some fruits and vegetables each day, you’ll have your proteins covered. Therefore it is still possible to build muscle on a plant-based diet, lose fat or weight, and reach any of your fitness or health goals. If you find yourself struggling though, there's plenty of protein and vitamin supplements out there that may be worth looking into.
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