So you’re interested in eating only plants, eh? Well, you’ve come to the right place to learn all about it. We’ve helped many of our clients embark on a plant-based diet and there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go vegan or vegetarian. Is a Plant-Based Diet right for you? Maybe!
Here’s what we’ll cover in our guide to removing animal products from your diet: Alright, let’s get ready to do this thing.
What is a Plant Based Diet?
There are quite a few different versions of a Plant-Based Diet. It’ll be good to start with some definitions so we land on the same page. According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is someone who “does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal.”
So No eating
Meat Poultry Fish Shellfish Insects
Vegetarians Do eat
Grains Legumes Nuts Seeds Vegetables (duh) Fruits Fungi Plants, more or less. “Vegetarian” can be a broader term for more specific examples of plant-based eating.
Some examples would be: Lacto-ovo-vegetarians is someone who doesn’t eat animal flesh but does eat dairy and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian. Lacto vegetarians don’t eat eggs but do eat dairy. Ovo vegetarians avoid all animals products, except eggs.
Vegans avoid all animal products, including dairy and eggs and even things like honey. If it came from an animal, it’s not a part of a vegan diet. Some even take it one step further and eat only a “raw vegan” diet, where the plants consumed are not cooked before consumption.
The above are the most common forms of Plant-Based Diets, but there are others. A pescatarian is someone who consumes no animal products except fish and shellfish. A flexitarian is someone who follows a vegetarian diet a majority of the time, but who will occasionally eat meat. Now granted, neither pescatarians nor flexitarians are technically vegetarians because both contain animal products on the menu.
However, they are mostly plant-based, so worth mentioning. There are many more considerations and labels, which can tackle a lot of the ethical stances around being vegan: not wearing animal products, the treatment of animals, etc. To be blunt, this is outside the scope of this guide. I’m interested in “If you are going to avoid eating meat, and eat only plants, how do you do it?” So we’ll politely ignore clothing, testing, and captivity for this article.
What Do You Eat On A Plant-based Diet?
What you can or cannot eat on a Plant-Based Diet depends a lot on what kind of vegetarianism you follow. Eggs and dairy, for example, may or may not be included. It really comes down to what path you are choosing. There are some general food groups we can consider as universal no matter what form of vegetarianism you follow.
A Plant-Based Diet will include the following foods
Whole grains. Rice, oats, barley, and buckwheat would all be examples of whole grains. Most vegetarian diets include a sizable amount of whole grains as their base. Vegetables. Of course, a vegetarian diet is going to include vegetables! And it should because vegetables are great for you! They’re packed full of nutrients, fiber, and generally low in calories. Most people could stand to eat more veggies. If you find yourself not being able to stomach greens, I got you. Legumes. Beans, lentils, and soy make up the legume family.
If you’re following a plant-based or vegan diet, legumes would be a great way to get protein (more on this to follow). Fruit. Bananas, apples, and oranges all come from plants, so all are vegetarian-friendly. While high in fructose (sugar), they are also nutrient dense. Our general stance on fruit around these parts is to eat “in moderation.” Nuts and seeds.
Again, they come from plants, so almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are good to go on any vegetarian plan you pick. So is quinoa, which although is often thought of as a grain, is actually a seed. Mind=blown. Nuts and seeds, although high in fat and calories, are another great way to get protein on a Plant-Based Diet. No matter what type of vegetarian diet you pick, you’d be free to eat the above (provided they fit into your current nutrition goals – but I’ll get to that shortly).
The below will depend on what kind of vegetarianism you are trying. We may be stepping into controversial waters with the following:
Eggs. Eggs are a great source of vitamin B12 and protein, which will become important in a section further down.
Dairy. Whether or not you consume dairy will be determined by your specific strain of plant-based nutrition. On the one hand, it’s from an animal. On the other hand, dairy can be full of nutrients that might be harder to source from only plants, like omega-3s and calcium.
Fish. Look, I get it. Fish are animals, so technically not allowed on a vegetarian diet. However, if you eat a mostly-Plant-Based Diet that includes a little fish, it wouldn’t be too different from a Mediterranean Diet. There are a lot worse ways to eat than like the Mediterraneans. And as mentioned earlier, depending on who you talk to, being pescatarian could be a form of a Plant-Based Diet.
That’s a lot of the major food groups when it comes to plant-based eating. So here’s all you need to remember: Whatever form of vegetarianism you may pick, stick to REAL food whenever possible. Pinto beans, asparagus, apples, and quinoa would all be examples of real food. These are nutrient-dense foods that will keep you full and energized throughout your day. Deep fried cheese balls, donuts, and candy bars are examples of “plant-based, but not real” food.
And I’ll give out a warning on processed vegan junk food in a moment. For now, there may be a question you are thinking. It’s one of the most common ones we get when it comes to eating a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Will A Plant-based Diet Help Me Lose Weight?
There are plenty of examples of people losing weight on a Plant-Based Diet. However, there are also stories of the opposite where people gained body fat when going vegan. However, anecdotal evidence isn’t science. What does the research say? If you look at studies on the subject, there’s nothing here that will surprise us: plant-based calories count just as much as animal-based calories. There are some studies which show the success of veganism compared to omnivore diets for weight loss. Then there are others showing that a diet including meat outperforms vegan diets for trimming body fat.
Depending on who you’re trying to impress, you can find six studies that say vegans will lose more weight than meat eaters, or half a dozen studies that show vegans will lose less weight. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this post on a 60 Day Diet and Workout Plan?
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Alternatively, this Odd Water Hack Diet may be the one you are looking for if all others have or some reason failed to get you results, for all age groups and genders.
If you are just looking for exercise then this Yoga Booty Challenge is a great way to go!
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