Intro to Plant-Based Eating
What is Plant-Based eating?
Plant-based is eating is consuming most or all of your foods from plant-based sources. All animal products are excluded or eaten very minimally.
How is it different from being vegan?
When someone is vegan, he/she excludes all animal products from their diet and everyday way of life. So, in addition to not eating animal products, they will not wear wool, leather shoes, bags, or engage in any product or service that has caused harm to an animal in any way. Most often a person’s reason for going vegan is for animal welfare.
Plant-based on the other hand, is usually centered around health. Making the decision to go plant-based is usually based on wanting to reverse a health condition or optimize health in any way. Someone who is plant-based can still technically eat some animal products and may still utilize products that are not cruelty free.
Being vegan does not automatically equate to being healthy. Just omitting animal products is not enough if you are replacing those products with alternative meats, cheeses, and other vegan junk foods.
Plant-based focuses on whole, minimally processed foods from the earth, and is the best way to ensure you are on your way to optimal health.
Eating a Plant-Based Diet
Below is a list to use as a guide when you are making the transition to plant-based eating.
Exclude or eat minimally:
Other meats of any kind
Refined white grains
Unsweetened non-dairy milks
There are a ton of dairy and meat alternatives out there. I am not against these by any means, as I eat them sometimes myself. These items should just be eating occasionally.
Below you can download a more detailed table about what foods to include and exclude.
Have a question about a food item? Post it in the group!
Eating plant-based is really a new world! I have put some tips together that should help to clear up some of the mystery of where to start.
Start with Simple Swaps. What are some recipes you are used to making that would be easy to make plant-based? Is it that chicken soup where you can just omit the chicken and start using water or veggie broth? Or maybe it is adding veggies to pasta sauce instead of meat? Starting with meals that you are already used to making keeps you confident and less worrisome in the kitchen.
Purchase a go-to plant-based cookbook. Yes, a print one. Relying on surfing the net for all your meals and recipes can be super daunting. There are so many cookbooks out there it could make your head spin. My all-time favorite is plant-powered families by Dreena Burton because it is filled with simple recipes that my kids are more likely to enjoy as well.
Focus on making the easiest meals plant-based first. I find that meals you do not typically eat as a family are the easiest because you only have to worry about yourself. Generally, these are breakfast and lunch. For most people, dinner takes a bit more planning and can be even more complex if you have picky kids (or a picky husband!).
Include vegetables with at least 2 meals per day. Eating more vegetables is the best gift you can give your body. Vegetables are high in fiber, low in calories, and loaded in antioxidants. Leafy greens especially should be eaten every day. Eat vegetables raw, cooked, thrown in a smoothie, or wherever it makes sense!
Get familiar with legumes. Legumes are beans, peas, or lentils. Legumes can easily be added to salads, soups, stir-frys, sauces, the list really goes on. We will learn more about cooking legumes in Week 5!
Stay connected with a support community. When it comes to plant-based eating, we are the minority. There is increasing interest in the plant-based diet, but you will likely still receive some judgment and criticism from people you know. Don’t let that discourage you! There is plenty of support for making this transition and having it stick. You can join the Embracing Plant-Based group HERE if you haven’t already.