What is a plant-based diet?
Individuals that follow a plant-based diet eat everything except animal products or food containing animal products (i.e., meat, seafood, dairy products, eggs, or honey). That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all your favourite foods because a plant-based version likely exists! Pizza, pasta, pancakes – the list goes on – all available or made with meat substitutes or dairy-free alternatives.
What are the benefits?
Health Well-planned plant-based diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins, and lower in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Making the switch will reduce your risk of developing many life-threatening diseases and promotes overall wellbeing.
Environment Following a plant-based diet is one of the most effective ways to mitigate climate change on an individual level. By not contributing to factory farming and animal agriculture, you will help reduce pollution, land degradation, deforestation, species extinction, water scarcity and global warming.
Ethics Preventing the exploitation of animals remains a key factor for people deciding to follow a plant-based diet. They believe that animals are friends not food and that these living creatures have the right to be free from suffering.
Where do you get your protein?
It is surprisingly easy for those following a plant-based diet to meet the recommended daily intake of protein (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight). Almost all plant foods contain some form of protein with beans, lentils, soy foods, nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables all being great sources.
Who can follow a plant-based diet?
A well-planned plant-based diet is appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including infancy, adolescence, pregnancy, and lactation. Famous athletes like ultramarathon runner Rich Roll and tennis champion Serena Williams prove that even athletes can thrive on a plant-based diet.
It is recommended that you discuss with your health care provider about the healthiest ways to transition to this new diet.
How to transition to a plant-based diet?
Switching to a plant-based diet is far easier than it may seem. Transition at a speed that feels comfortable for you and don’t put pressure on yourself to eliminate all foods immediately.
Focus first on crowding out animal-based foods, rather than cutting them out, as this will help to eliminate temptations. Ensure you also make a point of experimenting with new plant-based foods. Over time, you will find that your diet will become more interesting, diverse, and delicious.