There are so many diet trends out there and it seems like even more are popping up every year. Yikes! How to pick which ones are valid can tough. For me, I like the idea of plant based eating, and have found it actually makes eating healthy, filling, and stress-free meals really simple.
Eating should be fun. Not complicated. Not stressful or super expensive. Prioritizing plants when thinking about your meals is essentially all a plant based diet is. Your base of pretty much every meal should be derived from plants, but you are free to eat meat, dairy, and other animal products as you see fit. Focusing on a plant diet can help make your life a little bit simpler in the following ways.
You Get Those Greens: When you start planning or making each meal and your base is veggies, you will be guaranteed to get all those bright, essential colors into your diet. Basing the contents of your plate around 3-4 vegetables or plant based products will usually get more veggies in your diet than basing your meals off of an animal protein source.
Easier Digestion: Meat and cheese and animal products typically require a lot of energy to digest. The fats and structure of these items sometimes take longer to break down and may move slowly through your digestive system. Eating plant based items is usually a little easier on your digestion.
That said, always be sure you have enough healthy fats and oil with your vegetables. Healthy fat sources such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil have potent health benefits and will help the plant products move through your system, making digestion easier.
Also, note that some people may experience certain sensitivities when eating larger quantities of legumes, lentils, or raw vegetables. Eat what is appropriate for your body, and if you have concerns about a food sensitivity you can always consult a dietician, doctor, or holistic nutritionist.
If raw food is making you bloated – first be sure you are drinking enough water and getting enough of those healthy fats in. Try cooking your veggies – steaming, roasting, making soups – or eat some of your meals with a mild carbohydrate, like rice, which can assist in digestion. Cooked vegetables are good, too – remember, this is not a raw only diet, so get creative with preparation, spices, and flavors!
Mindful Eating: First of all, the production of pretty much all food takes some water. Cows, almonds, chickens, soy, corn. Everything needs water. Animal products usually require slightly more – their food needs water, they need water, the production of animal products usually requires a lot of water. So, refraining from some meat products can be a good way to eat consciously.
Buying vegetables and plant based ingredients, especially from local sources, can also cut down on fossil fuels used in transport and delivery. Another win for the environment!
Less Limiting: With plant-based diets, you can still eat bacon (though not recommended). You can still roast a chicken and make chicken soup. You can put parmesan on your pasta. Committing to plant based is really just thinking about your meals and eating habits in a way that prioritizes vegetables and plant based ingredients. Not swearing off cheese forever, or only allowing yourself to eat at certain times, or anything dramatic – just eat more plants!
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