I’m sharing an overview of a plant-based eating lifestyle. This is intended to clear any confusion about what people including (myself) mean when they say plant-based.
FIRST THING FIRST:
I am not a medical professional so please consult your healthcare provider before changing your eating habits.
Plant-based means food that comes from plants and doesn’t include animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey.
- Fruits: Any type of fruit including apple, bananas, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits, etc.
- Vegetables: Plenty of veggies including peppers, corn, lettuce, spinach, kale, peas, collards, etc.
- Whole grains: Grains, cereals, and other starches in their whole form, such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, whole wheat, oats, barley, etc. Even popcorn is a whole grain.
- Legumes: Beans of any kind, plus lentils, pulses, etc.
There is no single definition of a plant-based diet. If someone has a plant-based diet, they could be……….
Totally Vegan: In the simplest form “plant-based refers to a vegan diet. This includes only plant foods and no animal foods. For example, someone who is vegan might eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, but no eggs, honey, or dairy.
What You Can Eat: On a totally vegan diet you can eat foods made from plants including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Bread, rice, and pasta
- Dairy alternatives such as soymilk, coconut milk, and almond milk
- Vegetable oils
What You Cannot Eat As A Totally Vegan: You cannot eat any foods made from animals including:
- Beef, pork, lamb, and other red meat
- Chicken, duck, and other poultry
- Fish, or other shellfish such as crabs, clams, and mussels
- Cheese, butter
- Milk, ice cream, and other dairy products
Vegetarian: Plant-based can also refer to a vegetarian diet, one that centers around plant food, such as vegetables and whole grains, but also includes small amounts of eggs or dairy.
There are several forms of vegetarianism, each of which differs in its restrictions. The most common types include:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet: Eliminates meats, fish, and poultry but allows eggs and dairy products.
- Lacto vegetarian diet: Eliminates meats, fish, poultry, and eggs but allows dairy products.
- Ovo-Vegetarian diet: Eliminate meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
To replace the protein provided by meat in your diet, include a variety of protein-rich plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, tempeh, tofu, and seitan. Eating nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will supply a range of important vitamins and minerals to fill in any gaps in your diet.
What You Can Eat: On a vegetarian diet you can eat foods made from plants including:
- Apples, bananas, oranges, melons, pears, peaches.
- Leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots.
- Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, rice, oats.
- Legumes, lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas.
- Almonds, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts.
- Flaxseeds, chia, and hemp seeds.
- Coconut oils, olive oil, avocados.
- Tempeh, tofu, seitan, natto, nutritional yeast, spirulina, eggs, dairy products.
What You Cannot Eat Like A Vegetarian: You cannot eat any foods made from animals including:
- Beef, veal, and pork.
- Chicken, and turkey.
- Gelatin, lard, carmine, isinglass, oleic acid, and suet.
- Milk, yogurt, cheese.
- Another Animal Products: Vegans may choose to avoid honey, beeswax, and pollen.
Pescatarian: A pescatarian is a lot like vegetarians. They eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, eggs, dairy, and stay away from meat and poultry. Pescatarians Eat Seafood!!
What You Can Eat: On a pescatarian diet you can eat foods made from plants and seafood including:
- Whole grains and grain products
- Legumes and their products, including beans, lentils, tofu, and hummus.
- Nuts and nut butter, peanuts, and seeds.
- Seeds, including yogurt, milk, and cheese.
- Fish and shellfish
What You Cannot Eat As A Pescatarian: You cannot eat any foods including:
- Wild game
Omnivore: An omnivorous diet includes both plant and animal foods. It means an equal-opportunity eater who consumes both animal and plant-based foods in varying ratios.
What You Can Eat: On an omnivore diet you can eat any and everything!
Pollotarian: Pollo-vegetarian, diet is considered to be a type of semi-vegetarianism, as some forms of animal meat are allowed. Therefore, a pollotarian is someone who will not eat the flesh of any red meat mammals but does include chicken, turkey, and other poultry. They may or may not also exclude fish, seafood, or products like eggs and dairy from their diet. Reasons for exclusion vary from taste preference to ethical issues.
What You Can Eat: On a pollotarian diet you can eat foods made from plants and some meats including:
- Quinoa, oats, millet, farro, etc.
- Apples, grapefruits, bananas, berries, pears, etc.
- broccoli, spinach, squash, potatoes, peppers, etc.
- Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, etc.
- Pumpkin seeds, almond butter, walnuts, etc.
- Chicken, turkey, and duck.
- Tofu, pea protein, seitan.
- Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil.
- Almond milk coconut milk, coconut yogurt.
*Pollotatrians May Also Choose to Include Eggs and Dairy Products*
What You Cannot Eat As A Pollotarian: You cannot eat any foods including:
- Game meat, such as bison, elk, and venison.
Food For Thought:
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics [formerly the American Dietetic Association] “vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence”
Some Reasons For Going Plant Base:
- It keeps your heart healthy: In a 2017 study from the American Heart Association found those who ate a mostly plant-based diet had a 42 percent decreased risk of developing heart failure compared to those who didn’t.
- Lower Your Risk Of Breast Cancer: According to BreastCancer.org, one in eight women will develop it during their lifetime. One thing that can help lower the risk is going vegan. Eating meat has been associated with higher risk.
- It Can Help Keep Body In Check: “Plants are great for maintaining a healthy weight and body mass index.” “Obviously a lot of vegan junk food now exists—which is best eaten sparingly—but when you emphasize eating veggies, fruits, healthy fats, beans, legumes, and other whole food ingredients, you’ll see great results.”
- It Can Improve Your Arthritis: People with osteoarthritis—a type of arthritis—deal with joint pain everywhere from their hands and neck to their back and knees. In a 2015 study published in the Journal Arthritis, those who ate whole foods, plant-based diet experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those on a typical meat-eating diet. And get this: It only took two weeks for me to start feeling results. On top of that, I found another study stating that a vegan diet could also help you decrease your risk of rheumatoid arthritis—a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints and that’s on periodt!
- Increase In Your Energy Levels: If you’re feeling tired and lethargic all the time, switching your diet could help you feel back to normal again. “If you suffer from low energy or energy fluctuations, a plant-based diet may improve this issue.” Meat, dairy, and eggs tend to require more energy to digest than plant-based products, meaning your body has less energy to fuel your body, brain, and your day.
The time to start making the change is now. You’ll be glad you did!