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Plant-based diets-should we try it?

As I have stated many times before…there are hundreds of approaches to living a healthier lifestyle, you have to pick which one works best for you. In this blog I am focusing on Plant Based Diets.

Just a note…a few things to consider when choosing a healthier diet:

  • Do not try diets just because its popular and you heard someone say it worked for them. DO you your research.
  • Try to find diets that you realistically can do for the rest of your life.
  • Try to find diets that work for both you and your family.
  • Focus on diets that have shown to be a support for whatever health issues you maybe dealing with.
  • Make sure your doctor approves.
  • Lastly, focus on diets that are not too time consuming or at least take no more time than the current eating lifestyle you have.

Plant-based diets include(but not limited to): fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. Most people understand a plant-based diet to mimic that of a vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. You, just conscientiously choose more of your foods from plant sources.

Vegetarian diets

Vegetarian diets, have been shown to support health, including a lower risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and increased longevity.

Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for a healthy lifestyle. They typically are higher in fiber. However, some may need to add a supplement (specifically vitamin B12) to ensure they receive all the nutrients required.

Vegetarian diet options

Vegetarian diets come in lots of shapes and sizes, and you should choose the version that works best for you.

  • Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian includes eggs, dairy foods, and occasionally meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.
  • Pescatarian includes eggs, dairy foods, fish, and seafood, but no meat or poultry.
  • Vegetarian (sometimes referred to as lacto-ovo vegetarian) includes eggs and dairy foods, but no meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
  • Vegan includes no animal foods.

How do I get started?

Here are some ideas….

  1. Eat lots of veggies. Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner. Make sure you include plenty of colors in choosing your vegetables. Enjoy vegetables as a snack with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.
  2. Think differently about meat. Have smaller amounts. Use it as a garnish instead of a main course.
  3. Choose good fats. Fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are particularly healthy choices.
  4. Cook a vegetarian meal at least two nights a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Let your family participate! Maybe let them give you ideas.
  5. Include whole grains for breakfast. Start with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Then add some nuts or seeds along with fresh fruit. You will need to try this combination several times to find what you like is best.
  6. Eat lots of greens. Try a variety of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, spinach, and other greens each day. Steam, grill or stir-fry to preserve their flavor and nutrients. Dont cook until they are wilted….
  7. Eat fruit for dessert. A ripe, juicy piece of fruit will satisfy your craving for a sweet bite after a meal. Low-Med sugar fruits are: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, green apples, kiwi and grapefruits.

Example of a plant-based eating diet

Eating a plant-based diet will eventually become a healthy lifestyle that just becomes apart of your daily routine. It will be a challenge at first, but it will be worth it!

*Note: I add Knorr chicken bouillon to the water when cooking veggies!

Breakfast:

  • Rolled/Steel oats with walnuts, banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Breakfast wrap: Whole-wheat tortilla with scrambled egg, black beans, peppers, onions, Monterey jack cheese, and picante.
  • Breakfast Sandwich: Whole-wheat Thomas English muffin topped with fresh tomato and avocado slices, and blueberries.
  • Basil Mozzarella Panini: tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto sauce, fresh mozzerella.

Lunch:

  • Greek salad: Mixed greens with fresh tomato, Kalamata olives, fresh parsley, crumbled feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Whole-wheat pita on the side, fresh fruit for dessert.
  • Tofu Wraps: tofu, carrots, scallions, soy sauce mixture(garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, green onions).
  • Vegetarian pizza: mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, peppers, and mushroom. Fresh fruit for dessert.
  • Shiitake Mushroom Pasta: wheat falafel, spinach, grape tomatoes, feta cheese, shiitake mushrooms, milk/cream

Dinner:

  • Grilled vegetable kabobs with grilled tofu, and a salad.
  • Southwest salad: romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomato, limes, red onion, light dressing.
  • Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, red onion, grape tomatoes, avocado, limes, red wine vinegar, feta cheese.
  • Bean Burrito: wheat burrito wrap, retried beans, red onion, lettuce, tomato, Monterrey jack cheese.

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