Updated: Jul 5
This diet involves consuming all of your foods from plants only. Persons have many different reasons for choosing this diet. For some it’s all based on their philosophy, for others, it’s because they believe avoiding animal products is the healthier choice, for some, it’s because of religious beliefs while others just grew up in a household that never prepared meat or animal products. We use the term “plant diets” because it accounts for all of these reasons and doesn’t single out any as more honourable than another.
Plant-based diets really do vary in intensity depending on the individual. Some persons eat less meat and animal products than other people. Some persons don’t eat meat but eat fish and animal products. Others don’t eat any meat and fish but do consume animal products (dairy and eggs). And finally, there are the Vegans who never select foods from the animal kingdom. When an individual is making this lifestyle choice it’s important to not only plan your diet on the foods you’re eliminating (animal products) but also what you’ll be lacking in that absence.
Plant-based shopping list for wholefoods
Fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, pears, apples, watermelon, bananas, etc.
Vegetables: Kale, spinach, bora, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
Starchy vegetables: Plantain, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
Whole grains: Brown rice, whole oats, couscous, quinoa, rye, barley, etc.
Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
Legumes: Peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
Seeds, nuts and nut butter: Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, etc.
Unsweetened plant-based kinds of milk: Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc
Potential Benefits of a plant-based diet
1. May lower blood pressure (Improved cardiovascular health)
2. May keep preventing type-2 diabetes (Improved glycemic control)
3. Can help you to lose weight (Weight management)
4. May help you live longer (if followed long term)
5. May decrease risk of cancer (Protection from certain types of cancer)
6. May decrease cholesterol (Lower total cholesterol and LDL levels)
7. May minimize your risk of a stroke
8. May keep your brain strong (Improved neurocognitive function, prevention and management of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease)
Disadvantages of a plant-based diet (How to combat)
a. Low protein intake (increase daily protein supplement intake to meet demands)
b. Iron deficiency (Legumes, grains, nuts, vegetables)
c. Lower bone mineralization and a higher risk of fractures (nuts, seeds, tofu, fortified non-dairy kinds of milk)
d. Vitamin B12 deficiency (fortified products and nutritional yeasts)
e. Lower essential fatty acid intake (flax, hemp, walnuts, green leafy vegetables)