September 27, 2018

The Pro’s and Con’s of a Plant Based Diet

Fruits & Vegetables

A plant-based diet is similar to vegetarian and vegan diets in some ways, but first, let’s differentiate the two. A vegetarian diet eliminates all meat and animal products including honey, milk, and eggs. A vegan diet, on the other hand, solely relies on whole foods produced by plants, such as vegetables, fruits, and legumes.

In comparison to a vegan diet, a plant-based diet gives you a higher chance of losing weight. A plant-based diet focuses on whole foods and avoids processed foods. It uses a little oil and adds a few sugars. Vegan diets may exclude animal products but they don’t prohibit calories, sugars, and fats.

Advantages Of A Plant-Based Diet

This type of diet is free of cholesterol and low in saturated fat. It’s abundant in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Research says that following this diet will reduce your risks of certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

A plant-based diet can also lower your risks of digestive disease, obesity, and colon cancer. Since it consumes whole foods, it’s also helpful in reducing your body weight and cholesterol levels.

Veggie Casserole

Disadvantages Of A Plant-Based Diet

Keep in mind that this type of diet eliminates all animal products. This a great challenge for many people who love meat, dairy, and eggs.

Also, if you don’t plan it properly, you’ll end with a lack of nutrition on your body. The lack of protein, vitamins, and minerals may leave your body weak and sickly.

So, if you want to switch to this type of diet, plan properly especially if you’re eating fewer fruits and vegetables at the moment. Switch to the plant-based diet gradually by integrating more greens in your diet until you can sustain for several days without any animal products or processed foods.

What Are The Best Sources Of Protein?

To meet the daily recommended amount of protein in your diet without eating slabs of beef, you can try nuts, peanuts, and almonds. You can also consume seeds, like chia and quinoa.

Other great sources of protein are beans, lentils, split peas, and edamame. Soy products (like tofu, soybeans, soy milk, tempeh, etc.) are also good sources of protein.


How To Get Sufficient Vitamins And Minerals

Since plant-based diet eliminates dairy, you can consume milk from alternative sources, like rice, soy, and almond. These milk alternatives contain calcium and the vitamin D required for absorption. You can also get your daily calcium needs from dark green leafy lettuce and beans.

To get vitamin D, consume mushrooms and fortified cereals or you can take vitamin D supplements if essential and bask in the sun. You may also need sufficient zinc, iron, and vitamin B12 to generate red blood cells and avert anemia. Good sources of zinc and iron are whole grains, beans, and fortified cereals. For vitamin B12, consume soy products and nutritional yeast.

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How To Get Started

Getting started with a plant-based diet is pretty simple- just eliminate animal products gradually. First, substitute milk and dairy with soy, rice, hemp, and almond products. You can try vegan soy or rice yogurt, vegan cheeses, vegan sour cream, and soy coffee creamer.

Next, substitute all animal-based meat with plant proteins. Try consuming legumes, nuts, seeds, beans, and vegan meat products (like tempeh, veggie burgers, and seitan). Don’t forget to include all four food groups at every meal- plant-based protein, fruit, vegetables, and whole grain.

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T.J. LaPanta is a Florida based aspiring comedian and health nut.
When he's not trying to hack his way through a post-graduate degree, he's slaving away in the kitchen, working out, or trying to score a date.

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