We all know that plant-based foods are far healthier than animal products.
A plant-based diet is a diet with a focus on whole and real food. Grains, beans, greens, fruits and vegetables are the main components of a whole food, plant-based diet.
Besides these main components, many people choose to eat small amounts of nuts and seeds. You want to start a plant-based diet, but you’re not sure how to start? Here is all you should know about this diet.
A lot of people who eat meat, do not eat that much of it and probably are not getting a ton of protein from any other food source. You do not need to spend any time worrying about where you will get your protein from. There are many plant foods that have plenty of protein. These are other great sources of protein: beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu, peanut butter, broccoli, and spinach.
Cows (or any other animals) don’t have to suffer in order for people to get calcium. There is plenty of calcium in collard greens, kale, broccoli, beans, sesame tahini and almonds. It can also be found in orange juice, calcium-fortified rice or soy milk, and many brands of tofu.
Spinach is high in iron, so eat it heartily. Other iron-rich foods are lentils, beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, oatmeal, dried fruits, nuts, nutritional yeast, molasses, grains such as quinoa and millet, and sunflower seed. Vitamin C helps increase iron absorption, so for optimal health benefits, eat foods that are rich in nutrients, like dark-green, leafy vegetables.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our brain, heart, skin, and joint health. Luckily, you can get them without all the cholesterol and toxins found in fish. Canola oil, flaxseeds and walnuts, are all good vegan food sources of the omega-3 ALA. It’s also a good idea to buy vegan DHA capsules, which contain omega-3s derived from algae (where the fish get it from).
Vitamin B12 is found in fortified soy, fortified nutritional yeast, some supermarket cereals, and rice milks, as well as in some meat substitutes. As for the vitamin D, the sunshine is one of the best sources of vitamin D. During warmer months, your skin should produce enough of the vitamin D, if your forearms and face are exposed without sunscreen to midday sunlight for 15 – 20 minutes daily.
By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you will improve your health tremendously, especially your cardiovascular health. Carbs provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbs, your body will burn muscle tissue. A diet rich in fiber (as plant-based diet usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. Potassium balances acidity and water in our body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets rich in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Bloating and gas are sometimes the unfortunate side effects of quickly switching to a more plant-based diet. In many cases it is just a matter of suddenly eating more fiber than your body is used to handling. Extra fiber from the plants reaches the large intestine faster than what you normally eat, and that is where the fiber is turning to gas.