Hello there beautiful people ♥️
I hope you’re all doing well!
As many of you know, I used to host workshops every month or so where I would cover a specific nutrition topic and create recipes related to the discussion at hand.
Every month, I would choose a different topic, normally one I’m asked about regularly, and give a talk on the topic at hand and take questions from those attending. After which we would make and then enjoy, some yummy recipes together.
Many have asked if I intend on starting up again, however given the current situation, hosting workshop is just not in the cards – at least not for now.
Until then, I thought I’d share this blog post in place of a workshop covering the topic of PLANT BASED EATING – a topic I’m asked about all the time!
WHAT IS PLANT BASED EATING?
A plant based diet is one that is made up predominantly OR entirely of plant foods.
Plant foods include fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, legumes, grains (rice, pasta, barley etc.), nuts and seeds.
A plant based diet is not necessarily vegan or even vegetarian. It is simply one that is predominantly made up of the above listed plant foods.
A BALANCED PLANT-BASED PLATE
As can be seen in the illustration of a balanced plant based meal below, the HEALTHY PROTEIN section includes both animal foods and plant foods.
There is no ONE way to eat for health.
A vegan diet can be healthy. It can also be unhealthy. A vegetarian diet can be healthy, a high fat diets can be healthy, a high carb diet can be healthy, a diet that contains animal foods can be healthy, as can be one that omits them completely.
We are all individuals, all with different needs, appetites, cultures, budgets, priorities, likes and dislikes and our food choices will vary accordingly. The TYPE of diet you follow, be it any of the above mentioned diets or any other way of eating, is not the determinant of health.
The content, quality and balance of nutrients is far more important.
The one constant in every healthy diet is BALANCE – this is far easier said than done. Having a visual reference is very helpful, which is why I’ve included a precise representation here.
As can be seen in the above illustration, HALF (50%) of the plant is made up of fruit and veg and a further fourth (25%) is made up of whole grains. In total, 75% is made of plant foods! The remaining 25% is made up of animal protein, plant protein or a mix of both.
WHY SHOULD WE FOLLOW A PLAN RICH DIET?
OVERALL HEALTH – A diet rich in plant foods is beneficial for many reasons. Plant foods are very rich is nutrients that are essential for our survival – these include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats and sufficient protein.
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT – Plant foods tend to be lower in calories, gram for gram, when compared to their animal counterparts. This is certainly not a post about weight loss, however research does indicate that people who follow a heavily plant based diet tend to maintain a lower, healthier weight which in turn reduces the risk for many Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and even certain cancers.
FIBRE – I recently shared a blog post all about the importance of fibre for our gut health, mood and digestion. Plant foods contain a lot of fibre – as opposed to animal foods such as meat and dairy which contain no fiber whatsoever.
Read more about why we need fibre here: Why do we need FIBRE?
REDUCED INFLAMMATION – Inflammation is the root of injury and often disease. The essential nutrients found in plants, such as phytochemicals and antioxidants, go round the body neutralizing toxins and free radicals and also help the immune system.
PLANT BASED RECIPES & EASY WAYS TO ADD PLANT FOODS INTO YOUR DIET
WHOLE GRAINS AND LEGUMES are some of the most nutritious foods that one can add to their diet. Loaded with complex carbohydrates (that release energy slowly into the blood stream), vitamins, mineral and lots of fibre, whole grains and legumes are every day hero’s that are often overlooked!
You can include these super foods in so many different recipes. Add lentils to your soups, beans to your dips and whole grains to salads to include a lot of nutrients into your diet.
Here are some ideas and recipes to choose form:
TOFU is a plant based food that is very high in protein and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Tofu is one of the only plant foods that is considered a complete protein. What this means is that it contains all the essential amino acids. Protein is made up of amino acids; animal foods contain the whole range of amino acids, while most plant foods contain only some of these essential amino acids. What this means is that if you are to consume mainly plant foods as a protein source, it is important to include different sources throughout the day. Alternatively, you could very easily include tofu in your diet which contains all the essential amino acids.
This tofu-chocolate mousse is by far one of the easiest and tastiest ways to include this plant based protein power house into your diet.
1 x 300g Clearspring silken tofu pack (drained)
6-8 pitted dates
100g dark chocolate (melted)
Simply add the above ingredients to a high speed blender, chill for an hour (or more), then serve – so good!
Here’s a savory tofu recipe that is equally easy and delicious Roasted Tofu Rice
If you’d like more tofu information and recipes, check out the video below:
Additional snack ideas that are loaded with important nutrients – whole fruit and ready made 100% fruit packs are an excellent way to add much needed nutrients to our diets. These Clearspring fruit packs are ideal for kids too – my nieces love them! If you do choose to add these fruit packs to your diet, do make sure that they are made of 100% fruits and do not contain any added sugars *like the ones pictured below.
WHICH PLANT FOODS TO OPT FOR
As I’ve mentioned already mentioned, vegan or plant foods aren’t necessarily healthy. They certainly can be, however the fact that the food comes from plants is not the only determinant when it comes to whether or not it is good for human health. For example, chips, crisps, sugar and other high-calorie, low-nutrient foods are plant based.
If you’d like more info about going vegan, here’s some more insight: Is going VEGAN actually healthy?
Including more whole foods (like fruit and veg), whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes is very beneficial to human health. Adding these foods to meals you love is a great way to up your plant food intake.
Please keep in mind that food is not simply nutrients; it’s also about comfort and enjoyment. Finding a way to incorporate these foods in dishes you enjoy and love is the only way you will stick to this way of eating.
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Thank you for taking the time to be here and read this ❤
Until my next post, be well xXx