What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
A plant based diet is just what it sounds like. Plant based diets try to maximize the amounts of fruits, vegetables, tubers, legumes, and whole grains that you eat while minimizing things like meat and dairy. This type of diet is going to be very high in fiber so drinking plenty of water is a necessity.
For those that are having trouble losing weight, that have high cholesterol, or that are experiencing other health problems, plant based diets are a great way to regulate your body.
Plant based diets work to minimize things like refined or over processed foods as well as sugars, bleached flour, and oils. Many experts think that plant based diets, or vegan diets, are great for those that want to improve overall health while still eating tasty foods. Now to have a fully plant based diet, you would be considered a vegan.
This means that you do not eat any meat, including fish, no eggs, no dairy, and no animal by-products of any kind. This type of diet is great for those that have diseases like lupus and other autoimmune diseases because it is free of processed foods and is also free of the antibiotics and bacteria that are so common with meats.
The Role of Macro-nutrients in the Functioning of the Body
When it comes to nutrition, it can be difficult to know what foods, what volume, and what variety we need to get the most out of our bodies. There are so many different elements that we need to be healthy and many that do very little for our bodies. Macro-nutrients are something that many people know very little about but that are actually an integral part of our everyday body function.
What is a macro-nutrient?
Macro-nutrients are nutrients that are required in large quantities to maintain body functions and to help provide our bodies with the energy we need to complete everyday functions and to basically exist. There are three macro-nutrients that we need to keep going and they can be found in virtually all the foods that we eat but in much higher concentrations in things like plant-based foods. The three macro-nutrients we need are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
What does Macro-nutrients Do?
Macro-nutrients first and foremost gives us energy. Carbohydrates and proteins give us 17KJ/g for use in body functions. The energy we get from our foods if measured in Joules or units of energy. Fats, on the other hand, give us 37KJ/g when we eat them, or 1000 joules. A great example to see what a joule can do is to look at how many joules it takes to raise the temperature of water. It takes 4.2 joules to raise the temperature of 1g of water by one degree.
Though fats give us more joules per gram consumed, they are also high in sugar and it takes much more energy to use up the joules that we gain from eating them. A good balance suggests that we need to eat the carbohydrates from plants like fruits and veggies, next we need to eat the second most fats and very little protein.
What Macro-nutrient is the Most Important?
A great way to look at how much we should take in each day is to look at which macronutrient is considered the most important. Dietitians agree that we need the most carbohydrates and that they should supply about 45-65% of our daily energy needs. Carbohydrates break down in the body to create complex sugars that are used in body functions as simple as being able to digest foods and as complex as cell regeneration and synthesis.
Dietitians agree that we need the most carbohydrates and that they should supply about 45-65% of our daily energy needs.
Why Do We Need Protein and Fats?
We need protein in our diets because protein serves as the building block for all other proteins. This means if you want to build muscle, repair tissues, make essential hormones and enzymes, and even have more lasting energy, protein is going to do the job.
We need fats to help with the absorption of certain vitamins like A, D, E and K as well as to provide the body with omega 3 fatty acids that our bodies do not naturally make. Fats are also necessary for keeping our digestive tracts in balance and for helping our skin, hair and nails to be healthy.
How Does a Plant Based Diet Reduce the Effects of Chronic Disease?
Chronic disease is something that unfortunately too many people have to deal with on a daily basis. As such, it is necessary to find other options for treatment that are not pills and medications. Plant based diets have the ability to help reduce the effects of many chronic diseases in a few simple ways.
Plant based diets first and foremost are far easier to digest than meat based diets and those that are full of processed foods. Plant based diets have been found to help prevent heart disease, cancer, and even to help treat type-2 diabetes and help those that suffer from it to lose the weight necessary to naturally control blood sugar. One such disease that plant based diets can help with is Lupus.
Lupus is a grouped autoimmune disease category in which the cells and the body systems of the affected person attack themselves. This leads to chronic pain, being sick, fatigue, stomach upset and more. Lupus is debilitating and can kill those affected easily. Plant based diets have been found to help reduce the signs and symptoms of lupus and to help reduce the flare ups and the overall effects of lupus.
This chronic disease can cause liver failure, kidney failure and can quickly debilitate those that have it to the point that they cannot work, cannot go out, and cannot live a happy and healthy life. Chemo is often used to treat lupus but a plant based diet can help to reduce the issues associated with lupus. Another disease that a plant based diet may help remedy is Crohn’s disease, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and more.
Our bodies are designed to process foods but what we may not realize is that mass amounts of difficult to digest protein, fiber in bulk, and over processed foods can cause a bevy of issues in your gut. Crohn’s disease and similar bowel diseases cause frequent and painful bowel movements, diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, and more making it difficult to go about daily life.
Plant based diets are easier for the body to digest and they are free of the chemicals that are used to process foods like prepackaged meals, chips, and other junk foods. Eating foods that are natural, organic, and that are minimally prepared can help those that suffer from bowel issues to have less frequent, healthier bowel movements that are not painful.
Plant based diets have also been linked to lesser heart disease, cancer, and stroke and can help to improve your overall health and to get rid of excess weight that is hanging around making your life difficult. Though a plant based diet may seem difficult to follow, you can cook veggies in just about anyway and make them mimic meat.
Plant based diets can help remedy a large range of different chronic diseases and can make living with the just a bit more tolerable. With the right plant based diet, you can start feeling better than every before and kiss your symptoms goodbye forever.
7 Benefits Of A Plant Based Diet
Plant based diets are a great way to get healthy and knowing what benefits they hold can make a huge difference in your choosing to go plant based and meat free.
1. Weight management
The first and most obvious benefit is that plant based diets are low in meat, low in dairy, and low in fat which means they can help to reduce your weight. They can help manage weight for those that have weight based diseases like type-2 diabetes and can help those that simply want to lose weight do it safely, effectively, and quickly.
Plant based diets make you fuller faster which means you eat less overall leading to healthy weight loss.
2. Diabetes Prevention
Those that eat a plant based diet are less likely to get diabetes and can also help to manage existing diabetes. Plant based diets are naturally low in sugar and fats which means you are going to be healthier and that you can improve your insulin sensitivity as well. Plant based diets also lead to a healthy weight which means less issue and less likelihood of getting weight related diseases.
3. Healthy Blood Pressure
Suffering from high blood pressure? Plant based diets have been proven to help reduce blood pressure not only by reducing weight but also by helping to clear the blood. Grains and legumes have been linked to healthy blood pressure. Eating less meat leads to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure as well since your body does not have to work as hard to process and pass the protein.
Plant based diets can help you in a wide range of ways you just have to be willing to take the time to discover how they can help you to lose the weight and get your blood pressure down as well.
4. Heart Disease Prevention
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the world and as such, we need to be paying attention. Plant based diets have been linked to lower chances of getting heart disease as you are eating less, or perhaps none at all, reined carbohydrates that are linked to rapid spikes in blood sugar. Plant based diets also push for little meat or none at all. Red meat has been linked to heart disease for years due to
Red meat has been linked to heart disease for years due to high-fat content and a diet with low red meat intake means a lower risk of heart disease.
5. Lower Risk of Cancer
Cancer is also a huge cause of death across the world and a plant based diet may help to reduce your risk of cancer. Dark leafy greens can help to reduce your risk of cancer as can less red meat and less processed meats. Large intake of cold cuts like lunch meat have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and eating less could mean your cancer risk is going down. Also, less red meat means a lower chance of colon cancer and more regular bowels.
6. High Intake of Vitamins
Do you feel that you are lacking in any one vitamin? Plant based diets are naturally higher in all the fantastic vitamins that we need to be healthy. Large amounts of fruits and veggies can lead to more vitamin A, C, and E as well as minerals that we need like magnesium and potassium.
These nutrient rich foods can help prevent disease and can help you to feel better each and every day. For those that eat a ton of processed foods, odds are you are lacking in something that is necessary and a plant based diet may be just what you need to replace those lost nutrients.
7. Cost Efficiency
For those that are suffering from chronic illnesses must pay for medication, time off work, health care and more. If you are looking to get rid of diseases that you suffer from, a plant based diet may be just what you need. These diets are high in vitamins and health benefits which means that you could help to manage your diseases naturally rather than having to shell out thousands a year to pay for medications.
Also, veggies and fruits are generally much cheaper than meats so you save money there as well.
Top 10 Plant-based Foods You Should Add to your Grocery List
There are tons of great foods that are plant based that you should be adding to your list. Here are 10 that are especially wonderful.
These are full of great fats that are healthy rather than saturated. When ripe they can help to reduce inflammation, can help to keep your digestive tract in balance, and can even help to prevent sugar cravings. They can also be added to just about any dish.
Apples are high in fiber and high in natural sugars so they may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth. Their high fiber content can help keep you regular and they are also great for cleaning your teeth.
These are fantastic for those that want to help fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth. They are also packed with vitamin A and C and are perfect for those that are looking for a good source of B6 as well as manganese and antioxidants.
This superfood packs a nutrient punch with tons of vitamin C, calcium, protein, magnesium and so much more. This food also gives you tons of healthy fiber and can help to keep your appetite in check. This food can keep you full, can help keep you regular, and is great for those that need a veggie that can be added to any dish.
Rice is something that can help lower cholesterol, is a great substitute for meats, and can be a main dish. It has fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B and is very filling. It is also great for those that want to lower their weight and reduce cravings for processed foods.
Lettuce is a great way to start adding greens to your diet. It is easy to find, easy to eat, and has tons of great nutrients. With vitamins A, C, and omega 3 fatty acids, romaine lettuce is one of the best lettuces that you can choose. It is also mild in flavor so if you are not a fan of lettuce flavor, this might be the right choice for you.
Almond butter is a great substitute for peanut butter and other butters that are high in oils and fats. Almond butter has magnesium, protein, fiber, zinc, vitamin B and so much more. There are also tons of almond butter that you can choose from at the grocery so it is easier to get than ever before.
These are often forgotten about but they are full of vitamin C and are great for those that are looking for a source of protein in their plant based diet.
Not only are they great for your eyes, but they can be cooked sweet or savory depending on what you are craving. These also have magnesium, potassium, vitamin A and C as well as antioxidants to help your immune system flourish.
Coconuts are a great way to get the nutrients you need. They offer fiber, essential fatty acids, the oil is great for your skin, and so much more.
Is Honey A Plant Based?
It is helpful to first define what a plant based diet it. Vegan is eating only foods that do not come from animals or animal byproducts in any way. Vegans are strictly plant based dieters. Vegetarians can still eat animal by products like milk if they choose but they are mostly plant based dieters.
When it comes to certain foods there is a very thin line in the animal based and plant based spectrum. As far as plant based and animal based goes, if you are following a strictly vegan diet, honey is not plant based. Honey is produced when bees collect and store the pollen from plants like clover, flowers, and other plants. Bees are essential for the pollination of all plants and without them the plants that we know would not exist. Since honey does come from bees, it is not technically a vegan food and may not prescribe to the plant based diet.
Bees are essential for the pollination of all plants and without them, the plants that we know would not exist. Since honey does come from bees, it is not technically a vegan food and may not prescribe to the plant based diet.
For those that are following a vegetarian diet, honey is a perfectly acceptable food to eat. If you are looking to add honey to your plant based diet, you are still going to want to curb how much you eat as it does have a rather high sugar content. Honey is something, that when locally sourced, may be a great way to fight local allergies as well. Studies have found that since honey in local areas is made with the pollen from plants that are in the region, it may help those that eat it to fight off seasonal allergies.
Looking at honey technically, it does not meet the requirements to be a vegan food but it does meet the requirements for a vegetarian food since the honey is safely harvested and the bees are not harmed. It all depends on how strictly you are following the plant based diet. For those that are trying to shy completely away from animal based foods and do not want to eat any, honey is not going to work for you but if you are just lowering the amount of animal based products you eat you may still be able to have honey.
For those that are trying to shy completely away from animal based foods and do not want to eat any, honey is not going to work for you but if you are just lowering a number of animal-based products you eat you may still be able to have honey.
Since honey is technically not plant based, it may be necessary to find some substitutions for it. You can always eat fruits to get your sweet fix as they are high in natural sugars and may mimic the taste of your favorite sweet treats. You can also try using raw sugar that has not been refined as it is plant based and good for you. You want to make sure the sugar you are using is unbleached and minimally processed to get the most good from it. If you love honey and simply cannot give it up, try finding a local seller that has honey bees on their property that they harvest honey from. You can find tons of smaller farmers that have fantastic products and that are also much healthier for you and less processed than the honey that you get from the little bear in the grocery store.
If you love honey and simply cannot give it up, try finding a local seller that has honey bees on their property that they harvest honey from. You can find tons of smaller farmers that have fantastic products and that are also much healthier for you and less processed than the honey that you get from the little bear in the grocery store.
You want to make sure the sugar you are using is unbleached and minimally processed to get the most good from it. If you love honey and simply cannot give it up, try finding a local seller that has honey bees on their property that they harvest honey from. You can find tons of smaller farmers that have fantastic products and that are also much healthier for you and less processed than the honey that you get from the little bear in the grocery store.