Plant-Based Eating For Everyone
What’s a Plant-Based Diet Anyway?
Many experts recommend a plant-based diet for optimal health. You can minimize risk of chronic disease and manage your weight by eating mostly whole plant foods. “Mostly” means:
50% fruits and vegetables
25-30% beans, whole grains and nuts
The other 20-25% can include more plant-based foods or some fish, meat, dairy and/or eggs. Just ensure the majority of what you eat is minimally processed and low in saturated fat. Occasional indulgences are fine in an otherwise healthy diet. Occasional = monthly or maybe weekly, not day after day.
With 75% Whole Plant Foods, What’s Left?
Wait – what?! By eating at least 75% plants, there’s not much room left for other stuff! Yeah, that’s kind of the point. No one’s asking totally give up the rich foods you love. Just reign it in and find some healthier versions that don’t sacrifice flavor and satisfaction. My mac and cheese’s creaminess comes from cauliflower. My brownies are fulla beans. There’s a bazillion prepared foods + plant-based, vegetarian and vegan recipe sources that have delicious and healthy options. Get on it!
What If This Can’t Work for Me?
But seriously, do all these plant foods seem like too much to tackle? Many healthy eaters admit it’s a lot. I agree. But it’s far from difficult or blah or “not for you”. The key is to know your current eating habits, make incremental changes and keep track of them. I use the Daily Dozen Checklist, for my healthy eating plan. I love the Daily Dozen because it includes plant-based foods with a variety of phytonutrients to fight disease. The easiest way to benefit is by eating plants in every color daily: white, brown, yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple and black. If you miss any, prioritize them the next day. I love the challenge to get the more unusual colors. I opt for purple onions, cabbage and leafy greens. Beans, rice and quinoa all come in black! Combine these colorful foods with flavors from herbs, garlic, onions, peppers and spices + throw in some plant or animal-based fat for maximum flavor and satisfaction.
How Would I Even Start?
Still sound like too much? Ok, so just start eating more plants when you can. Maybe add an apple or banana to your lunch or have a handful of nuts instead of chips. Then consider tracking how you’re doing against that Daily Dozen Checklist. Regardless of where you stand, don’t judge or criticize yourself. Don’t veggie-bash or view it as a chore. Plant-based foods can fuel you, fight disease and free you up to thrive. Whether it’s an assignment or adventure is up to you!