There has been an increase in plant-based foods on our shelves around the globe. This shift from animal foods appears to have been seen somewhere. But what is a plant-based diet and why is everyone making the shift now?
A plant-based diet is a diet that involves the consumption of foods that come from plants. The basic idea behind it is to eat healthy whole foods instead of processed foods.
Some of the major foods that you can include in your plant-based diet are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and all types of beans. You can also use plant-based meal replacements combined with a calorie controlled diet, and an active lifestyle to achieve your fitness goals. Additionally, you can include vegan protein shakes for weight management and the promotion of good health.
It’s due to the numerous benefits that come with plant-based diets that more people prefer it. These benefits include:
- Health benefits
- Ethical benefits
- Environmental benefits
Why Plant-Based Diets are Trending
Plant-based diets have become popular because of their huge impact on physical health. They help people to feel fitter and support a properly functioning immune system. This diet can be prescribed by nutritionists and physicians to patients.
A plant-based diet is also more ethical when it comes to animal welfare. With challenges such as animal cruelty in industrial farming, a lot of people choose to eat lesser animal food. This is done in protest of the outrageous harm that comes to animals for our food.
The other reason for the popularity in plant-based diets is the fact that they are better for the environment. Remember that both meat and dairy industries cause massive pollution. As a result, they cause a lot of harm to the environment, hence weakening the climate crisis. This has resulted in more people moving away from this kind of eating and onto more plant foods.
Moreover, a plant-based diet prefers whole foods over processed foods. The production process causes environmental damage. These foods can also cause damage to human health when eaten too often and in very large quantities.
A plant-based diet can also be incredibly flavorful with the addition of fresh herbs and spices. There are also other plant-based ingredients that can be added to these foods. Over the years, vegan and vegetarians have become creative in their cooking. That’s because vegan and veggie products simply didn’t exist. Now, however, plant-based eating has some of the most flavoured foods in the market.
With the coming of ready-to-eat vegan products, that incredible flavour is being pushed into pre-made products. You don’t even have to be a master in the kitchen to experience it.
There are a lot of vegan products that can work well in a plant-based diet and taste great. They include cinnamon maple almonds and dark chocolate covered raspberries for sweet snacking.
The innovation in vegan foods has really pushed the limit in terms of how plant-based diets can be experienced.
Different Types of Plant-Based Diets
Plant-based eating habits are not new. That’s considering that there’s evidence of ancient civilizations that follow plant-based diets. So when plant-based eating was introduced, there were already a lot of diets that fell under this umbrella. These diets are discussed below:
- Vegetarian diet. This diet involves avoiding animal products like fish and meat. Vegetarian diets are similar to plant-based diets. That’s because meat and fish take a backseat, although dairy and eggs are allowed. A lot of vegetarian diets are rich in dairy and eggs. These are what enable people to get proteins even without eating meat and fish.
- Vegan diet. This diet is much stricter compared to the vegetarian diet. A vegan diet involves rejecting all animal foods and goes as far as dictating lifestyle choices. In addition, vegans choose not to wear wool. They don’t wear leather or fur either due to the ethical implications of the fabrics, and the fact that they are derived from animals. While vegetarianism is a dietary choice, veganism is a lifestyle choice. The latter bleeds into all aspects of life including makeup, haircare, skincare, and other lifestyle products.
- Plant-based diets and vegan diets are used interchangeably, though there’s a slight difference between them. Whereas veganism is a lifestyle concept that banishes animal products, a plant-based diet is an eating choice. It doesn’t banish all meat products but instead chooses to eat them frequently.
- Flexitarian. This is a much more relaxed diet when it comes to what you can or can’t eat. This diet seeks to reduce the number of animal products that you consume. It doesn’t reject them in totality.
- As a flexitarian, you can choose to eat meat only on weekends. Alternatively, you can choose to eat meat whenever you go out but follow a vegetarian diet for the rest of the time. Some people choose to have “meatless Monday,” for instance, to reduce meat intake. Basically, a flexitarian diet doesn’t have strict rules. You can eat some vegetarian and vegan meals throughout the week to reduce the reliance on animal products.
Benefits of Plant-Based Diet
Adopting a plant-based diet can change a person’s life in a good way. Starting with weight management to disease prevention. Let’s now discuss some of these benefits below.
They Make it Easy to Lose Weight
A plant-based diet is powerful if you want to either lose or maintain weight. Dairy and meat products, for instance, tend to have high calorie value. They’re also low in fibre and this together with the presence of fat can cause weight gain.
Plant-based foods on the other hand, are high in fibre and low in calories, which promote a healthy gut. This means that you’ll end up consuming fewer calories even if you eat a high volume of whole foods.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Plant-based diets help to promote good heart health.
Remember that animal-based foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. These two are known to raise blood cholesterol levels. An increase in cholesterol leads to the build-up of fatty plaques that clog arteries.
This can hinder the proper flow of blood, placing a person under stress. Following a plant-based diet helps to eliminate harmful foods from our life. It helps to lower your blood pressure levels, cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease.
Prevention and Control of Type 2 Diabetes
Medical professionals say that following a plant-based diet helps to lower the rate of developing type 2 diabetes. It also improves the condition of the people suffering from chronic and dangerous cases of diabetes.
This can be attributed to the fact that plant-based foods are low in saturated fats and high in fibre. It's well-known that saturated fat creates insulin resistance. And due to their high fibre content, plant-based foods are able to absorb more nutrients.
The popularity of plant-based foods has continued over the years due to their health benefits. There are also ethical and environmental concerns that are posed by the meat and dairy industry.
A plant-based diet helps to improve your overall health. It helps you to live longer and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that a plant-based diet is the best for your health, which means that the trend will continue into the future.