Sunday, May 23, 2021

Switching To Plant-Based Eating Is Not As Hard As You Think

A healthy plant-based diet is not really all that different from a healthy omnivorous diet. If you are thinking about transitioning to a plant-based diet or wanting to incorporate more plant-based food into your nutrition, it's much easier than you may think.

A healthy diet, whether you eat only plants or combine plants with meat, consists of a healthy emphasis on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans and legumes. Even those who call themselves vegetarians or vegans can eat unhealthy by not choosing the best plants to eat. For example, pizza and ice cream (for those who eat dairy) are vegetarian foods, but they are not healthy choices. Structuring your nutrition properly is important, and the basis of that should be around whole natural foods.

The largest difference between an omnivorous diet (one that contains meat) and a plant-based diet is where your protein is coming from. Other than that, 80% of the diet is going to be the same (because that's what everyone should be focusing on). Many people eat meat 2-3 times per day. The best place to start is to limit your meat consumption to 2-3 times per week.

The biggest myth in eating a plant-based diet is that you do not get enough protein since you are not eating meat. There are plenty of ways to get great protein sources from plant-based foods. The one food that has the most protein you will find is tempeh (soy protein). One cup of tempeh has as much as 41 grams of protein, more than you will typically find in a steak. One cup of lentils has as much as 18 grams of protein, kidney beans have as much as 13 grams. Chick peas are another one, which have up to 12 grams in one cup. Nuts are also a great choice. A quarter cup of almonds have up to 8 grams of protein; a quarter cup of sunflower seeds has 6 grams of protein. You may be surprised to learn that even broccoli has protein in it! One cup of cooked broccoli has four grams of protein.

Protein is in almost anything that is a whole natural food. Many people only count animal protein in their protein grams, but you can actually get more protein from a plant-based diet than you can with a meat-based diet. Supplements are also available in powder form where you can add your protein to something like a smoothie. Some great ones to start off trying are brown rice protein and hemp protein.

Challenge yourself to begin this process of switching to a plant-based diet by watching where your food is coming from over the next week. 80% of your diet should come from natural sources (not processed foods). As Michael Pollan made popular in his book, "Food Rules," if it's made in a plant don't eat it, but if it is a plant you should eat it.

Joe & Zuzana are the hosts of the postcast Active Vegetarian. Go here now to listen to an audio with more information on basic nutrition and how to create a plant based eating lifestyle.

To learn more about Active Vegetarian, please visit

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