The media is abuzz with plant-based diets and how they have the potential to improve your health and wellbeing when followed correctly.
The reasons for following this diet can vary from person to person – some are trying to reduce their impact on the environment while others are following it to lose weight and boost their energy levels.
What Does A Plant-Based Diet Entail?
The name says it all when you think about it. A plant-based diet consists of eating primarily vegetables, fruits, whole grains and plants rich in protein and fibre. For some people, they still include a small portion of meat in their diets. The key to following this diet successfully is to create it based on your nutritional needs as well as your lifestyle.
When you start this diet, it’s important to slowly ease into it to give you as well as your body time to adjust. A sudden change in diet can result in intestinal discomfort and some cases, your body will almost go into a withdrawal-like state to adapt to the change. The idea is to enhance your life, not make it more difficult and more uncomfortable.
The topic of calorie counting will of course come up when looking to lose weight, but as most of the fruits and vegetables you will be eating are less calorie dense, this is no longer needed.
It’s always advised that you speak to your doctor or sports coach before trying a new diet as they’ll be able to give you tips on navigating this change successfully.
What Does The Research Say?
A study that spanned over almost 30 years found that the participants that followed a plant-based diet were less likely to put on weight than those who didn’t. It further found that the diets also allowed them to live healthier, more fulfilled lives – it even increased life expectancy. The important thing to remember is your diet alone cannot change your life. You need to find ways to exercise regularly and look after your body if you are to stay in tip-top shape.
While we would like to say that it’s as simple as eating your fruits and veggies with the occasional vegetarian meat substitute, it involves a lot more than that. You need to account for the potential nutritional deficiencies that will arise as a result and find ways to bridge the gap.
If you are looking into meat-like products, always read the label to ensure that the contents provide the nutrition you need. Many of these products are high in saturated fats and sodium, so be on the lookout for those and avoid them.
You can also look into taking supplements to manage this. In most cases, it’s recommended that you look into taking the following supplements:
- Vitamin B12
All About How You Manage It
As with any diet, it’s only successful if you give it the chance to do what it’s supposed to. You can’t suddenly cut out meat and expect a complete 180 on your health and wellbeing. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.