Eat healthy - The benefits of plant-based diets
Plant-based and vegan diets, known for their health and environmental benefits, have been increasing in popularity in the last few years.
New Year's is a good opportunity to change your lifestyle, reduce meat consumption, and add more organic whole foods and veggies to your diet. An annual Veganuary campaign encourages people to go vegan for a month as their New Year's resolution, and you should try it, too! 
If you’re considering a vegan lifestyle in an effort to be healthier, decrease climate change, or for animal welfare reasons, it's good to learn how a vegan diet may affect your daily life.
Here’s everything you need to know about starting a plant-based diet, its health benefits and tips on how to eat better.  

What is a plant-based diet?


A plant-based diet is a diet composed of fresh produce, including vegetables and fruits, whole grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds. All these ingredients are very healthy and are a great source of nutrients, including protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins. Those who follow a vegan diet avoid all kinds of animal products such as meat, seafood, eggs, dairy and honey.  Many animal products can be easily replaced with animal-free alternatives; for example, you can replace dairy with plant-based milk, meat can be replaced with plant-based meat alternatives or other protein sources from plants like legumes.     


What is the difference between vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets?

Vegan and vegetarian are different ways of eating. Unlike a vegan diet, where no animals are consumed at all, a vegetarian diet typically incorporates some animal products, such as milk, cheese or eggs. A flexitarian diet, which is very popular now, is a mix of vegan and vegetarian diets, with the consumption of mainly plant-based products. However, it may include some animal products from time to time. There is also a pescatarian diet, which does not include meat but includes fish and seafood as main protein sources. 


What should you avoid on a vegan diet?


If you follow a vegan diet, all animal products and byproducts like meat, eggs, milk, honey, cheese, yoghurt, gelatine, carmine and casein – are eliminated from your meals. Veganism is a lifestyle rather than a diet, so it also means avoiding non-food animal products such as leather, personal care and cosmetics. Look for cosmetics and beauty products that are not tested on animals.  


What can you eat on a plant-based diet? 


  • Vegetables and fruits - all of them, including dried fruits.
  • Grains: rice, oats, wheat, barley, quinoa 
  • Legumes and pulses: beans, chickpeas, lentils. 
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds and more! 
  • Plant-based milk: soy milk, oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk
  • Fermented food: kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tofu
  • Plant-based oils: olive oil, sunflower oil
  • Other plant-based protein sources: tofu, tempeh, seitan
  • Seasonings: herbs, spices, soy sauce, nutritional yeast etc. 


Benefits of a plant-based diet


A healthy plant-based diet has many health benefits. It can help lower cholesterol levels and minimise the risk of heart disease and stroke.  It will also protect you from other chronic diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. It can also promote healthy weight management. 
A healthy plant-based diet is balanced and nutritious. Ensure you consume enough fibre, take B12 supplements such as fortified nutritional yeast, and opt for healthy whole foods instead of highly processed foods, fast foods and take aways. 


Beans-lentils-pulsesLegumesLentils-beans-pulsesNutsWhole foodsWholefood

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published