“Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.”
~ Harvard Medical School
The term “plant based diet” is being talked about more and more these days, but it’s a label that can be confusing. Many people assume that it means ONLY plants, and that just isn’t so.
A plant-based diet means that the majority of one's diet comes from plants, and is grounded in good health for individuals, families, and communities. It doesn't mean that you can't eat any animal products. It just means you opt for high volumes of minimally processed whole foods that are derived from plants, such as fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), whole (intact) grains, nuts and seeds. So a plant-based diet is great not only for vegans, but also for people who choose to consume high-quality animal foods occasionally.
"Eating a plant-based diet simply means eating more plants."
~ Marni Wasserman, Plant-Based Diet For Dummies
Examples of diets that fit the profile of a plant-based diet are The Mediterranean Diet, The Flexitarian Diet, The Ornish Diet, and Eating for Health. But the general idea is to:
Eat fruits and vegetables freely
Eat starchy vegetables, whole (intact) grains, and legumes moderately
Eat limited amounts of high fat nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils
If you choose to consume eggs, fish, poultry, meat or dairy (wild or naturally raised), keep the portions small and limit them to once a day or less.
* For those who may be concerned about getting adequate protein, know that IF you consume enough CALORIES of a variety of nutrient rich plant foods, you will be getting enough protein.
Some examples of plant-based meals are smoothies with fruit, leafy greens, and a plant-based protein (from legumes, grain, spirulina, etc.), and soups, salads, or entrees with whole grains, legumes, and vegetables and fruit for dessert. The KEY is to fill your diet with ample amounts of fruits, leafy greens and veggies so that they take center stage!
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants..”
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Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Master Massage Therapist, Certified Diet Counselor & Holistic Nutrition Educator, and Spiritual Counselor who is passionate about creating, living, and enjoying health, balance, and freedom on all levels, both personally and professionally, while providing educational and healing services.