What is a Plant Based Diet?

What is a Plant Based Diet

What is a Plant Based Diet? It’s a diet consisting of foods derived strictly from plants including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. When following a plant based diet few or no animal products are consumed. Most recently there have been various authoritative resources that have utilized the phrase “plant based diet” to refer to diets that include varying levels of animal products. These resources define plant based styles of eating as diets that include large amounts of plant foods and minimal amounts of animal foods. They also describe the plant based diet as rich in a variety of fruits, legumes, vegetables and minimally processed starch based foods while limiting meat consumption if meat is eaten at all. Some argue that there is a vast difference between “plant based” and “plant only” diets.

What is a Plant Based Diet for Beginners

The benefits in a plant based diet are unmeasurable. But here are top 5 immediate health benefits. (1)

  1. Prevent chronic diseases
  2. Improve your mood
  3. Protect your heart
  4. Keep off excess weight
  5. Longevity and energy

There are quite a few health benefits associated with being plant based. This particular diet may decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Sources also agree that a vegetarian diet may greatly increase one’s ability to lose weight faster. A diet that includes a large amount of fruits and vegetables may also decrease the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and colorectal cancer. Being plant based is cost-effective and may also lower body mass index, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Additionally this style of eating may reduce the number of prescription medications needed for individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or cardiovascular disease. The risks associated with this style of eating are minimal. It is recommended to supplement with vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iodine. (2)

What is a Plant Based Diet Food List?

A typical plant based diet food list should include foods from approximately seven different categories. It’s important to try to include something from each category in your daily diet.

  1. Beans and various other types of protein. Examples include black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, soybeans (edamame), tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Seitan is a vegetable protein that is sourced from wheat so it is not recommended for those who have any type of gluten intolerance. Also included in this category are any of the various nut milks that are readily available today. When choosing soymilk or soy yogurt be careful to choose only those that are organize and certified NON-GMO.
  2. Nuts and seeds. Examples of nuts include almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, and pistachios. Examples of seeds include chia, flax, hemp, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, safflower and sunflower.
  3. Healthy Fats. Examples of healthy fats are avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, ground flaxseeds, and nut butters.
  4. Greens. Examples of healthy greens are kale, spinach, broccoli, collard, romaine, chicory, beet greens, turnip, mustard, and Swiss chard.
  5. Fruits. Examples of fruits are apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, grapes, guava, oranges, lemons, limes, mangoes, kiwi, pineapples, and papaya.
  6. Vegetables. Examples of vegetables are artichokes, asparagus, beans, peas, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, potatoes, leafy greens, and zucchini.
  7. Spices. Examples of spices are allspice, anise, black peppercorns, cardamom, celery seed, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, garlic, ginger, mustard, nutmeg, onion, saffron, turmeric, vanilla, and wasabi.

As you can see, creating a plant based diet food list is very simple! Jot these categories down in your notes and take it with you to the grocery store each week and you will be sure to have perfectly healthy, fully stocked kitchen!

So you’ve taken the plunge and ditched meat but now you don’t know what to eat? Have no fear; we are going to make it simple for you with this plant based diet grocery list.

A plant based diet offers a veritable abundance of foods to choose from. There are innumerable types of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds that you can use to create mouth-watering dishes.

In our modern day society with the rapid growth of the plant based lifestyle, companies are rushing to create products that closely mimic those that come from animal sources. It has never been so easy to be plant based!

Let’s begin by diving into the wonderful world of whole plant foods. These foods will nourish your body with impeccable nutrition and help you to stay healthy and strong! So in order to make your next trip to the store an easy one, make sure to take along your plant based grocery list!

Fruit

When eating fruit make sure to choose from a wide variety and eat them on a daily basis. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and enzymes. Fruit will help your body to operate at optimal levels and will help to prevent disease from occurring.

Make sure to eat fruit when it’s at the peak of freshness because that is when it is the most nutritious and alkalizing for your body. If you have fruit that has become too ripe simply chop it up and freeze it. You can use it for smoothies or nice cream later!

All types of fruit are healthy for your body such as fresh, dried or frozen. You can use them to make desserts, smoothies, or just use them simply as a snack! Try adding them to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning for an added nutrient and fiber boost.

Examples of fresh fruit:

  • Apple
  • Nectarine
  • Apricot
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Kiwi
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe

Examples of dried fruits:

  • Pineapple
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Nectarine
  • Goji berries
  • Mango
  • Cherries
  • Plum
  • Fig
  • Cranberry

Examples of frozen fruits:

  • Mango
  • Blueberry
  • Strawberry
  • Cherry
  • Pineapple
  • Peach
  • Raspberry
  • Blackberry

Vegetables

Vegetables should make up the majority of your plant based diet. You can load up on them without having to worry about excessive amounts of calories. Vegetables are loaded with fiber; antioxidants, minerals, nutrients and water so feel free to indulge!

Leafy greens are extremely nutrient dense and are filled with chlorophyll and minerals too. If you find that it’s difficult to eat a large amount of greens and vegetables simply juice them! By drinking vegetable juice you are flooding your body with nutrients and enzymes, which is a wonderful way to create an alkaline state.

You can enjoy vegetables raw or cooked. It’s best to do a combination of the two such as having a Buddha bowl for lunch and a huge salad with healthy grains for dinner.

Examples of fresh vegetables:

  • Avocado
  • Artichoke
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Peas

Examples of frozen vegetables:

  • Lima beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Peppers

Examples of leafy greens:

  • Arugula
  • Butter head
  • Kale
  • Mustard
  • Collard
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnip

Starches

Starches that come from whole foods are a healthy staple in a plant based diet. They contain large quantities of complex carbohydrates that supply the body with long-lasting energy and satiety.

Starches are packed with an abundance of essential amino acids from proteins, essential fats, fiber and minerals. Starches such as potatoes provide vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorous, niacin, dietary fiber and pantothenic acid. They also contain a variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Make sure to eat mostly whole grains instead of refined ones and add in a variety of legumes such as beans and lentils.

Examples of whole grains:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Farro
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Spelt

Examples of refined grains:

  • White flour
  • Couscous
  • Pasta
  • Seitan
  • Tortillas
  • Bread
  • White rice

Examples of legumes:

  • Adzuki beans
  • Black beans
  • Black-eye peas
  • Cannelini beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Edamame
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats play a crucial role in the body. They ensure proper development and functioning of both the brain and nervous system. They help to keep cells healthy and aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

Make sure to eat a wide variety of healthy plant based fats. They will provide both essential fatty acids: Linoleic Acid and Alpha-Linolenic Acid. In many cases healthy fats will also provide optimal balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Be aware though that healthy fats can pack on unwanted pounds if you overindulge. Portion control is key when eating nuts, seeds and avocados.

Examples of nuts:

  • Almond
  • Brazil
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia
  • Peanut
  • Pecan
  • Pistachio
  • Walnut

Examples of seeds:

  • Chia
  • Hemp
  • Flax
  • Pumpkin
  • Sesame
  • Sunflower

Examples of nut and seed butters:

  • Almond butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Macadamia nut butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Tahini

Examples of healthy fats:

  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Nut butters
  • Ground flaxseed

Herbs and Spices

By adding herbs and spices into your dishes not only are you getting a burst of flavor but also you are getting a vast amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s best to use a combination of both fresh and dried herbs and spices for optimal nutrition.

Examples of herbs and spices:

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Celery seed
  • Chamomile
  • Chili
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Salt
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Pepper

Natural sweeteners

It’s recommended to keep sweeteners to a minimum as they are high in calories and are stored as fat in the body.

Examples of natural sweeteners:

  • Agave
  • Coconut sugar
  • Date syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Cane sugar
  • Rice syrup
  • Stevia

As you can see shopping can be a breeze with our plant based diet grocery list! Most importantly though, choose foods that you love and enjoy most so your dishes are not only delicious but also packed with nutrition!