Everyone likes to try and be the healthiest, fittest version of themselves. Whether through exercise, diet, or a combination of the two, it feels great to look after yourself. When thinking of diet, there are many ways to improve your diet from cutting out processed foods to going completely plant-based.
Plant-based has become somewhat of a buzzword diet, with many celebrities and athletes adopting a plant-based diet and speaking highly of the benefits. However, some people think that they could never manage on this sort of diet. It seems too restrictive or too hard to understand. But, it doesn’t need to be!
Plant-based eating and cooking can be enjoyable, easy, and full of benefits. If you have an interest in making the switch, read on for tips on the diet and how to make delicious meals and snacks.
Plant-Based Diet Defined
Plant-based – also known as vegan – is a diet that focuses entirely on animal-free products. Everything consumed comes from plant sources as opposed to animal sources. This means no dairy, eggs, or meat at all. This is more strict than a vegetarian diet, where eggs and dairy are often still consumed. However, that does not mean it has to be hard to follow!
Instead of dairy, eggs, and animal-based products, vegans eat a wider variety of veg, meat substitutes, nuts, and pulses. Often, once starting to eat plant-based, people find their diet and tastes get richer, rather than feel restricted. Plus, they often report a wide variety of health benefits…
Benefits of Plant-Based Eating
There is a wide range of reported plant-based diet benefits. For a start, people often report feeling full of energy, less sluggish, and even happier after making the switch. But that’s not all, there is a wide range of proven health benefits, too. For example, eating plant-based can help reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and improve overall heart health. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. It certainly seems like giving plant-based cooking and eating a go is a great idea.
If you are a complete novice chef and want to make the switch to plant-based, you may find the idea of cooking meals daunting. If that’s the case, you could consider some cooking courses. The amazing chefs over at All About Greens explain how a course can help you gain additional skills to enhance your cooking or even start your journey as a budding chef. These sorts of courses can be great for amateurs and hobby chefs alike, with recipes and lessons on every style of cooking. If you’re nervous about going plant-based, this could be a great way of getting a bit of education on the subject.
Equipment You Might Need
For any kind of cooking, you need good cooking utensils. The standard essential items for all cooking include non-stick pans, a decent oven, grill, and utensils like spatulas and spoons. However, plant-based cooking often requires a few other items, some of which are listed below:
A set of good knives is key for vegan cuisine. If you’re going to be chopping up dense root veg, you’ll need knives that are super sharp and effective. Even cutting onions nicely with a blunt knife is a nightmare, so consider purchasing a knife or two of high quality to assist you with your meal prep.
Lots of plant-based cooking involves blending or processing foods. Blending soaked cashews to make a curry sauce, for example. Plus, lots of vegans pack a bunch of their daily nutrients into healthy smoothies. For this reason, you’ll likely want to invest in a decent blender and/or food processor.
With plant-based cooking, you get to have a little bit of creative fun. One of the main tools to assist with this is the spiralizer. Switch out egg noodles in your stir fry for courgette noodles, or, spiralize carrots for a twisted crunch in your salads. These gadgets are great fun and allow for creativity in the kitchen.
Another great tool for many cuisines is an instant pot. Instant pots – and slow cookers – allow for the stewing of rich, veggie-based sauces, curries, chilies, and more. Save yourself hours by using one of these for your recipes.
Find Recipes Online
There are so many great food sites and bloggers these days that you can easily find free recipes online. Fancy a vegan, plant-based spaghetti bolognese? Easy! Considering tofu fish and chips? Done. It is easier than ever to shop, prepare, and cook meat-free than ever before, so there’s no excuse for not giving some online recipes a try.
Find Your Substitutes
If you’re going plant-based and want a little less fuss, you can consider a huge variety of meat substitutes. It’s good to eat natural, unprocessed foods as often as possible. But, meat alternatives are becoming so readily available and made to such high quality that they can form part of a healthy, plant-based diet. Soya burgers and hot dogs, for example, make for a quick dinner. Or, try tofu to make a faux scrambled egg. Find what you love from the meat-free aisle and you’ll never miss the real thing again.
Ensure you Get your Protein
One of the main concerns people suggest when hearing about plant-based eating is a lack of protein. If you eat a balanced, plant-based diet rich in leafy greens, tofu, grains, beans, and pulses, you will very easily reach your recommended daily protein goal. There are thousands of plant-based athletes showing how easily it can be done. If you are concerned, you can always use a food tracking app to make sure that you are hitting your daily goals for all essential nutrients, as well as tracking your protein and calories.
Prepping, cooking, researching, and eating plant-based food is easier than ever before. With all the celebrity uptake and proven health benefits, it’s no wonder that thousands of people are making the switch every day. Do some research, maybe take a class, get to the shops, and then start your plant-based journey today.