Plant based diets are becoming more and more popular these days. There seems to be a great push towards changing from meat based diets toward a plant based one. This is likely due to the fact that such a diet will effectively lower body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and cost effective. Overall this diet is considered good for the environment and animals alike.
But what exactly does a plant based diet consist of? Simply put this diet reduces, restricts or completely eliminates meat and animal products from ones diet. Anyone who choses to be vegan is primarily eating food that comes from plants. Having said that, this is a sort of diet that isn’t for everyone. As simple as this diet sounds there are several variations to consider before embarking on this food journey.
Plant Based Vegan
It is important to know that true vegans do not consume or even use any product that involves an animal in its production. This restriction includes meat, poultry, game, fish, eggs, dairy, honey and animal by-products like gelatin. However since this diet is restrictive to plants, vegans may need to supplement on vitamin B12, folate and Omega 3.
Despite the nutrient deficiencies that a pure vegan diet may cause, there are quite a few healthy benefits of adopting a diet. Vegans will likely have stronger nails and healthier hair. Not to mention they may also have clearer skin and better complexions than others. This is due to the fact that this diet consumes lots of fresh produce that are loaded with helpful antioxidants and nutrients. Fresh produce are naturally anti-inflammatory which aid in keeping inflammation at bay.
Unlike a true vegan diet, this variation allows dairy products to be consumed. You can not have poultry, fish or eggs. The number one benefit to including dairy is that it will help your body take in more calcium. These dairy products include yogurt, cheese and milk. An intake of calcium may ward off osteoporosis by protecting your bones. It also helps our muscles and metabolic processes to function properly. Other benefits to adopting this diet include weight loss, stable blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and better heart health.
This version of a plant based diet allows for foods with eggs to be consumed. This diet does not allow diary or meat products. However, with the inclusion of eggs, you can have a good source of protein and vitamin B. As a result, you may experience lower blood pressure, satiety and balanced blood sugar levels.
Ovo-vegetarian variation would be a good choice for those who suffer from food allergies or sensitivities.
Lacto-Ovo Plant Based Diet
For this diet it is important to note that the word ‘lacto’ refers to milk and ‘ovo’ refers to eggs. Therefore, this diet allows you to eat diary and eggs but no meat, poultry or fish. As a result, this plant based diet is more popular amongst those who choose to be vegetarian. If you choose this diet you must take note to exclude the following from your diet:
- meat poultry
- fish and seafood
- insects or insect products
- stock made from animals
Instead choose foods from the following list:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- dairy products
- beans and lentils
- nuts and seeds
- whole grains
- healthy oils
As you can see choosing a plant based diet can be a healthy way to eat. Should you consider changing your current diet to that of a plant based consider these tips. Make a plan and start slowly. Speak with your nutritionist for recipe ideas. Aim to mainly eat fresh whole foods. Ensure you are consuming enough protein. Avoid processed foods if you want to stay healthy. Eating too much processed foods will cause weight gain, fatigue and an unhealthy body.
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