Meatless Meals: A Guide in Starting a Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet is now becoming very popular in several parts of the world, especially in the USA, primarily because of its health benefits. Plant-based diets can decrease the risk of having heart diseases and stroke, and it also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The risk of developing cancer and diabetes is also lower when you eat more greens than meat. Lastly, plant-based diets can improve and maintain a functional immune system, which can help you stay away from sickness and diseases. Not only it is better for one’s health, but researches also say that eating less or no meat is helpful to the environment. With all these reasons, starting a plant-based diet is really a beneficial option.
Most people say that staying away from meat is really difficult. Yes, it may be difficult at the start, especially when you really love meat and meat products. But when you stick to you plant-based regimen, you’ll slowly get used to it. Here are some tips in beginning your plant-based diet.
When you plan to start your plant-based diet, it does not mean that you should totally eliminate your entire meat intake at once. You can start by allotting two or three days a week for meatless meals. After some time, you can replace meat with some healthier alternatives, such as tofu, which are also sources of protein that you get from meat. You can also have miso soup as a substitute for chicken soup or pork broth.
Legumes such as beans and lentils are also another source of protein. Aside from protein, legumes also contain high amounts of fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system.
Protein shakes and smoothies can also be a good alternative to meat. Different recipes can be found on the internet. This is a good option for breakfast, especially if you are a person on the go.
Aside from vegetables, plant-based diets also include fruits. You can make healthy salads, or even fruit shakes and frozen desserts.
If you cannot go meatless all the way, you can still eat meat, but only white meat from fish and seafood, which is healthier than red meat from cows and pigs. Fish meat contains high amounts of omega-3, which is good for the heart. Options include salmon, tuna, anchovies and sardines. Sushi can also be a good alternative, as this only contains fish and rice. However, avoid shrimps because it is high in ocean contaminants.
If you want chicken, then you should make sure that it is organic. There are many restaurants nowadays that use organic meat in their recipes.
Lastly, drink plenty of water, because plant-based diets are high in fiber. It will help your digestive system to adjust to this new kind of meal.
As you can see, there are many food options to try when having a plant-based diet. However, you must keep in mind that careful planning is essential so that you can get all the nutrients you need in every meal. Remember, it should be complete and well-balanced, with grains, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats in every meal. You can ask the help of a dietitian in planning your meals.