The term ‘plant-based diet’ refers to a generalized meal plan that revolves around plants instead of meat and dairy. This shift in diet offers a variety of health benefits and can reduce the risk for chronic illness.
Vegetables and plant-based foods provide our bodies with optimal protein, iron, calcium, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that are lacking in a meat-based meal plan. The phytochemical compounds found in plants help to regulate your immune system, protect your vision, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and neutralize the free radicals that cause illness and cell damage.
No, you do not have to avoid all meat to follow a plant-based diet. What is important is that plants make up the majority of your food, while fish, chicken, beef, dairy, and eggs play a smaller, supporting role in your diet.
A plant-based diet can be custom-tailored to accommodate your likes/dislikes, the items available, and your level of prep time. A normal meal plan will include a range of vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans, and fruits. Animal products, including dairy, as well as processed foods should be left out as much as possible. Baked goods, tofu, hummus, quinoa, salads, and wraps can all be part of a delicious, plant-based diet.