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What is a plant-based diet and should you be eating this way?

Posted by Ali Donahue on
What is a plant-based diet and should you be eating this way?

Quick Take

Plant-based is definitely trending, but what the heck is it? Plant-based eating means that you eat food that comes from plants. And the nutrition science shows there are many benefits of eating this way, but is it right for you? Keep reading to find out.

Before we begin: start your plant-based life today with the MamaSezz Get Me Started bundle

Reap the benefits of a plant-based diet without all the work and get fresh and delicious plant-based meals for beginners delivered to your door. No cooking required - just heat and eat. Learn more about the MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle here. 

On this Page

What plant-based eating means

The evidence behind plant-based eating

Do plant-based diets have enough nutrition?

5 ways to get started with a whole food plant-based diet

A plant-based meal plan for beginners to get your started

What plant-based eating means

Plant-based eating is a somewhat formal term for a really, really simple diet. It means you eat fruits and vegetables, and also beans, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. You take meat and dairy off the table.

At MamaSezz, we always add “whole food” when we say plant-based. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian foods out there that are just as processed as foods with meat and dairy! And that means full of additives, preservatives, sugars, and unhealthy fats. A whole food plant-based diet is one with foods that are nutrient-dense and typically low in fat — so you not only get the nutrients you need, but you stay full longer (thank you fiber!) and avoid cravings.

We also make all MamaSezz plant-based foods free from oil. Why? Oil isn't a whole food! It's been stripped of its fiber and is high in calories and fat. 

Grab our healthy plant-based shopping list here

The evidence behind plant-based eating

The research is very, very clear that plant-based eating can promote health, reduce the risk of a long list of diseases, and reverse the effects of certain illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, even cancer.

3 huge benefits of eating a plant-based diet

1. Healthy weight loss

For healthy weight loss, plant-based is the way to go. Plants are much lower in calories than animal products and higher in dietary fiber so you take in fewer calories and feel satisfied longer.

2. Reduced inflammation  

Chronic inflammation is a big problem in America. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, telling the immune system to repair damaged tissue and fight off infection. Many animal foods (including red meats, dairy products, and saturated fats) increase inflammation in the human body. And when inflammation becomes chronic, it causes disease like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more (1).

Plant-based foods, on the other hand, reduce inflammation! (Here are 5 anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet today.)

3. Overall wellness 

And health doesn’t stop with the physical body; at MamaSezz we believe mental and emotional health is just as important. Plant-based diets improve all of the above.

Omnivorous diets are low in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — chemicals are used to regulate brain-cell function. Not so with plant-based diets, rich in both EPA and DHA. Why’s this matter? Plant-based eaters experience fewer negative emotions and boosted mood overall (2). 

Do plant-based diets have enough nutrition?

The answer is a resounding YES.

And we know what you're thinking — what about protein? Don't you need meat to get sufficient protein intake? No way! Not only will you get all the protein you need when eating a whole food plant-based diet, chances are you don't need quite as much protein as you think

When you eat whole food plants, you get the protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats you need, at the levels you need them. Plus, whole food plants are usually higher in fiber and phytonutrients. (And fiber is deeply lacking in most people’s diets - 97% of us are deficient in fiber!)

B12 is the one vitamin that you may need to supplement. Here's why.

5 ways to get started with a whole food plant-based diet

Changing to a plant-based diet may be a slow process, depending on what your body’s used to. It’s okay to take it slow! And it’s okay to dive in headfirst. Choose the path that works for you. Here are 5 ways to take the first step.

1. Go green!

Add green leafy vegetables to your plate each day. This includes spinach, kale, collards, and Swiss chard. Try steaming, grilling, braising, or stir-frying to preserve flavor and nutrients. 

2. Eat your salad first.

Fill a big bowl with salad greens (romaine or Bibb lettuce is a great start). Add a variety of other vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, beans, and sprouts. And then top with an awesome oil-free dressing!

3. Have a whole-grain breakfast.

Hot cereals are a yummy way to begin the day. Oats, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, millet and more all make good hot cereal bases. You can then add your favorite whole food toppings — like MamaSezz Strong Heart Beets (a sweet and incredibly nutritious addition!). We love this Protein-Packed Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl.

4. Swap out refined sugar for whole fruits.

It takes a few weeks for your tastebuds to reorient to the sweetness in fruit. (Processed foods are so sweet that they skew our tastebuds.) But as you switch to juicy peaches, fresh watermelon, succulent cherries, and more for dessert, the more satisfying and delicious they become. Here are 10 plant-based desserts to try

5. Make it easy on yourself: let MamaSezz cook and deliver plant-based meals

Reap the benefits of a plant-based diet without doing all the work. Get delicious and hearty whole food plant-based meals delivered to your door, prepared and ready to heat and eat. Order the MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle.  

A plant-based meal plan for beginners to use right now

Plant-based eating will become your new normal faster than you expect. Here are some ideas to keep you going throughout the day.

Plant-based breakfast ideas

vegan smoothie

  • Two-Minute Oatmeal Bowl - A budget-friendly and hearty breakfast that takes just 2 minutes and 5 ingredients - perfect for any plant-based beginner.
  • Creamy Vegan Green Smoothie - A MamaSezz staff favorite, this green smoothie is sure to become a staple in your newly plant-based household.  
  • Sweet Potato Toast - Sweet potatoes have been deemed one of “the world’s healthiest foods” because they are jam-packed with active nutrients! 

Or get plant-based breakfast delivered! No cooking required. Browse MamaSezz plant-based breakfast items here

Plant-based lunch ideas

lemon lentil soup

  • Portobello Plant-Based “BLT” Sandwich - Skip the bacon and mayo for a plant-based version of this diner classic. Bonus points for being kid-friendly.
  • Lemon Lentil Soup - This plant-based lemon lentil soup recipe is refreshing, hearty, and flavorful. Plus it’s packed with healthy, healing ingredients like garlic, lemon, and turmeric. Enjoy this plant-based recipe hot with crushed black pepper, or pour it over a baked sweet potato.
  • Black Bean Bowl - Beans and rice are a staple of the plant-based diet for a reason - they’re easy and delicious! This oil-free take can be enjoyed as is or dressed up with your favorite toppings (avocado, hot sauce, fresh cilantro).  

The MamaSezz Chef’s Choice Bundle sets you up with plant-based lunches. Just heat and eat! Order here.

Plant-based dinner ideas

stuffed sweet potato

  • Easy Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza - Think you can't follow a healthy lifestyle AND eat pizza? Think again! This vegan pizza crust is absolutely delicious and is oil free, salt free, gluten-free, AND sugar-free. Not to mention, it's so much more than a pizza crust. Serve it as pita bread, a flatbread for sandwiches, or chips for dipping.
  • Creamy Plant-Based Avocado Pasta - An easy weeknight dinner if there ever was one, this creamy vegan pasta dish is ready in 20 minutes and serves the whole family (or provides enough for lunch leftovers). Pair with your favorite salad and one of these oil-free dressings.
  • Green goddess stuffed sweet potato - Healthy, hearty, and oh-so-nutrient-dense. Seasoned with turmeric and black pepper, which when combined work as a high-powered antioxidant. 

Overwhelmed? We’ve got you. The MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle does the prep for you, so you can just concentrate on eating well. Order now.

Plant-based dessert ideas

pb stuffed dates

  • Pumpkin Spice Shake - Pumpkin spice crazy? You’re going to want make this quick and easy dairy-free shake.
  • Dates with peanut butter - Pick up some Medjool dates at the grocery store (in the produce section) and pit them slice almost in half, leaving the bottom in tact, then fill up with peanut butter for a decadent all-natural dessert! You're welcome!

Plant-based snack ideas


Key Takeaways

  • Plant-based eating means eating foods from plants.
  • At the MamaSezz table, we ditch processed vegan foods for a whole-food, plant-based diet that’s oil-free.
  • There is ample evidence that plant-based eating supports good health.
  • Plant-based eating gets you the nutrition you need, plus more fiber.
  • It's not all or nothing! You can take simple steps to start eating plant-based and ease into it.
  • Not sure how to get started? Order the MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle to have plant-based meals, already prepared, delivered to your door, fresh!

Citations

(1) Harvard Health Publishing

(2) Nutrition Journal

 

By Becky Karush 

Becky Karush is a writer, copywriter, and family woman. She came up through newspapers and magazines, including Disney FamilyFun and Martha Stewart Whole Living, with road trips to teaching and farming. She’s run BeckyK Creative Marketing since 2012. She hosts and produces READ TO ME, a literary podcast that ends the cult of the critic and surfaces the power and beauty in great writing.

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