Tara Haddad Shares the Wide Variety of Foods Available on a Plant-Based Diet
Many people have heard of the significant health benefits of eating a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets can reduce your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer, along with controlling your weight and extending your longevity.
People interested in switching to a plant-based diet may not understand the vast variety of foods available. Many people who have an interest in eating plant-based are reluctant to switch because they are focused on the idea of depriving themselves of animal-based foods, including bacon and red meat.
Plant-based diets offer a full range of cuisines, tastes, and textures. Tara Haddad, the CEO of Modern Meat and a Vancouver, BC resident, shares some of the delicious foods available on a plant-based diet and how you can make the switch.
The Basics of a Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet is based largely on minimally processed whole foods. Most people who eat plant-based diets choose to limit animal products or avoid them altogether.
However, a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Many people who largely eat plant-based diets choose to supplement their food with an occasional serving of animal-derived foods like eggs, cheese, or fish. As time goes by, these semi-vegetarians may choose to move toward a fully vegetarian or vegan diet as they find that their dietary needs are satisfied by whole plant foods.
Plant-based diets focus on plant products like whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. A huge variety of food combinations are available when using only plant-based foods.
Most people who eat plant-based diets restrict or eliminate refined flours and sugars from their diet. They also avoid processed oils like shortening in favor of healthy choices like extra virgin olive oil.
Balancing a Plant-Based Diet
Some people interested in eating a plant-based diet are hesitant because they believe they will not receive enough protein and other nutrients to keep their bodies healthy. The reverse is true, as a plant-based diet is frequently healthier and more balanced than a diet including animal foods.
Plant-based protein sources include legumes, nuts, and seeds. Modern Meat’s products are based on pea protein, a highly nutritious ingredient. Another ingredient derived from legumes that play a major role in many people’s plant-based diets is soy, which makes tofu and soy milk.
Fiber is another nutrient that is easily obtainable from plant-based foods. Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, and beans contain a great deal of fiber, promoting digestive health and protecting against colon cancer.
A wide variety of vitamins and antioxidants are available in plant foods. For example, yellow squash and carrots contain a large quantity of Vitamin A, while citrus is a good way to meet Vitamin C requirements.
A Sample Plant-Based Daily Menu
Tara Haddad knows that it can be difficult to decide to eat a largely plant-based diet, and she provides this sample daily menu to show that it is possible to eat a large variety of satisfying foods.
You can start a plant-based breakfast with chocolate chip pancakes made with buckwheat flour, flaxseeds, and oats. Plant milk of your choice (oat, soy, or almond) and applesauce stand-in for the milk and eggs normally used in pancakes.
Supplement this breakfast with various fruits and plant-based breakfast sausage for an extra nutrient and protein boost.
A large salad topped with chickpeas, avocado, red and green bell peppers, and tomato makes a great lunch. On the side, have a whole-grain bread roll and a glass of plant milk or sparkling water.
Butternut squash steaks are an excellent dinner choice on a plant-based diet. Peel, seed, slice the butternut squash into ½ inch slices, and arrange them on a sprayed baking sheet. Top with salt, pepper, and the spices of your choice, along with a spray of extra-virgin olive oil. These steaks are filling and satisfying and carry a significant nutritional punch.
If you feel that a plant “steak” is not enough protein, you can also have a plant-based meat substitute like that made by Modern Meat. Their burgers, crumble, and dumplings can fit nicely into any meal.
There are many delicious non-dairy ice creams available today. Dark chocolate is another excellent choice on a plant-based diet since it contains a minimum amount of refined sugar and has a high amount of antioxidants.
Switching to a Plant-Based Diet
Tara Haddad understands that the prospect of switching to a plant-based diet can be daunting. Many people want to access the health benefits of a plant-based diet but are not ready to cut animal products out of their daily food intake.
Plant-based meat products can easily stand in for animal proteins at any meal. These products can make it easier for people to transition from a diet loaded with animal products to a healthier whole foods alternative.
When you choose to switch to a plant-based diet, you make a significant investment in your health. You can expect to see the health benefits after a few months, and you can feel good about your dietary choices.