WHAT DOES BEING PLANT-BASED MEAN?

I moved across to a plant-based lifestyle just under a year ago and have never regretted it for a minute. I
chose to do it cold turkey and the immediate benefits were improved sleep and better recovery after hard
training sessions.

My reason for choosing this way of living was because I wanted to test out how I felt not eating meat, eggs or dairy for a month – turns out I felt amazing in just a few days and so for health reasons, I decided to remove them from my diet. My motivation was based on what made my body feel fantastic and after several weeks of research, my other motivation was for our planet and the environment that is adversely affected by animal farming. My decision was NOT based on weight loss in the slightest, but my body now is in the best shape it has been in, in the last 4 years. I have loads of energy and my sleep has improved dramatically too – huge wins for a very active athlete with a 3 careers and a busy family life.

PLANT-BASED 101
A whole food, plant-based diet is based on these principles:
Whole food describes natural foods that are not heavily processed. This means unrefined, or minimally refined ingredients.
Plant-based means food that comes from plants and that doesn’t include animal ingredients like meat, dairy milk, eggs, or honey.

It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources. Me personally – I have decided to cut out all eggs and meat products, but occasionally eat very small amounts of dairy cheese, if no vegan options are available.

Examples of food included in a plant-based nutrition lifestyle are:
Fruit: All types of fruit
Vegetables: Starchy and green, leafy veggies
Whole grains: Quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley
Legumes: Bean, lentils, chickpeas
Fats: Nuts, seeds, avocados
Protein: Tofu, tempeh

BENEFITS OF A PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE
There are several major benefits to moving to plant-based nutrition, all supported by science. These include:
Stronger immune system
Environmentally friendly
Increased longevity and fewer signs of ageing
Improved recovery inactive people
Better sleep
Higher energy levels

6 WAYS TO GET STARTED WITH A PLANT-BASED DIET

1. Eat lots of vegetables. Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner. Make sure you include plenty of colours in choosing your vegetables. Enjoy vegetables as a snack with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.

2. Choose healthy fats. Fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are particularly nutritious choices.

3. Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night a week to begin with. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.

4. Include whole grains for breakfast. Start with oats, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Then add some nuts or seeds along with fresh fruit. Adding a plant-based protein powder to your breakfast is also a yummy option and gives you a protein boost.

5. Build a meal around a salad. Fill a bowl with salad greens such as romaine, spinach, cabbage or tomatoes, onions and mushrooms or peppers. Add an assortment of other vegetables along with fresh herbs, beans or tofu. Throw in some crunchy seeds or nuts and you have a delicious meal packed with nutrition.

6. Eat fruit for dessert. A ripe, juicy peach, a refreshing slice of watermelon, or a crisp apple will satisfy your craving for a sweet bite after a meal.

My favourite recipes to follow are on the Cape Town Vegan Facebook page and IG account, and Irene’s Gourmet – 100% natural vegan and plant-based meal options as well as delicious cheeses, yogurts and fermented items. Both proudly South African too!

Find out more about how to transition to a plant-based lifestyle on Christine’s 7pm Zoom call this Thursday!

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