What is a Plant-Based Diet?

Add the term "diet" after a word and suddenly it becomes the next big thing, something which seemingly develops a cult-like following overnight. The term 'diet' was once associated with losing weight, with many men and women across the globe following celebrity-endorsed diets in order to achieve the perfect body. However, quite refreshingly, in recent years, diets have become associated with a healthier lifestyle, followed so that you can feel great on the inside and lead a longer, healthier life.

As the food industry has become more transparent, many people began to follow certain diets for other reasons than losing weight, from animal welfare to environmental concerns. Many new diets were born, first came the vegetarian diet which meant followers refrained from eating meat. In recent years, the vegan diet has become extremely popular, attracting followers worldwide to live without using any products, foods or drink that has been made using an animal.

Many of you may be aware of a new craze that is taking the food industry by storm - The Plant-Based Diet. Although often confused as an alternative way of referring to veganism, the plant-based diet has its differences and is arguably healthier than both veganism and vegetarianism. In this blog, we find out just why the plant-based diet can be a super healthy diet to follow.

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How is a Plant-Based Diet Different to Veganism?

The reason that people assume the plant-based diet to be similar to veganism, is because of the lack of meat that is consumed. However, unlike the vegan lifestyle, those who follow a plant-based diet have no actual moral issue with consuming meat or using animal products, it is simply, just part of their diet.

For those who do have an issue with consuming meat, veganism can still be difficult to follow. Vegans do not use any products that have been made using anything that has came from an animal, regardless of whether it was a result of the animals death. Say goodbye to sitting on leather chairs and wearing wooly socks whilst you enjoy a glass of milk, being vegan isn't just a diet, it's a lifestyle that not everyone can find the willpower to follow.

For those who find it difficult to give up all things that come from an animal, the plant-based diet is the perfect option and it is healthy.

Is a Plant-Based Diet Similar to Vegetarianism?

Yes, as vegetarians refuse to eat meat but there is a difference. Following a plant-based diet means that you are not able to eat any foods that do not naturally come from a plant. This includes chocolate bars, bread or even yogurts. Whereas vegetarians can eat these types of food as long as no animals have been killed in the making of them.

What Can you Eat on a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is a diet that one that essentially revolves around only consuming foods that are plant-based. The following foods can be enjoyed for those who follow the diet:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans/Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Pulses
  • Wholegrain's

Fruit

The world is your oyster when it comes from picking delicious fruit to enjoy on your plant-based diet. Not one single type of fruit is off the menu and with the wonderful array of colours from fruits sourced from across the world, you can create some amazing Instagram images.

Fruit is a great food to snack on and is a great option for breakfast when you feel cereals or porridge oats may be too heavy on your stomach. There are a variety of ways to enjoy fruit, from simply eating it straight to being a little creative in making smoothies, smoothie bowls or smoothie jars like this one below!

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You can also top your smoothies with seeds that you may find difficult to include into your diet in other ways. This delicious Mango & Blueberry Smoothie is topped with Bee Pollen.

Vegetables

Potatoes 

Potatoes are probably the last thing that you picture when you hear the word 'vegetable'. Although it may not be as Instagram-worthy as its green veggie counterparts, it is a great part of a plant-based diet. This starchy vegetable is high in vitamin b6, which helps to protect red blood cells and potassium, which helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure level.

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Potatoes are so versatile that you can use them in a variety of dishes, however, one of the most delicious meals that you can enjoy them with is Stuffed Pumpkin/Peppers with Quinoa (don't forget to ditch the cheese). Homemade chips are so delicious that we promise once you taste them, you ill never want to eat the unhealthy fast-food fries again!

To cook, simply cut small potatoes horizontally, into small round disks. Then add to a pan of salted water and boil for around five minutes. Drain, then place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and place in oven at 220 degrees for around 40-45 minutes. To serve, add a touch more of olive oil and a further sprinkling of sea salt. Delicious!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are like marmite, you either love them or hate them, so this meat-free alternative may not be for everyone. However, mushrooms do contain a great amount of nutritional value, high in b vitamins and are a good source of vitamin d. With their versatile taste, mushrooms are just as popular in the British cuisine as they are in the Asian cuisine and appear in many of our favourite dishes.

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Be inspired with mushroom recipes from pairing it with quinoa to adding it to a delicious, rich and creamy pie. You can also use mushrooms in this delicious recipe for a plant-based gravy - check out Plant Based on a Budget.

Nuts & Seeds

When turning to a plant-based diet, it can be difficult to know what your options are when it comes to snacks. With so many unhealthy snacks available in the supermarkets, it can seem hard at first to thing of substitutes that are just as easy to buy and even easier to eat!

Nuts and seeds are great snacks, not only because they are small and are the perfect size to fit in lunch boxes, but also because they are extremely nutritious and healthy, with vitamins and minerals that add to our overall health and well-being.

Take for example, Brazil Nuts, which are a little beauty wonder containing an estimated 52% of your Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin E. This vitamin is found in many skincare products due to its ability to protect the skin from harmful free-radicals.

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Legumes

Tofu

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or follow a plant-based diet, there is no denying that meat is considered to be a huge part of people's diets. So much so, that when you do not eat meat, you will find blogs offering many meat-free alternatives. Luckily for those who follow a plant-based diet, nature offers up an array of delicious and nutritional foods that are high in protein to fill you up.

Tofu is probably the most popular meat-free alternative and as a core part of the healthy Asian cuisine, it isn't hard to see why. Made by curdling soy milk and then pressing into a solid block, soy offers plant-based followers a nutritional alternative that is high in protein, iron and calcium.

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A versatile food, you can use tofu in a variety of dishes and being popular in the Asian cuisine, add it to stir fries with spiralized butternut squash, aromatic spices and vegetables. For a hearty breakfast, you can also swap eggs for scrambled tofu. Although many people complain of a lack of taste from tofu, you can always use herbs, spices and natural condiments to add a boost of flavour.

Wholegrain's

According to the Wholegrain's Council, all grains begin life as a whole grain which are the entire seed of a plant. The three edible parts of the grain are the bran, germ and endosperm and these all contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential to maintaining good health.

The reason why it is said that refined grains are not as healthy as wholegrain is because they are missing at least one of the three edible parts of the grain, whether that be the bran, germ and endosperm. This is why foods such as wholegrain rice are chosen over their less healthy counterparts like white rice.

Quinoa

Quinoa has grown in popularity over the last few years, despite being an ancient "superfood"  that the Mayans enjoyed as part of their historic diet. Naturally gluten free, quinoa has become one of the favourite foods for free-fromers, who have taken advantaged of its versatility to apply it to many traditional dishes.

One of the most popular dishes that includes quinoa is a refreshing Quinoa Salad. With an earthy--like taste, combining it with healthy vegetables makes for a plant-powered super plate and perfect lunchtime treat.

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Quinoa is high in protein, so there is little wonder that the ancient civilisation of the Mayans used it as part of their everyday diet!

Buckwheat

The buckwheat grain is extremely versatile and many delicious recipes can be created from using buckwheat as the key ingredient. Try our delicious King Soba Buckwheat Noodles

For lazy weekends, buckwheat breakfasts are the best way to boost your intake of manganese, which can help support the health of bones. You can create some delicious recipes using buckwheat, including buckwheat waffles and pancakes.

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Create with Doves Farm Wholemeal Buckwheat Flour.

Tea

As something that is used in our daily routines, sometimes it's easy to forget that tea comes from exotic leaves from across the globe. Many teas, especially herbal and green tea contain powerful antioxidants that can help to add a little boost to our health.

For those who follow a pant-based diet, tea can be a welcoming refreshment throughout the day when unhealthy drinks are off the menu. With flavours ranging from the fruity to the aromatic, you can choose a cup that is suited to the occasion.

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