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Plant-based diets have increasingly become popular for their various benefits, including weight loss and improving your overall wellbeing. A lot of preservatives can be found in our foods today, which is why nutritionists have been encouraging a plant-based diet.
Certified nutritionist Vikki Petersen (opens in new tab) praises the plant-based diet and says that anyone can start it at any point in their life.
"If done correctly, a plant-based diet is satisfying, energizing, mentally balancing, and a good way to shed extra pounds," said Vikki. "Often, individuals are afraid to begin because they assume they will stop enjoying food and they will feel hungry all the time. In fact, cravings will actually go away on a plant-based diet and, with some effort, food is incredibly satisfying."
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Studies have also found that switching to a plant-based diet can help decrease your chances of developing diabetes. In a 2009 study published by PMC, they looked at 60,000 men and women who followed a vegan diet and non-vegetarian diet. What they found was that the prevalence of diabetes was a lot higher for those who followed a non-vegetarian diet (7.6%) compared to those who follow a vegan diet (2.9%).
WhaVikki also claimed it has more health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, which she says is "the lynchpin" of most degenerative diseases killing Americans.
What is a plant-based diet?
Vikki explains that a plant-based diet is "A diet that primarily revolves around eating non-animal foods and provides a wide array of nutrients, which many experts believe holds the key to good health."
As plant-based diets become more popular, food brands have begun developing products to replace meat.
If you're not sure how to start a plant-based diet, Vikki recommends five tips to integrate it into your lifestyle.
Diets are hard work, and it doesn't happen overnight, which is why Vikki says you should start slow.
"Begin your plant-based journey with one day each week that you eschew animal-derived products. “Meatless Mondays” actually evolved from this idea," explained Vikki. "Make sure that you eat enough and include healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and healthy oils so that you are not left feeling “hangry.”
If you think a whole time is too much, then Vikki says to start out with a single meal and go from there.
Identify your favorite plant-based foods
"Include the fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes you have eaten and found enjoyable," said Vikki. "Then, add the animal-based dishes that are your favorites to your list so that you can begin to research plant-based alternatives. For example, “tuna pasta” was a family favorite that we now make completely plant-based, and everyone agrees it is better than the original!"
Finding these recipes and snacks can also make it easier for you to replace meals with meat.
Meal prep will not only save you time throughout the week but will also make it less tempting to cheat. Vikki also explained that it will give you time each week to educate yourself on what foods and meals will provide you with the right amount of protein and nutrients.
Use outside sources
If you're not a fan of cooking, Vikki recommends checking out other sources such as groceries store and restaurants that offer plant-based options.
"There are reasonably priced food services that provide step-by-step cooking instructions or, better yet, fully prepared meals for every meal and snack of your day," said Vikki. "It is a personalized choice you need to make, but you must prepare your food options to make the transition successful."
Aim for high-quality
For the days when you do decide to eat animal-based foods, Vikki says to make sure it's of high-quality. Meaning, you should look for organic, free-range, grass-fed meats and dairy.
"Eating only the highest quality animal products will provide higher nutritional value, and they will also be less inflammatory because they have not been fed GMO foods, eaten pesticides, or been given antibiotics (hopefully)," explained Vikki. "Eating such cleaner animals will align well with the nutrition you are receiving from your plant-based diet, and you will enjoy improved health and vitality."
Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.
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