So how can eating more plants help you lose weight? The weight loss journey is different for everyone. There is no one yellow-brick road that’ll take you to where you want to be, it’s more like a forest with slivers of sunlight coming from every direction. Which ray is the right one to follow? That all depends on you.
One of the tracks you can try is a plant-based lifestyle. With this modification to your eating habits, you might find it easier to lose unhealthy fats and maintain your healthy body easier. Before we dive into the technicalities of a plant-based diet and weight loss, let’s first go over what a plant-based diet actually is.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
The best thing about a plant-based diet is its versatility. A plant-based diet is not restrictive, but extremely flexible. You may notice some people use vegan or vegetarian interchangeably with plant-based, and they’re technically correct.
The basis of the diet is supposed to prioritize plants on your plate. You can build off of this foundation however you want. Eat vegetables, legumes, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, oils, herbs, and spices. All of this falls under a balanced plant-based diet. You could potentially add dairy, eggs, and seafood, depending on the diet you’re following. Some might even be lenient enough to allow meat on occasion.
Whole plant-based foods meet most of my nutritional needs. I choose to eat fresh, local, whenever possible organic, and non-genetically modified foods as much as possible. I focus on whole food plant-based meals. Plants have become the stars of my meals focusing on vegetables, fruits, gluten-free whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, leafy greens, and healthy oils.
I eat what’s considered a “vegan” diet; for the planet, the animals, and health. But I choose not to label my diet in any way.
My relationship with food has changed over the years. I developed sensitivities to gluten and dairy and therefore decided it was best to eliminate them. Take it one step at a time. The journey is different for everyone.
If this confuses you a bit, then let’s break down the generic plant-based diet into more precise categories.
What Are Possible Plant-Based Diets?
The first diet plan we’ll evaluate is the strictest of them all; a vegan diet. This diet allows only plant-based foods and restricts all foods sourced from animals. This does not only mean meat, but it also means seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs. All of this is considered off-limits.
Many people might choose this diet for a variety of reasons. It could relate to animal wellness, environmental awareness, or the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. Whatever the reason, it’s a commitment to completely exclude animal products from your diet. It can be a very difficult jump to make if you’re not accustomed to meals that are focused on plants only.
It’s also a diet that might rely on a few supplements, depending on the plan you choose to follow. See your doctor, for more details.
A vegetarian diet, also known as a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet simply restricts all meats, including fish and seafood. If you’re sticking to the classic vegetarian diet, then it allows dairy and eggs. There are two more restricted variations of a vegetarian diet, however. These are the Lacto-vegetarian and ovo-vegetarian diets.
- The ovo-vegetarian diet excludes dairy. This means no milk, cream, cheese, butter, or yogurt, but includes eggs.
- The lacto-vegetarian diet allows dairy but does not include eggs.
A pescatarian diet is more forgiving than the ones listed above. In order to get your protein and omega-3 fatty acids, this diet permits seafood, fish, and shellfish. Any other meat is off of the menu. You can play with this however you want if you want eggs and dairy or not.
Finally, there is the flexitarian diet. This definition is closest to what a plant-based diet aspires to be. No restrictions, simply good priorities. Your focus should be centered on putting plants in all of your dishes. Try to make them your first ingredients, and then think about everything else later.
You don’t have to completely cut off meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, or anything. Just think twice before you buy, and when you’re making food at home. Remember, there is always a healthier option mother nature has to provide.
Can Eating More Plants Help Lose Weight?
The answer to this question is yes!
A plant-based diet moves you away from the processed foods you buy at stores and closer to whole foods and homemade healthy foods. Remember, processed foods have additives, preservatives, and unwanted ingredients that you properly can’t even read on their labels.
When it comes to whole foods, you’re buying foods that are mostly organic if possible, and natural. They’re not manipulated, they’re not artificial, and all of their goodness is as fresh and clean as it’ll come.
Resorting to a plant-based lifestyle can help you lose weight naturally. It’s healthier not to rely on shakes and supplements to find your goal. For canned and packaged goods always remember that there are also plant-based alternatives for those as well which might not last as long but will certainly be healthier in the long run.
Weight loss will only be achieved when you prioritize the following in your diet:
- Fiber over protein. Protein can actually be recovered easier than fiber can. Most people suffer from a deficiency in fiber than they do protein but focus on the latter because they’re no longer eating meat.
- Always drink water. No matter how many smoothies, shakes, or juices you make, there is simply no replacing water in your body. You need to drink water every day.
- Try finding whole-sourced healthy fats from whole foods. Examples of this are avocados, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.
- To keep your blood sugar in check, eat foods like apples, quinoa, spinach, beans, oats, and berries.
- Consume carbs differently than you typically do. Beans, legumes, whole grains, and sweet potatoes, all of these contain complex carbs which take longer to digest but are healthy and better options to meet your required carb count.
Do I Need to Exercise with a Plant-Based Diet?
Absolutely! Dieting is only half of the fight to keep yourself in shape!
A good diet will only improve your overall health so much. The next step is to start working towards a more active lifestyle. People were not made to sit idle all day. Walking, running, or any kind of activity involving manual effort is your first step to getting in shape.
Next, start adding exercise to your routine. The morning is the best time to fit in a quick workout. Don’t try anything too intense if you’re not used to working out every day. Yoga, pilates, workouts with weights, it’s up to you what you take up.
If you found this article helpful and looking to gain confidence in the kitchen by cooking healthy meals with more plant-based foods, then be sure to check out the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Their program is vegan and paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and dairy-free!
You can also check out the Plant Based Eva YouTube Channel where I post recipes and advice vlogs on how to manage on a plant-based lifestyle.
Eating more plants can help lose weight and more! Start now. Ditch the junk, unprocessed foods.
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