A Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based Diet

As different styles of eating fall in and out of fashion, it can be confusing to try and understand how to eat the right food to be healthy and reach your fitness goals. Your nutrition journey is like a marathon- you cannot simply sprint and lose momentum. To make your nutrition journey a sustainable lifestyle rather than a punishment, adopting a holistic plant-based diet is the way to go!

We assure you this approach is yummier than you think!

Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.

This exciting new approach has taken the world by a storm because of two reasons: 

  •  A healthy plant-based diet is the best way to improve mental health, build a strong body, reduce the chance of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, and to extend your life.
  • It is animal-cruelty free and helps reduce our carbon emissions.

 

Noteworthy sportsmen like Virat Kohli, Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams and stars like Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, to name a few, have transitioned to a plant-based diet to up their fitness levels.
                                               

                                                                                                 

Nutritionist, Dr. Subiya Baiganpali, MSc Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends switching to a plant based diet is better not just individually but also globally- as it not only helps reduce and reverse the risks of heart diseases, cholesterol imbalances, incidence of diabetes type 2 and inflammation; but also helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore can be touted as environment friendly. 

As you get ready to make a holistic switch in your lifestyle, it is imperative to understand that your nutritional journey is yours and it can be as flexible as you like. Remember, choosing to follow a plant-based lifestyle does not mean you need to compromise on taste and/or nutrition. The key is to take one step at a time, balance it out and make your food as colourful and delicious as you please!

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Cook a veggie meal one night a week: While transitioning into a plant-based diet, make sure you do not eliminate any food groups all at once. You can start with cooking a veggie meal one night a week and slowly increase the frequencies by replacing your conventional meals with a rather healthier and plant-based version. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.

Dr. Subiya Baiganpali says, “Focus on replacing or substituting food items instead of completely eliminating food groups. For ex. Replacing a standard 120 gm serving of animal protein with 150 gm of cooked rajmah or chhole or any other legume. Although it may be challenging to switch to a plant based diet, it can be done gradually by trying to practice including vegetarian meal options and limiting alternative options to certain days only like the weekend.  This can be a good habit to form a practice in the long run.”

  • Eat lots of vegetables: Vegetables are the best source to get your daily vitamins and minerals in, in a low caloric way. Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner. Make sure you include plenty of colors in choosing your vegetables. You can also enjoy vegetables as a snack. Simple grill or roast veggies of your choice and dip it in some good hummus, salsa or guacamole and enjoy!
  • Choose good fats: It is essential to consume good fats in order to give your body energy, support cell growth, protect your organs and keep your body warm. To incorporate good fats, you can perhaps drizzle a spoon of olive oil in your salad as a garnishing, snack on nuts, seeds or avocado toasts. 
  • Include wholegrains for breakfast: You can start incorporating wholegrains like oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy. You can start your day with a breakfast of wholegrains, fruits and nuts to give you the energy boost you need, and get the perfect head start to your day. Our personal recommendation- rolled oats in plant-based milk topped with fruits of your choice and nuts. Idlis, poha, dhokla are also some excellent alternatives for a healthy and rejuvenating breakfast. 
  • Say yes to greens: Try a variety of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens each day. Steam, grill, braise, or stir-fry to preserve their flavor and nutrients.
    Tip- you can increase the intake of your greens by making healthy theplas. Simply add in the greens into the dough and you can make theplas 10x more nutritious and yummy!
  • Consume salad bowls: Salads, in India, are usually considered as a side-dish, rather than a meal. This cannot be more inaccurate. You can make your salads filling and full of flavours. Fill a bowl with salad greens such as romaine, spinach, Bibb, or red leafy greens. Add an assortment of other vegetables along with fresh herbs, beans or peas. 
  • Eat fruits for dessert: Sugar is Satan’s evil spawn! Swap out high-calorie desserts for some seasonal fruits. These will not only provide you with essential vitamins, but also satisfy your craving for a sweet bite after a meal. 

For people who do not have time to track their macronutrients on a daily basis or for someone needing an extra serving of protein after their workouts, you can supplement your diet with OZiva’s clean and plant-based nutrition supplements. Backed by studies in Ayurveda, these supplements are here to help you obtain the nutrients that you cannot from your current diet. 

In the end, we hope that you can successfully switch and if you manage to make a complete shift, pat yourself for taking this exceptional step for your long-term health goals.

Because remember, plant-based nutrition is not simply a diet, it’s a lifestyle!

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