So, maybe you're thinking about going Vegetarian or your thinking about adding more plants to your diet, well, I prefer saying 'eating regime' instead of diet. It can be a minefield, there is so much information out there, where do you start?
I love researching about food, ingredients, designing recipes and understanding what these different foods can do to benefit our health. I then decided that I would like to add more plants to my eating regime, here is what I found out:-
Research shows that limiting the amount of animal foods and processed foods can have an impact on your health and wellbeing, but you don't need to dive straight in and cut out all animal foods. Sometimes this only makes you crave more of what you have completely cut out.
Different Plant-based Diets (Eating regimes!)
So what do you eat? Well, I checked out most of the common diets out there and what the differences are, here is some very basic information :-
Mediterranean - High in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, wholegrains, fish and un-saturated fats like olive oil, avocado oil. And a low intake of meats and dairy foods.
Vegetarian (or Flexitarian) - Plant-based foods, including whole vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Dairy and eggs are consumed but 'No' meat or fish are eaten.
Vegan - This diet contains only plant-based foods, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes. Vegans do not consume any foods that come from animal, including dairy products and eggs.
Pescatarian (or Pesco-vegetarian) - In case you didn't know, Pesce is the Italian word for fish. The Pescatarian diet includes fish, shellfish, vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, eggs, dairy products.
Planatarian - Eating plant-based, natural, fresh, wholefoods for your health and the health of the planet, eating vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds.
Nutritarian - Eat to Live - Plant-based, nutrient-dense, disease-fighting superfoods are eaten on this diet, which was designed by Dr Joel Fuhrman. The diet is based on a 6 week plan, quitting meat, dairy and cutting down on some carbs such as bread & pasta and omitting sugar and oil. Based on eating whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, wholegrains.
Benefits of mainly a plant-based eating regime
May reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and lower the risk of cancer. Can also lower weight and increase energy levels.
It's important to remember that if you leave meat, fish and dairy off your plate, then you need to make sure you eat the right plant-based foods that contain an important blance of nutrients like, iron, calcium, iodine, vitamins D, B12 and omega 3 fatty acids.
You will need to follow a varied and balanced eating regime that provides you with enough energy to promote physical and mental wellbeing.
Do get advice
When starting a new eating regime, always consult your Doctor before making any changes.
If you are thinking of becoming 100% plant-based then consulting a professional Nutritionalist would be benefical so they can make sure you're eating a nutrient balanced regime.
Here are a few recipes that I've designed, if you're thinking of trying them please let me know what you think, and don't forget, you can add meat or fish and even dairy.
Breakfast - Creamy Overnight Oats (Serves 3)
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups almond milk (homemade of shop bought)
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon ground almond
4 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Blueberries for topping
Put the blueberries and sunflower seeds to one side and place all of the other ingredients into a bowl and mix well, cover and store in the fridge overnight to thicken. Stir the mixture and serve in jars or bowls, top with the blueberries and sunflower seeds.
Lunch - Smooth Lentil Soup (Serves 4)
400g dried lentils, cooked
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 vegetable stock pot
1/2 teaspoon of each, ground tumeric, paprika, cumin, coriander
Water - to top up to the level of Morphy Richards Soupmaker
Seasoning to taste
Place all the ingredients into the Morphy Richards Soupmaker or a soupmaker and select smooth programme.
Dinner - Green Carbonara & Spaghetti (Serves 4)
4 courgettes, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 small bag of kale
1 small bag of spinach
300g chesnut mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 vegetable stock pot
1/2 cup of hot water
2 tablespoons cream cheese, dairy or lactose free
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Seasoning to taste
250g Spaghetti, I use gluten free but you can use whatever you prefer
Add the hot water and vegetable stock to a pan and let simmer down, add the onion and simmer until soft, add the courgettes, kale, mushrooms and garlic and cook until soft, you may need to add more hot water as you go along so you have a liquid base. Cook the spaghetti as per the packet suggests. To the vegetables, add the spinach, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper and slowly stir in the cream cheese. Once the spaghetti is cooked, add to the vegetables and season to taste.
Don't forget to add meat, fish etc if you don't want a completely plant based meal.
Sweet Snack - Banchoco Mousse (Serves 2)
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon 100% nut butter
1 cup almond milk
Whizz all the ingredients in a blender, divide into 2 bowls and put in the fridge for 20 minutes, than add a sprig of basil and eat!
I really hope you've enjoyed this short blog and hope you try the recipes above. I now maintain a 80%/20% balance of plant-based eating regime and I also enjoy experimenting.