Should I Start a Plant-based Diet in 2021?
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New Year, New You
As the new year rolls on, it’s a great time to think about kickstarting a healthier lifestyle. A shining light of a rather grim 2020 was the growing popularity of plant-based diets as people sought to cut down on consuming meat.
‘Fake’ burgers, pork and other products really went mainstream last year with restaurants and supermarkets embracing the trend.
We’re absolutely certain that more and more people are going to go green-food crazy, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons of starting a plant based diet and how you can sustain this habit for years to come.
What is a Plant Based Diet?
You may have seen packets of “Beyond Burger” or “OmniPork” in your local supermarket, but what are they? They’re basically foods made mostly from things such as mushrooms, nuts, seeds or beans.
The beauty of a plant-based diet means that you don’t have to cut meat out completely from your diet, in fact many people simply substitute a ‘fake’ meat for a meal or two.
“To the vegan, it’s a complete substitute. But for flexitarians, it is one more choice for them,” said David Yeung, founder and chief executive of Green Monday Corp. which created a luncheon meat substitute called OmniPork.
Yeung told MindEasy that the main objective of creating OmniPork was fuelled by his concerns over how consuming meat affects the environment, people’s health and animals.
“We are providing options to people so less pigs will be harmed and killed,” he said.
Is a Plant-Based Diet Healthy?
Reducing your meat intake, especially red meat like beef, can help lessen your cholesterol levels as you’ll be cutting down on saturated fat. In fact, plant-based diets will help increase your fibre intake given that you’ll be eating more vegetables, in turn it’ll help your gut absorb good nutrients.
Eating a lot of meat can sometimes even lead to health problems like heart disease given the higher level of ‘bad’ fat.
That said, plant-based diets also carry some risks – an inadequate intake of protein can affect vitamin and protein levels. For children especially, protein is essential for growth and brain development.
Adjusting to a plant-based diet for adults may mean that you’ll need to supplement with additional vitamins.
In particular there’s something called choline found in foods like fish, poultry, dairy and eggs, which helps to boost your memory and improve cognition. It’s also beneficial in many other ways such as helping to boost one’s metabolism.
If you’re going to embark on a diet with less or even no meat, experts suggest you incorporate some of these choline-rich foods into a plant-based diet:
We recently asked one of our MindEasy users, who professed to being a “meat-y through and through” to taste-test a plant-based burger and luncheon meat OmniPork sandwich.
“I actually was surprised by the taste and texture of the OmniPork, it did taste like pork” he said.
He equally thought that the Beyond Burger was good, having BBQ-ed a few for himself and family, but needed a lot of condiments like to give it a “beefy burger taste,” he told us.
Beyond Burgers are made largely from pea protein.
“They just need a bit more preparation to get them to that ‘meaty’ taste,” he added.
That said, he noted that he’d probably only eat plant-based products on a now and again basis.
“It’s quite expensive” he mentioned, referring to the Beyond Burger. They’re generally pricier than their meat-cousins because the production process is more expensive and the supply chain for the ingredients is less established.
Some Famous Faces ...
who’ve adopted more of a plant-based diet include singer Ariana Grande, music mogul Simon Cowell and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, while Kelly Osborne, offspring of rocker Ozzy Osborne, shed around six stones after recently becoming vegan.
For them, and many of us, we will all have different reasons to turn to the plant – be it for health, the environment or to cut down on killing animals for consumption.
Why Do People Go Vegan?
Useful Links and Books About Eating Plants and How to Get Started:
How to get started:
The Plant – Based Diet Meal Plan
Great for recipe inspiration:
The Plant Based Diet for Beginners: 75 Delicious, Healthy Whole Food Recipes