5 Health Benefits of Consuming a Plant-Based Diet

Have you considered incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet? We are talking about the five health benefits of consuming a plant-based diet and tips for making the transition!

Have you considered transitioning to a plant-based diet? Learn about the health benefits and get tips for making the transition by clicking through! #healthy #plantbased

Chances are, you’ve heard of the popular trend “Meatless Monday” and you may even incorporate it into your weekly menu planning. But do you really know the health benefits of going meatless?

My Personal Experience

My husband and I have been eating more plant-based meals for a few months now and we have both noticed a difference in the way we look and feel. We both attribute our new way of eating to feeling more energized throughout the day (my husband even requests green smoothies every morning now!). Personally, I have noticed that I am less bloated, have clearer, brighter skin and feel healthier overall from the inside out!

The craziest thing is that in removing certain foods from our household (helloooo sweets and packaged foods!), I have found myself actually craving these nutrient-rich plant-based foods that my body is now accustomed to.

Aside from our personal experience (as if that’s not enough to get you motivated!) let’s look at the cold hard facts presented to us from the experts.

The 5 Health Benefits of Consuming a Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet has been recommended by health experts for years as a way to achieve optimal health. According to a recent nutritional update for physicians promoting plant-based diets, these benefits include:

  • Weight Management (this could be due to the high fiber intake found in many plant-based foods. Fiber helps keep us fuller for longer and helps prevent overeating!)
  • Decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Overall heart health and lower risk of heart disease
  • Prevention of high blood pressure
  • Decreased risk of certain cancers

Another added bonus beyond our health that we’ve seen is that plant-based meals tend to be more budget-friendly, especially when planning for and cooking these meals at home.

fall harvest mason jar salad // FitLiving

You want me to do what?

The idea of committing to a plant-based diet may seem a little intimidating for some people. That’s okay! I believe that you do not have to be 100% vegetarian or vegan to reap the benefits that foods from natural plant sources can have on our health.

If I’m being honest, my husband and I really don’t follow one “diet” method. In our household, we aim to eat whole, nutrient-dense foods from organic sources when possible (and when the budget allows) and consume plant-based meals about 70% of the week.

The goal here is to focus on what can be added to your diet for a healthy lifestyle; not on what should be removed or taken away. No one wants be told what not to eat, right? It just makes us want it even more! Naturally, the addition of fruits, vegetables, plant-based protein sources and whole grains will crowd out some of the not-so-good-for-you foods you may be currently reaching for.

Tips for Plant-Based Newbies

Start small! Never cooked a plant-based meal in your life? Start with Meatless Monday! Incorporate one plant-based meal into your weekly routine until you are comfortable with adding more.

Drink your nutrients. One of my favorite ways to get my fruits and veggies in for the day is to drink a green smoothie or juice. These drinks are chock full of nutrients that will help give you an energy boost and pep in your step!

blueberry pie smoothie // FitLivingAdd umami to your dishes. What does that fancy word mean anyways? Umami is the taste sensation that is considered to make foods savory, complex and deeply flavorful. In traditional American diets this is largely achieved through a variety of meats. For those looking for the same depth of flavor that is satisfying and a welcome addition to their plant-based meal might include foods such as: mushrooms, tomatoes, nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds and savory spices.

Don’t forget about protein! A concern for many vegetarians is not consuming enough protein throughout the day. However, there are many foods that contain this necessary nutrient that might not immediately come to mind such as: quinoa, hemp hearts, nuts, beans, lentils, chia seeds, tofu and nutritional yeast.

Sneak in veggies where you can. If you have a picky-eating significant other or family, you’re going to want to find ways to sneak in veggies where they go unnoticed. Some of my favorite ways to do this is to use ½ steamed cauliflower and ½ potatoes when making mashed potatoes, substitute some of the beef in spaghetti sauce with mushrooms, or add leafy greens to your fruit smoothies.

Have you considered a plant-based diet? What are your favorite plant-based meals?

*It’s important to note that I am not a medical professional and base the above information on my own personal experience and expert research. If you are considering a new diet, it is advised that you consult with your primary physician or registered dietitian.

-Carly Paige

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41 Responses

  1. I would love to switch to completely plant based diet. I am working on it hard. I have a hard time with protein. I absolutely LOVE quinoa but it give me bad indigestion and bloating and I have tree nut allergies. So all the good stuff is out of the question. I need to do more research and learn what I can substitute it with.

    By the way I am a huge fan of your blog lol

    Maya

  2. Of course there are many benefits for eating plants, unfortunately they are not so apetisable as the other choices. I would like to find more recipe on how make plants more tasty!

    1. I totally understand, Erika! I like to make a lot of soups and stews, salads and grain bowls. Try first adding vegetables to whatever you are already making to help get accustomed to the taste, and then try going meatless for a few meals 🙂

    2. Erika they CAN be appetising! Meat in it’s non flavored form isn’t appetizing at all, hence all the BBQ sauce, etc. Use those same flavors in your meatfree meals!

  3. Great post with a gorgeous photo! I also notice a difference when I eat a plant-based diet versus one heavy in meats. It’s fascinating to me how foods affect our bodies and mood. I also really appreciate your comment about picky-eaters….that’s my husband and son! I always have to sneak in the healthy stuff.

    1. Thanks, Meridith! I agree – it is funny how foods affect our bodies and what our body craves! Sometimes my husband gets a little weary of the veggie meals, so I have to get creative and sneak them in, too!

  4. I loved that period of my life after an ayurvedic resort when I ate only vegetable!
    Thank you for sharing this amazing post

  5. I honestly would never do a plant based diet, but some weeks I eat a lot more plant based foods and then others include more meats and poultry. It depends on what my body is craving and then I kind of just go with it. It also depends on what is in the fridge too…LOL!

    1. I think it’s so important to listen to your body! I don’t do a plant-based diet 100% of the time because I love food too much and I think that meat can have a place in a healthy diet, but I do try and focus on getting as many fruits and veggies in as I can!

  6. Smoothies are my go to for getting more fruit and plant based stuff! My two and a half year old LOVES them and I can get him a full dose of spinach before breakfast!

    1. I love hearing that your son loves smoothies with spinach… that’s great! Smoothies are a great way to get a chock full of nutrients 🙂

    1. That is a great idea, Karen! I love adding fresh herbs to my dishes to help brighten them up and give it a boost in nutrients!

    1. That’s great! It’s a great feeling knowing what your body needs and what makes you feel the best, isn’t it?

  7. Hi Carly! I think the big concern for me has always been protein (like you mention), but with the right combination of plant-based foods, you can get complete proteins — that’s the beauty of quinoa for sure. I would say I eat plant-based (plus eggs) at least a couple of days a week, but my hubby definitely doesn’t. It would be cool to have a specific meatless day for dinner for both of us, so maybe we’ll give it a try!

    1. That seems to be a general concern for most people at the thought of going plant-based. It is definitely harder to get your protein in, but it is doable! Let me know how the meatless night goes 🙂

  8. Your blog is adorable and this post is great! I need to get my husband to eat healthier and he is not convinced about greens and non-meat proteins lol. This reminds me that I need to keep trying!

    1. Thank you, Chantal! Yes, keep trying. I like looking at the plate as the veggie dish as the main, and the meat as the side for those who are looking to transition into eating more plant-based meals. Slowly, but surely, you’ll get there!

  9. We’ve been incorporating a lot more plant based meals into our diet as well! Our concern was finding meatless recipes that would fill us up AND be delicious- and we’ve found tons!

    1. Yes, there are a lot of great meatless recipes out there! I think more and more people are getting on board and offering yummy, healthy plant-based recipes!

  10. I’ve been vegan for 2 1/2 years and vegetarian for 20 years before that. It’s really not difficult to go plant based. I’m a plant based personal trainer, fitness instructor and yoga teacher!

    1. Wow! That’s great, Di. You are a great example of someone who has adapted the plant-based lifestyle in a healthy way 🙂

    1. Yeah, my husband is not a fan of tofu, so I incorporate protein through other methods such as quinoa and beans!

  11. Great post !I recently went vegetarian for a month and was amazed at how much willpower it takes! BUT there are a ton of meat substitute products for people like me who find it harder to transition.

  12. I know you mean “what you eat” when you use it, but I loathe the word “diet.” When I switched to a plant-based way of eating, I actually started to eat a much wider variety of foods. It wasn’t a plan, but more of an accident; after I moved to Oregon (and then California) so much more fresh produce was available right from the farmer’s market. I’m still not a fancy cook, but I have gotten more confident at cooking for one. (Cooking for 30? I have aced that. Fancy-ass dinner party? All over it. But cooking for one is such a pain!)

    1. The word “diet” can have a lot of stigma around it for sure. I am right there with you on eating a wider variety of foods after focusing on consuming more plant-based meals! I would be so intimidated to cook for that many people.. you go girl!

  13. Honestly, I’ve never considered a plant based diet. There are certainly days that meals get cooked without any meat, but it’s not something I’m conscious about. I do get what your saying about cravings! When I put effort to cook ‘whole’ foods, I crave them more and more. 🙂

    1. I think it’s important to find what works for you! I have found that by not limiting myself to certain foods, but instead focusing on incorporating specific foods into my diet has helped 🙂

Hi! I’m Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert and chef who believes that healthy doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring or restrictive. I’m here to show you how through my Simply Swapped Method so that you can feel more energized and confident from within. You’ll find tips for focusing on nutrition in the kitchen, along with plant-powered, gluten-free recipes that proves healthy can be delicious.