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Eat More Plants
Publish date: Dec 3, 2014
Summary: Far from boring, a plant-based diet can be not only good for you, but more delicious than you’ve dared to dream.
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In an article published in a journal for physicians and medical staff, researchers reported, “Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates.”1
Packed with nutrients, fibre and health-boosting phyto-chemicals, it’s no wonder plants are so good for us. In light of the research, authors of the article, three medical doctors and a dietician, concluded that “Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.”
Unfortunately, they noted that “a lack of awareness of these diets or a lack of patient education resources” could be reasons behind why many physicians do not recommend a plant-based diet to their patients.
The article also noted that “A healthy, plant-based diet aims to maximize consumption of nutrient-dense plant foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods (including dairy products and eggs).”2 Recommended foods include lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), seeds and small quantities of nuts.
If you were ever told to eat your veggies, you already knew that plants are good for you. But if you’re confounded about what it means to use a plant-based diet to improve your health, you’re certainly not alone. Happily, eating a plant-based diet is really quite simple. Plus there are lots of resources available to help you with your plant-based diet adventure. Here are some simple ideas for you to try that will help you get more plants into your diet.
Spend more time in the produce section. Never made a meal with dragon fruit or edamame? If your grocery store has stuff in the produce section that you’ve never tried, it’s time to investigate. Find out what you like, learn basic ways to prepare a greater variety of vegetables and fruits and include them in your diet.
Start with a recipe, then do your own thing. Pick up a good recipe book on plant-based foods. Colourful photos can be inspiring, so choose a cookbook that shows delicious-looking dishes. The internet is a great place to find plant-based food inspiration, too. Try a few recipes, but don’t stop there. Once you’ve discovered a new favourite, make the dish your own by tweaking the recipe to suit your tastes.
Sauce it up. More than just a condiment, good plant-based sauces can turn a bland dish into something spectacular while adding important nutrients. For example, a tahini dressing (see below for recipe) will boost your calcium intake, a flax oil dressing will give you important fatty acids. Sauces can be super simple to make. Learn how to stir up a few great sauces to make any meal special.
Use your blender more. Is your blender gathering dust? Time to learn how to use that thing! You can make creamy veggie soups, nutrient-rich smoothies and ready-in-seconds sauces in your blender.
Think like a painter. Eating the rainbow helps to ensure you’re getting a variety of foods and nutrients in your plant-based diet. Think of how the food will look on your plate when you’re planning meals. Punch up your plate with jolts of deep colours.
Get a bigger bowl. One dish meals can be fast, easy, nutrient-dense and delicious. Here’s an example. Put freshly cooked quinoa in the bottom of your bowl, top with a pile of chopped greens, drizzle with freshly made dressing and sprinkle with sliced almonds or sesame seeds. In no time flat, you can prepare this tasty meal-in-a-bowl that delivers palate pleasing texture and flavour along with protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Sounds like a delicious prescription for better health.
Think green. "Greens are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health," says Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, quoted on WebMD.3 If you’re concerned about getting enough vitamins, minerals, health-protecting antioxidants, or fibre, eat more greens. Think beyond that boring bowl of garden salad with its bland iceberg lettuce and tiny bit of tomato for colour. Try out all the greens at the grocery store. Experiment with growing a variety of greens. Then eat greens at every meal. Add leafy greens to smoothies, (fresh pineapple chunks or juice and a frozen banana can help the flavour and texture), top whole grains with chopped leaves and sprouts, blend them into soups.
With help from a plant-based diet, you can eat your way toward a healthier you.
Brown Rice Bowl RecipeYou Will Need:
Cooked quinoa or brown rice
Chopped greens (try arugula, kale, pea sprouts, bok choy, baby romaine, etc.)
Herbs (try green onions, basil, garlic greens, etc.)
Seeds or nuts (try sliced almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, etc.)
Layer ingredients in a bowl in the order given and dig in!
Tahini Dressing Recipe
Stir together these ingredients:
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame butter – look for it in the international foods aisle)
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce or Bragg All-Purpose Soy Seasoning
2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
enough water to make it pourable.
Healthy eating really can be that easy. Even getting enough protein from a plant-based diet can be simple.
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