Are you thinking of starting a plant-based diet but you’re overwhelmed with the controversial information everywhere? Honestly, we don’t blame you. Getting started with anything is difficult in itself. Getting started with a new diet is even harder. But getting started with a plant-based diet takes on a whole new level as it means a major change in your lifestyle.
Following a plant-based diet basically means prioritising all plant products and replacing animal products with plant-based options. That does not mean you need to go vegan straight away and exclude every animal product. Let us show you what your options are and you choose which is the best for you.
Flexitarian: The word flexitarian stems from the combination of flexible and vegetarian, which basically explains the concept already. In a flexitarian diet, plant-based foods are encouraged and meat consumption is allowed once in a while. It is an easy start to a plant-based diet. No food groups are strictly forbidden or excluded. Start with cutting out meat and fish once or twice a week. All of the meals should be relying heavily on whole foods and vegetables. Introducing fun meatless weekdays, like Meatless Mondays, is an excellent way of introducing a plant-based diet to your family.
Vegetarian: The vegetarian diet might be one of the most known plant-based diets. Following a vegetarian diet is not only beneficial for the environment but has also been proven to be good for your overall health. Worldwide, there’s an estimated number of 375 million vegetarians. One of the first records of a vegetarian diet is found in the ancient religions Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism in India. In these religions, they believe to live with kindness and without doing any harm to a living being. They put a great spiritual value on their animals. According to the vegetarian society, following a vegetarian diet means to exclude any (by-)products of slaughter. The vegetarian diet does not include the consumption of meat, poultry, fish and seafood, insects, gelatine or animal rennet, broth and fat from animals. That also means that getting all the necessary nutrients can be difficult. Since some animal products provide easily accessible- and essential vitamins to our bodies, cutting them out of your diet can lead to anemia, fatigue, and immunodeficiency. Make sure to eat a great variety of all food groups to get as much of the essential nutrients as possible. That is especially important on any plant-based diet!
Pescetarian: A pescetarian diet is very similar to a vegetarian diet. But just like the name is suggesting, you can eat seafood and fish. Meat, however, is excluded from this diet. Including fish and seafood into the diet can actually be very helpful when managing pre-diabetes and weight. The proteins and omega-3 fats are very good for heart health and balancing blood sugar because it keeps you full for longer. However, there are some things consumers should be aware of when buying fish. Make sure you check the packaging for eco-labels. It’s better to buy fish from a fresh and ethically sourced supplier. The fish, seafood, and meat industry are very exploited and have a high carbon footprint. That is why it is so important to reduce our consumption and choose wisely.
Vegan: Veganism is the youngest diet of them all and is a derivative from the vegetarian diet. That’s why both diets share big parts of their history. In 1951, the vegan society published the first definition of veganism, basing the diet on the Indian philosophy of doing no harm to any living being. Following a vegan diet means excluding any and all (by-)products that come from animals. No eggs, no cheese, no leather shoes, no honey. The vegan diet is nothing for the lighthearted. Reasons for going vegan vary a lot. Some want to reduce their carbon footprint, stop animal exploitation or others see their health as the reason-why. Because of the various reasons and exclusivity, the vegan diet is known to be the most controversial. There is a whole subculture advocating for their beliefs. Making the vegan diet rather a lifestyle than a diet.
If you love meat, try out the flexitarian diet. Remember that forming a new habit takes 21 days. Be patient and if you feel comfortable, reduce the meat-days step by step. No matter which plant-based diet you choose, each step into limiting your meat consumption, protecting the environment, and taking care of your health is a step in the right direction. Choose what works for you and your family!
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