Plant Power: How to Adopt a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet

Written by
Sara @ 8fit
vegetarian-meal-plan-vegetables
Written by
Sara @ 8fit
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Are you curious what going plant-based is all about? Or are you already following a plant-based lifestyle and want to incorporate even more whole foods into your diet? Fear not, we at 8fit are here to help! This eating approach is right up our alley; after all, eating foods packed with whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is what we live for!

If you don’t know where to start, no worries, we’ve got some pretty nifty ideas so you can whip up your own plant-based diet meal plan and understand the ins and outs to keeping track of your nutrition.

STILLLIFE veggies fruits

What is a plant-based diet?

You may have noticed that the term plant-based has become increasingly popular over the years, with people using it in to describe themselves in place of vegetarian or vegan. While some people who consider themselves to be plant-based forgo animal products entirely, others eat a minimal amount, whether in the form of meat, seafood, eggs or dairy products.

Some people identify as plant-based because the term offers a little bit more flexibility than the more rigid classifications of being vegan or vegetarian. No matter how you choose to define it, a plant-based diet is one that’s centered around eating foods like legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

What’s a whole-food, plant-based diet all about?

When we say whole-food, plant-based diet, we mean a diet that’s fresh, colorful, and nutritious. Probably more of a lifestyle than a diet, this way of eating places emphasis on foods that are free from additives and are minimally processed -- aka eating food in their freshest form. Opting for whole foods allows you to get the most out of a meal nutritionally speaking, while also providing your body with ample fiber that goes a long way to keeping you satiated, aids in weight loss and improves heart health.

An excellent example of how to opt for whole foods over processed ones would be to trade drinking store-bought orange juice for fresh, whole oranges. During the manufacturing process, oranges are stripped of their fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals, leaving you with a drink packed with fruit sugar and devoid of nutritional value. If you eat a whole orange instead, you’ll get the full spectrum of the fruit’s nutritional properties as well as fiber, which helps process the fruit’s natural sugars.

What should I eat on a whole-foods, plant-based diet?

How-to-Avoid-Feeling-Bloated-on-a-Plant-Based-Diet beans bowl

If you’re looking to follow a plant-based diet meal plan, it’s good to incorporate the following foods into your diet:

  • Legumes like chickpeas, lentils and soybeans

  • Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa (technically a pseudo-cereal), oats and millet

  • Plant-based protein including tofu, seitan, and tempeh

  • Beans including black, kidney, and pinto to name a few

  • Fres vegetables, fruits and herbs

  • Healthy fats in moderation like nuts, seeds, and olive oil or avocado oil

  • Lots and lots of water

What foods should I avoid?

Emily mindlessly eating on couch

Your whole-food, plant-based diet meal plan should ideally be free of:

  • Meat substitutes, as they’re usually heavily processed with high levels of sodium, sugars, and preservatives

  • Pre-packaged, processed foods

  • Fruit juices, sodas and sweetened teas

  • Sugary cereals or granolas

  • Fast junk food like potato chips

Plant-based diet benefits

Why try a whole food, plant-based diet? Here are just a few plant-based diet benefits you may reap over time:

Reduced risk of heart disease

Following a plant-based diet meal plan consisting primarily of whole foods may reduce your risk of heart disease and improve poor cholesterol levels. Why’s that? It’s because meat and animal products often contain higher levels of saturated fat and unhealthy cholesterol -- the main culprits in heart disease. By eliminating the majority of these foods from your diet, you may be able to keep heart disease at bay.

Weight loss

Probably one of the biggest perks to eating a plant-based diet is that it may aid in weight loss. One study showed that participants who only ate a vegetarian diet lost more weight than the those who consumed an omnivorous one.

Reduced risk of diabetes

Following a plant-based diet may prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes. The soluble fiber in plants and whole grains can help protect against diabetes, while legumes improve insulin resistance. By avoiding processed food, you may also end up consuming less pesky sugars. If you are prediabetic or diabetic, then steer clear rice and pasts, as well as veggies and fruits high in the glycemic index.

Eat with a clearer conscience

Some people go plant-based due to its milder impact on the environment. Studies suggest that adopting a plant-based diet on a global scale could even curb greenhouse gas emissions over time, thus making it beneficial for the earth as a whole.

How can I get my own whole-food, plant-based diet meal plan?

If putting together a weekly meal plan on by yourself seems daunting or you’re unsure where to begin, try out 8fit Pro. We’ll provide you with over 700 recipes that incorporate whole food and simple ingredients -- you can choose what foods to include or omit.

Our team of experienced nutritionists created these plant-based meal plans, so you can reach your health and wellbeing goals, no matter if you aim to lose weight, gain muscle, or even just feel more energized.

Make meal prep a breeze by customizing your weekly meals to your liking using 8fit’s weekly planner. You can change the number of servings of each recipe so that you can make a big batch to spread throughout the week. Better yet, 8fit’s grocery list feature allows you to know precisely what you need to buy when you hit the grocery store.

Alongside a library of HIIT workouts, surf-style training, and yoga courses, 8fit has everything you need to succeed in reaching your fitness goals. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an athlete, you’ll benefit from using 8fit.

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