How To Start Eating A Plant Based Diet TODAY!

At healthy, plant based diet should consist of good quality protein from an array of different sources, low GI carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. All of these will work together to keep you satiated and full and cravings at bay.

In this post you will learn how to start eating a plant based diet today. We will show you how to combine your macronutrients to help you achieve a healthy well-rounded diet that will boost your health and vitality to the next level.

Other advantages will include stable blood sugar and even weight loss. Keeping blood sugar stable is the cornerstone of good health, and will help keep you within a healthy BMI range and your weight down.

The role of Sugar and Chronic inflammation

candies and sweets

Sugar is a contributer to inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation is thought to be the driver of many diseases. But, you can temper this inflammation by changing your diet and adding more alkaline plant plant foods in general.

Many people have different ideas and beliefs as to what constitutes a healthy diet. And, many of these beliefs are more than likely misguided.

There are so many different diets and healthy eating plans out there that it can all get very confusing. We are obsessed by food. And, this is more evident now than ever before what with the culture of Instagram and other social media platforms all awash with pictures of beautifully prepared meals.

Which “diet” should I choose?

We are in a culture filled with so many different types of ‘diets’ and ways of eating. We have veganism, whole foods plant based, raw vegan, high protein, low carb, fruitarian; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce – excuse the pun.

There are also lots of different short term diet plans and detoxification systems out there all promising you that fabulous beach body in an impossible amount of time.

It’s exhausting, and can leave you pretty confused; or worse still, completely despondent about which way to turn.

But, fear not, you don’t need to go on some set up to fail crazy diet plan to get to where you want to go. Simply apply small changes that will add up over time. For instance, swap your usual mid-afternoon snack of biscuits or cake, for a handful of nuts and a piece of fresh fruit. OR, eat less starchy potatoes with your main meal and pile on the green veggies instead.

These small changes (when applied daily) will start building new neural pathways in your brain, until in the end they become habit.

Change one small thing each week as per example, and just think how quickly this will set you on the path for LIFELONG changes. Which is ultimately what you need to aim for if you want increased vitality, a stronger immune system, and a longer, happier life. Well worth the effort it right?

The benefits of a whole foods plant based diet

mixed salad

If you were to give up the animal products and begin your plant based journey today, you would find immense health benefits. These may include:-

  • MORE ENERGY AND VITALITY
  • LOWER CHRONIC INFLAMMATION LEADING TO LESS ACHES AND PAINS
  • WEIGHT LOSS
  • GLOWING AND CLEAR SKIN
  • HIGHER FITNESS LEVELS
  • FINDING IT EASIER TO GET PHYSICALLY FIT
  • BETTER MOOD
  • HORMONE BALANCE
  • LOWER RISK OF CHRONIC DISEASE

Junk foods list

This post is designed to help you understand the foods you should be be eating for better health. Also, the foods you should cut down on, and how to implement correct food combining to be sure you are receiving all the nutrients you need

Remember, you don’t need to ditch everything at once. Just start with a few items a week; or make simple swaps as you go along.

Here’s an awesome list to be getting on with:-

  • Anything deep-fried
  • Animal products
  • Confectionery such as sweets, pastries, biscuits and cakes
  • All kinds of vegetable oils such as corn, canola, soybean, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed
  • Anything refined such as white bread, white flour, white rice, white sugar and white pasta
  • Fast foods such as burgers, fries, pizzas and takeaways
  • Ready meals/ frozen meals such as pizza, pies, chips and most things in the frozen section. Exceptions are frozen vegetables, fruits, and some ranges of healthier low salt, low fat convenience meals
  • Fizzy drinks and fruit juices

busy people meal plans

Foods to add in to your diet

To keep things simple, you will find foods put into the groups of the nutrients they are dominant in. Therefore, if you choose your meals from all of these groups then you are sure to cover all bases.

CARBOHYDRATES

Fresh fruits of all kinds

  • High carbohydrate fruits – pineapple, papaya, mango, grapes, banana, pomegranate, fresh figs.
  • Medium carbohydrate fruits – melons, apricots, peaches, apples, pears, orange citrus fruits.
  • Low carbohydrate fruits – all berries including blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants.

Dried fruits 

(These are high carbohydrate as their sugars have been condensed)

  • Dates, figs, sultanas, raisins, apricots, mango, pineapple, prunes, goji berries

Vegetables of all kinds

  • High carbohydrate vegetables – potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash.
  • Low carbohydrate vegetables – all greens, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, courgette, cauliflower, avocado, peppers.

Wholegrains

  • Wholegrain bread
  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Oatcakes
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Cracked wheat
  • Oats and oatmeal
  • Corn
  • Buckwheat

Pulses

  • Green peas
  • Yellow split peas
  • Lentils
  • Beans – black, pinto, cannellini, butter, chickpeas, borlotti, haricot, kidney beans.

PROTEINS

  • Beans (beans are both a carbohydrate and a protein, though they do not contain a complete amino profile)
  • Quinoa (quinoa is one of the few known foods that contains both protein, carbohydrate, omega 3 fats, and a complete amino acid profile, so can therefore be eaten alone as a complete meal on its own). It’s one of nature’s true superfoods.
  • Tofu
  • Soy
  • Tempeh
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet

FOODS THAT CONTAIN BOTH PROTEIN AND FAT

  • Nuts – peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazils, macadamia, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and pecans.
  • Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy, flax, hemp, chia.

HEALTHY FATS

Use all oils as sparingly as possible as they are not a whole foods plant based food, therefore not truly healthy. Eat fats in their whole form as much as possible, such as the whole nut, seed or olive.

  • Nuts – peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazil’s, macadamia, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecans.
  • Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy, flax, hemp, chia.
  • Avocados
  • Tahini
  • Olive oil (for cooking)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (for using COLD only) – do not cook with extra virgin olive oil as it turns toxic when heated)
  • Extra virgin Coconut Oil ( can be used cold AND for cooking at high temperatures, so a great all-rounder).
  • Avocado oil (cold only)
  • Flax oil (cold only)

SUGAR ALTERNATIVES 

These should be used only in moderation:

  • Raw honey
  • Stevia
  • Xylitol
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut nectar sugar
  • Brown rice syrup

You should also consider adding to your diet these antioxidant rich superfoods to ensure you are getting optimal amounts of all the nutrients you need.

The high amount of antioxidants in these foods will not only help neutralise free radicals in your body, but are anti aging, and will help keep your immune system strong. 

Superfoods, antioxidants, and collagen rich foods are great for anti aging of the whole body, both inside and out and should be eaten frequently.

Green Super Food Powders

green superfood powder

Green superfood powders really are a great addition to any diet no matter how healthful it may be. They are bursting with antioxidants, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, and all kinds of other fat busting and detoxifying nutrients.

When your body is in a high state of detoxification, it won’t be storing toxins into fat cells. Rather, eliminating them instead, which ultimately means the shrinkage of fat cells and a slimmer waistline for you.

Superfood Blends

For ease, you could buy a blend such as Dr. Schulze’s superfood blend. This has a unique mix of all of the green superfoods and is also processed in a way that gives it a high uptake and absorption rate into the body. This means it is quickly transported into cells to give you an energy boost within 20 minutes.

What are the benefits of green superfood powder?

  1. Fast energy boost
  2. Clear, glowing skin
  3. Sparkling eyes (yes, this really happens)
  4. It’s like the ULTIMATE multivitamin
  5. Immune booster
  6. Great for recovery from sickness
  7. Pure, fast nutrition
  8. Detoxification
  9. Anti inflammatory
  10. Alklanising
  11. Can boost weight loss
  12. Low GI, so great for diabetics

meal-plans

Benefits of a plant based diet

Since eating a plant based diet, I have seen a LOT of changes in myself. I have great skin, more energy, and I notice I rarely get aches and pains after exercise like I used to. Plus, I rarely get PMS or hormonal problems, and I can also sleep a lot better, more deeply for sure!

I also find tat I rarely get sick with any colds, flus or viruses since eating plant based. And, if I do, it is much shorter lasting.

Another thing I have noticed is that the painful knees I suffered with for years (the result of too much running on concrete) have also got a whole lot better since cutting out animal products, This one is for sure a result of less chronic inflammation, there is just no doubt about it!

How to combine foods correctly

To keep blood sugar as stable as possible, you should make sure you always have (with every meal or snack) some protein, a wholegrain carbohydrate or vegetable, and a little healthy fat.

The carbohydrates and protein should be roughly in a 2:1 ratio. You should also add low carbohydrate fruits and vegetables on top of this ratio for extra nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals. All of which can boost your immune system, are anti aging, and help fight disease.

Complete meal examples

  • Main meals:- Brown rice, chickpea curry, side salad, and a piece fruit, OR: A bean/lentil dish with quinoa and steamed greens, piece of fruit. Check out these other fast and easy dinners.
  • Snacks:- 2 oatcakes with peanut butter, tahini or avocado. OR, a Handful of nuts or seeds with dried or fresh fruit.

Notice how these meals contain all the nutrients from the main 3 food groups of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

In many cases, a single food may contain elements of all the main 3 food groups, and a perfect example of this would be quinoa. Check out these great quinoa breakfast recipes for inspiration of how to incorporate this amazing little seed into your diet.

Another good example of a food that contains two of the groups would be peanut butter (or most nuts and seeds in general) as they are high in protein AND healthy monounsaturated fats. And pulses are an example of a food that contain both protein and carbohydrates.

Please check out this free 1 week diet plan for more great samples of correct food combining.

A FEW MORE TOP TIPS:

  • Sugars are CARBOHYDRATES, so when deciphering food labels you can look in the section where it says ‘carbohydrates’ and it will tell you the total amount. This total will also include the starches. Underneath that section you will find the ‘carbohydrates of which sugars‘, and this is the amount of actual sugar in that food. Check whether this is either per 100g, the whole product, or just a portion of that product so you can work out exactly how much is in the amount you are going to be consuming.
  • Ideally you want to go for as low a sugar content as possible. We’re talking about the ‘carbohydrates of which sugars‘ here, and not just all the carbohydrates in total. 22g per 100 grams is considered very high, so that will give you some point of reference. Try not to go over 10 grams per 100 grams in total. And, don’t forget to count this towards your daily amount.
  • The average man should consume no more than 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) of sugar, the average woman 25 grams (6 teaspoons), and a child 12 grams (3 teaspoons).
  • Always eat a rainbow of colours every day from the fruits and veggies section.
  • Eat fats and proteins alongside carbohydrates (especially the higher sugar carbs like potatoes, high sugar fruits, and the other sugar alternatives mentioned above). This will slow down the sugar release even more to keep blood sugar stable.
  • Try not to eat fried, browned or burnt foods (especially meats) as they are carcinogenic.
  • It is always good to have a little fat with meals, as this helps with the absorption of many of the fat soluble nutrients such as A,D,E, and K.
  • If you have decided (as suggested) on going more plant based with your diet, then be sure to add extra high calcium plant foods in the form of sesame seeds (tahini is a great sesame seed type butter or dip), oranges, sweet potatoes, tofu, fresh and dried figs, and lots of leafy green vegetables. 
  • If you are following a plant based diet, then you will more than likely need a B12 supplement.

CONCLUSION

Eating healthily and plant based will do wonders for your health!

If you would like some great ideas on what to eat, recipes and meal planning, then check out ZestForever’s Weekly Subscription Meal Plans designed to take the hassle out of plant based for you.

Thanks for reading out this article from Zestforever today! 

And before you leave, don’t forget to sign up below↓↓↓ to our newsletter so you never miss a post again!

Please help us spread the word for a more plant based world!
Stefanie Taylor
Plant based eating is set to EXPLODE in 2021; not just for health reasons, but also to help keep our beautiful planet thriving too!

Here at ZestForever we pledge to be part of that change to a more plant based world, to help others eat more healthily, purchase more mindfully, and support projects and organisations that wish to have a positive impact on the environment.

On a personal note, I have studied, tried and tested all manner of ways of eating over the past 20 years, but nothing has come close to giving me the buzz that plant based has. I have also studied and worked as a Sports Nutritional Advisor, Nutritional Therapist, and Clinical Weight Loss Advisor, and have a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Personal Trainer reviewing and contributing to posts to ensure you get the most accurate information possible.

This website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical diseases or illnesses. It's merely meant to show you ways of potentially boosting your health through the eating of more nutritious plant foods in place of junk foods.

12 thoughts on “How To Start Eating A Plant Based Diet TODAY!”

  1. Hi there
    Thanks for this detailed report. I always like to learn more about health and nutrition. I think the more we read about this topic the more we get used to the thought, and the easier it gets buying the right things.
    It is great that people like you are concerned and write deep insightful posts like this.

    Reply
    • Hi Stefan, I am happy to help you learn more about nutrition and I am glad you’re enjoying it. The more you know, the easier it gets, and a little knowledge can go a long way. And that’s my aim, to try and keep things simple for people to understand, as that way they are more likely to make changes. All the best to you on your fitness journey.

      Reply
  2. This a great article and timely. My husband and I were just talking tonight that we really do need to start eating better. There is so much information out there that its hard to know where to start. I came across your article at the right time.

    Reply
    • Hi there, that is just really fantastic to hear and I am really happy I can help you with that. My aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to get healthier and fitter. There are a couple of links in the article such as ‘ and another good one is . Both of these will be really helpful to you too and I thoroughly recommend you take a look. Good luck with evrything, and if you ever have any questions then please just ask.

      Reply
  3. You have a lot of great points in your article! I forget to incorporate carbs and protein together for a slower sugar release into the body. I enjoy making healthy, organic ramen bowls with veggies and seitan protein. Do you know if the veggies would lose their nutritional content if they are cooked for too long? Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

    Reply
    • Hi Ciara, thanks for reading and enjoying the article. Your ramen bowls sound absolutely fantastic and I am going to start making my own. As for the veggies, the only time I really cook them a long time is in something like a stew, soup or casserole, where all the juices are staying in the same pot and not getting lost or thrown away in cooking water. Any other time, always cook or steam lightly and for as little a time as possible as heat does destroy nutrients. In fact, there are a lot of people out there who only eat raw food as they say cooking destroys all the vitamins etc. I tried a raw diet for a week once and I have to say I could really tell the difference, and within a day, my skin was glowing and I had just oodles of energy, so that tells me that raw is probably best for our bodies. Having said that it is so hard to do and stick to as we have lifelong conditioning of eating cooked foods. But I’m getting there. For now, just eat as lightly cooked and raw as you can every day and you will still feel the difference.

      Reply
  4. Awesome. I really like how you laid things out to make it easy to understand. I need that.

    I guess one of my problems is learning what to ditch. They so remind me of another time.

    My favorites are fruits and nuts, vegetables, pulses, grains… they are so filling leave a felling of satisfaction.

    I will have to come back for the food combining again.

    What a great outline. Your effort is appreciated. I feel much more confident in my choices.

    See you later.

    Oh, what are your favorites?

    Reply
    • Hi Robert, I’m so happy that you have found my post of value. I understand how hard it is to ditch those comfort foods (I still fall of the wagon, especially in winter ha ha). I guess we all have a lot of deep set conditioning going on when it comes to food, and this can be hard to break. The one thing I find really helps is exercise as it kind of makes you disciplined in all other areas of life as well, and this change in behaviour, when I first started exercising regularly, really stood out for me.

      Anyway, back to the point, you will find when you start combining food properly you will keep blood sugar stable and you won’t crave these other comfort foods as much. My absolute favorites for this are avocados, peanut butter and anything to do with coconuts (oil, flesh, milk). All of these are just great low GI foods and good for stopping sugar cravings in their tracks. Hope this helps and thank you for your comment.

      Reply
  5. Happily I have already purged the “do not eat” list from my diet. I did not know that I shouldnt cook with olive oil, so that will go too. You mentioned that you are closer to vegan, but what is your opinion of the paleo diet given that its quite close to what you recommend. I am not strict paleo myself as I’ve found more benefits in exactly the kind of diet you are promoting.

    Reply
    • Hi Doug, glad you have got rid of all those bad things on the list :-). Cooking with normal olive oil is fine, it’s the extra virgin olive oil that you shouldn’t heat, just thought I’d better clear that up. I will go back and check that is clear in the post. My take on Paleo is I think it is a lot healthier than the average diet (I did it myself for a while) but I have never felt so good as I do on the plant based. I think it still comes back to the fact that animal products (although they are good sources of protein and other nutrients) are all acid forming which plays havoc in the body. 

      I also believe that we are all different, so what works for one may not necessarily work for another. However, I do have a friend who had all sorts of issues and problems that I won’t go into inflammatory diseases), and she went paleo for a couple of years believing that it would help her and she actually got worse. It is only now she has tried the plant based approach that she is finally feeling better, so this reaffirms  to me again that it is the way to go.

      Reply
  6. Hi there, I’m really glad you found this post useful. Many people become a bit stuck in regards to what a healthy diet actually is and where to even begin with it all. You may find useful also my post

    Reply

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