What is a Plant Based Diet?

What is a Plant Based Diet?


What is a Plant Based Diet?

In essence it is eating plants, which basically means anything that is not derived from animals or fish, and really not quite as boring and bland as it sounds…honestly. Most people when they hear the words vegan or plant based have visions of grass on a plate, but this is far from the truth and in this post I’ll tell you exactly why, and maybe even convert you…who knows!

First, take into consideration that plant foods include not just vegetables but fruits, nuts, seeds, quinoa, barley, spelt, amaranth, rices, lentils, pulses, beans, healthy fats, soy, tempeh, seitan and nut milks (you will become familiar with all of these as you go), then you can start to see a much bigger picture emerging.


The Plant Based Movement is Spreading Far and Wide!

Also, it’s never been a better or more convenient time to go plant based than right now, and most major supermarkets are getting on board in a BIG WAY with the plant based diet. You will find most shops, restaurants, cafes etc are now offering all sorts of substitutes for animal products, as in many varieties of nut milks, cheeses, and many meat substitutes (though I am not a big fan of soya meat substitutes for the long term but they are fine while you are learning and breaking yourself in).


Simply Amazing Health Benefits:

The health benefits of a plant based diet when done correctly, can be simply astounding. I choose this word because that is my experience in the past year on my own plant based journey. And I say ‘when done correctly‘ because this is a major key point here, and will make all the difference of getting you to the point of extreme health and vitality like you have never before experienced.

Choosing a plant based diet for the reasons of superior health and well-being will also mean cutting out sugar and other high GI foods, deep-fried foods, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and colours.

Here in this post I will explain the benefits for you on the plant based diet, the difference between plant based and vegan; and how to combine your plant foods to ensure you receive all the nutrients and amino acids you require for optimal health and vitality.


Healing the Body and MindHealing body and mind with a plant based diet

Moving towards the plant based way of eating is one of the fastest ways to healing, not just for the body but for the mind also. For long term change, which is what you need to be thinking about in order to live the healthful life you want, it is always best to take things one step at a time.

It is proven that if we try to make too many changes in one go then we often ‘fall of the wagon very quickly’, though for some all or nothing types this approach may work. I will give you strategies for incorporating these changes as seamlessly as possible later on.



 Alkalizing your Body

Many plant foods are highly alkaline, whilst most animal products (milk and dairy come in mid range) and refined sugars, are acidic: meaning they cause inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is now thought to be one of the main influencers behind many diseases and illnesses, including arthritis, lupus, crohn’s, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, alzeimers, and asthma.

It stands to reason that cutting out these foods as much as possible and adding in plant foods, will help to keep your body in a state of balance, AND go a long way to slashing your risks of many major diseases.

To help this process along even more you should add super foods to your diet as these will not only boost your immune system into orbit, but give you a beautiful glowing complexion that everybody will comment on. Oh the satisfaction!

Check out my post ‘The Top 6 Superfoods’ and start incorporating these into your diet every day.



Alkaline Foods reduce inflammation

  1. Sea vegetables
  2. Dark green, leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, spring greens, rocket, swiss chard (the darker the colour the better) Himalayan pink salt (in moderation), broccoli
  3. Sprouted beans
  4. Avocado
  5. Beetroot
  6. Garlic
  7. Lemon
  8. Tomatoes
  9. All raw foods
  10. Green Powders (Dr. Schulzes Superfood is the most amazing raw, organic, and highly alkalizing green powder I have found, and I use it daily)



Acidic foods cause inflammation

  1. All high GI sugars including white sugar, refined flour products, honey, corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners
  2. Alcohol
  3. Tea and Coffee
  4. Cacao
  5. Dried fruit
  6. Meats
  7. Farmed fish
  8. Shellfish
  9. Eggs
  10. Yeast and fermented foods such as miso, soy sauce, mustard and marmite.


As you can see, not all plant foods are necessarily alkaline and vice versa, but MOST of the major plant food groups are either alkaline or mid range, and most of the animal products are mid range to highly acidic, so in balance the plant based way of eating is much more alkaline and therefore much HEALTHIER.

Don’t get me wrong, there are foods on the highly acidic list that are considered healthy (like eggs and fish for example), but if you do eat them they need to be balanced out with lots of alkaline foods to keep acidity in the body to a minimum.

On a personal note, I am now pretty much 100% plant based due mainly to the fact that I just really notice the difference in how I feel if I start to eat eggs and dairy again. I have tried and tested it a few times and they just make me feel congested and foggy headed – something that I never noticed before eating plant based, and probably because I knew no different. 


Some of the Awesome Things I Have Noticed Since Eating Plant Based:

  • Less bloating and puffiness in the face (I didn’t even realise I had these issues until suddenly I didn’t, and everyone could see the difference).
  • MUCH more energy.
  • No muscle aches after exercise.
  • The most amazing glowing skin I have EVER had.
  • A clear head, (brain fog is another thing I had always had but didn’t really notice – until it was gone).
  • Much better memory.
  • Strong immune system (I have not had one day of sickness, colds or viruses the whole time I have eaten only plant foods).
  • Hormonal balance (I rarely suffer from mood swings or PMS like I used to).
  • Less stress (I find I do not get as angry, frustrated or stressed out like I did before).
  • Weight Loss (Eating for Weight Loss)
  • Thicker more lustrous hair (read here to understand more on how chronic inflammation can negatively effect hair growth).


One of the things that stands out clear as day when you read this list is, ALL of those above problems I used to have are the result of too much inflammation in the body, and they ALL got better when I changed my diet. I may not had developed any serious illnesses or diseases yet but I was more than likely on the way, which is proof enough to me of exactly what the plant based diet can do.




VEGAN:difference between vegan and plant based diet

The main difference would be that veganism is a life style that is predominantly about the welfare of animals and shuns ALL animal products, including buying anything made of animal skin such as leather, suede and fur. Also it bans anything that has been tested on animals which includes most make-up, shampoos, conditioners, many toiletries, and many household cleaning and washing products.

This is all very noble and for a good cause, of course it is, but I won’t go into that side of it for the simple reason this is a plant based lifestyle website.

Its worth noting that NOT all vegans are necessarily ‘healthy’ as there are many vegan junk foods out there. Just think fries and SUGAR for starters!



On the other hand, plant based eating is more predominantly about health (or, you may start off plant based as you ease yourself into veganism). And on the plant based diet you have more leeway to help make things easier, which is often needed, especially in the early stages of your dietry change, such as having a bit of honey on your cereal if you fancy it. Or if you are eating out and you may find it hard to find something you can actually have on the menu and so have to pick something non vegan. (Though you will find most restaurants offer vegan options now due to its huge popularity).


How to ‘Be’ Around Others

There will of course be times when it will be hard, especially when you are around other people who maybe don’t understand why you are doing it, and therefore may feel they need to give you negative opinions. Never allow people to judge you for your choices, it’s your body and up to you to decide what you put in it, that’s just your god given right – they are on their journey and you are on yours.

You will usually more often than not, find that when others see how well you look they will be asking you what you are doing and will want a piece of the action for themselves, which is great. I get this constantly now and I’m more than happy to help!


WHAT IS A PLANT BASED DIET – FOOD COMBININGFood combining ensures a well rounded diet

Combining the right foods for a ‘complete amino acid profile‘ is crucial to the plant based diet. Animal products are already complete proteins, whereas many plant products aren’t. This is why you need to understand how to put a meal together to cover all your dietary needs, but don’t worry this really isn’t as hard as it sounds and will soon become second nature. New evidence has found that you don’t actually have to eat a complete amino acid profile at every meal, just over the course of the day is good enough.

You will find that you will feel much fuller, and your blood sugars will be much more stable by the combining of certain low GI foods which include some protein, wholegrains and a little healthy fat with every meal or snack. 


Low GI Eating is Always Best:

Low GI super food

Low GI foods (which stands for glycemic index, and is the rate in which the sugars in food hit the bloodstream) are best for keeping blood sugar stable and they can be found in complex carbohydrates which are most ‘whole foods‘. These are foods that are still in their whole and natural state, for example a whole orange as opposed to orange juice. 


For the best low GI meals and snacks, plant food carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, cereal, rice, pasta, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, oatmeal and cracked wheat need to be combined with proteins such as, pulses, nuts, seeds, quinoa, soy, tempeh and seitan, and also a little healthy monounsaturated fat, like avocado, coconut or olive oil (if not already in the protein element, as in the case of nuts and seeds). These combinations will keep you sated and full, with a slow release of energy.


High GI Eating Will Cause A Sugar Spike

High GI carbohydrates such as white sugar, flours, confectionery, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, and chocolate will throw your blood sugar out of whack, especially when eaten on an empty stomach. High blood sugar brings with it other problems of its own, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease to name just a few. Please read more about low GI foods as it will be ESSENTIAL to your plant based diet.

If you want to start making changes today to your diet but just don’t know where to start then you may also find my post ‘Easy Steps to Eating Clean’ a real Godsend. You will find out everything you need to know about clearing the junk out of your life (and cupboards), and incorporating healthier choices the easy way and without too much disruption to your lifestyle.


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Stefanie Taylor
I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

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24 Comments on "What is a Plant Based Diet?"

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I was a “day vegetarian” for the past few years. My family ate everything so at night I’d have to make them dinners with meat and all the usual stuff. Thankfully this past year my wife joined me in being a vegetarian so now I’m really stoked to be doing it full-time. We also cut out most dairy, but we eat eggs occasionally and don’t have a problem with them. Just eating a plant-based diet is so rewarding; that’s enough for us. Can’t say I’ve cut out sugar completely. One of our favorite breakfasts is homemade pancakes with 100% raw… Read more »

Hi there and thanks for your comment, sounds like you have a really healthy diet, and it’s great your family have joined you in becoming a vegetarian. I think every change makes a big difference so you don’t have to go the whole way and become a total vegan, doing what you are doing I’m sure keeps you really healthy and happy. And, no I haven’t cut out sugar completely, don’t think I could all the time there’s chocolate in the world. Ha ha


oh man, you aren’t kidding – there are PLENTY of junk food vegans. Pop tarts and pasta and fries! I like that you emphasize doing this for heath reasons rather than some zealotry over animal welfare (which is important, but it’s basically impossible to eschew animal products). Thanks for the great tips!

Hi penelope, yes I know a few junk food vegans and they are actually more unhealthy than meat eaters. Vegan is only healthy if you do it right and there is a lot of misinformation out there. I do emphasise that I doing this for health reasons as I know that people become defensive if you start being ‘preachy’ about the animal welfare side. This in my book is just pushing people away from it even more and doesn’t help the vegan cause. My niece is vegan and she used to be very angry with anybody who ate meat (she… Read more »

Wow that’s an incredible story but I guess I’m not surprised. People have such strong feelings about animals, the whole “meat is murder” sentiment. I’m glad you’ve had a smoother experiences transitioning to a vegan lifestyle in the context of your family.


Hi Penelope, yes it has been pretty smooth going, and not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I guess that these days, fortunately, there are so many vegan choices out there in terms of what you can now buy in supermarkets and get in restaurants etc. I know if I had done this 10 years ago it would have been 10 times harder. I guess a lot of people are gravitating towards a more plant based lifestyle these days, for health reasons if nothing else. Which is fantastic!

Interesting post. It would be nice to stay healthy by eating the right food. If only I can do it, or if I have the discipline to do it. As a young girl, a grown up lady and an adult, I just do not have the patience and dedication to follow a plant based diet, basically because I don’t like vegetables and I just eat what I want without thinking. And that is why I have all these health problems because I had a faulty eating habit and still do. I have learned something from your post though. Thanks for… Read more »
Hi Rebecca, I totally understand where you are coming from, I know it is hard to make such huge changes, especially when you have always been a certain way. It was the same for me when I first started changing my diet, but all I can say is it is so worth it as you will feel amazing. The secret is to just make a few small changes at a time, as we st ourselves up to fail if we try to do to much in one go. Just start out slowly by cutting down sugar and adding a couple… Read more »

I’m looking to become vegan, because it has so many benefits and most of them you’ve talked about here. It’s really easy to fill yourself with junk food all day, but if you want to become the greatest version of yourself, the food you eat should be the number 1 concern, because we are as good as the food we consume.


Yes, ain’t that the truth! You are what you eat, every molecule and cell in your entire body is made of and regenerated with the food you eat. If you eat junk, then basically that’s what you’ll be made of. Sounds awful when you put it like that, but so true!


This is very insightful.

And as I’ve grown older I’ve seen the need to have more of a plant based diet largely having fought off veges as a kid.

You really do start to feel the difference in energy levels when you eat ‘right’. I always struggle to think of more plant based dinner ideas, having been brought up mainly with meat. Do you have a go to resource for plant based recipe ideas?

Hey there and thanks for your comment. I understand the whole thing about being brought up around meat. When I was a kid, every dinner was meat and two veg, but that was the norm back then in England. In fact I don’t think we had even heard of spaghetti bolognese until I was well into my teens. Ha ha. With me, it took about 5 attempts before becoming fully plant based, as I just kept craving meat. I guess it was just conditioning more than anything and eventually it just gave up the ghost. As for meat free dinners,… Read more »
Nick Stubbs
Great article. I have been “weaning” myself off meat for a while now and sometimes find a week has passed without having any. I have created a couple of recipes that include a lot of the veggie food groups I need including 5 or 6 herbs and spices (and eat it most days). As far back as I can remember I have loved eating broccoli, spinach, beetroot, carrots, rice, peas and my favourite…nuts. We used to have a huge row of Cob Nut trees outside our house in Kent. I would sneak off and eat a shedload whenever I could!… Read more »
Hi Nick, thanks for reading, and the thing that stood out for me in your comment is that you live in KENT. So do I! I’m in Ramsgate so where are you? You are the closest person living to me that I have met on WA haha. Anyway, back to the point, you sound very healthy if you love all those foods, I practically live on fruit and veg and all my family and friends make fun and call me a rabbit, but I can’t help it, it makes me feel fantastic. Its interesting you say about craving meat as… Read more »

Thanks for sharing re your meat journey, very inspirational (I just had a veggie lunch : )

Cool that you live in Ramsgate, my parents were in Herne for many years running a post office there. I left Kent (River, near Dover) when I was 20, went to London for 10 years, Nottingham for a few months, Spain for 10 years and now Weymouth for 10 years…I feel old!

Anyway, keep up the good work, and nice to “meet” you.


Nice to meet you too Nick, I love Weymouth, we’ve spent many a family holiday there when I was a kid. How weird, I lived in London and up North too! Wishing you all the best on your WA journey 🙂

I am reading this just as I have had written it… My plant based journey started almost same time… 8 months ago, also I cut out all the junk stuff too (I didn’t have much before but now I almost have zero junk). Do you take some nutritional supplements too? As like B-group vitamins, specially B12? And what about Omega 3 fatty acids? I got tested lately and the results were bad… because it is hard to get omega 3 from plants (there are omega 3 in flax oil, walnut oil, hemp oil for example; but our body wont be… Read more »
Hi Melissa, that’s great that you are on the same journey as me :-).It definitely feels great doesn’t it! As for supplements I know what you mean about the omega 3 fatty acids. At the moment I am still taking fish oils, but I really have a need to do so because I suffer depression without them, but I am weaning myself off gradually. I know there are some really good plant based omega 3’s out there now and I will look further into it as I really do want to become fully vegan soon. I will let you know… Read more »
Hi, this was such a great article. Informative and eye-opening! I do not eat only plant based, but I do eat lots of fruit and vegetables and of course seeds and nuts. The benefits that you describe have to some extent been the same for me since I have left refined sugars and flour out of my diet. You mention your energy levels. It is really great how you good feel after you stop eating all the stuff that is not good for you and start on a healthy meal plan. I have days where I seem not to be… Read more »
Hi Oscar, it’s great you eat lots of fruit and veg and other good things. I always think that as long as you eat lots of good stuff then you have earned a coupe of treats now and then. And yes, extra energy is a great thing as I don’t think I could possibly do all the things I do in my life without eating the way I do. I just wouldn’t have the energy or inclination. It’s interesting you mention about anxiety/depression as I have suffered from such severe depression in the past that it is the whole reason… Read more »

You are very right about the vegan junk foodies… it is so much easier if you just care about what you eat, it does not necessarily have to be vegan… e.g. we eat eggs or a piece of meat here and there… though predominantly vegan… and all has to be from organic sources… you just have to feel the difference and you will not have difficulties to stick to it…


Hi Katrin, yes I totally agree, you just have to care about what you eat and where your food comes from and you will be a lot happier and healthier in the long run. It’s all about balance and it sounds as though you have worked that out well.

Hello! I did so enjoy reading this article. I am a big believer in we are what we eat. And I have actually cured myself of autoimmune dis-ease by going completely plant based. People thought I was crazy 20 years ago. But now it is common place! And i am so grateful because it gave me my life back. I found though that I had to give up soy, as it added weight and seemed to be a bit inflammatory. I am juicing more and that is really rocking my world. I decided on plant based for health reasons years… Read more »
Hi Ariel, thanks for reading. It really is fantastic to hear that you cured yourself from your illness with a plant based diet. It is just amazing what the power of plants. I’m on a Facebook group called Raw Food Riot and these guys have just mindblowing stories to tell about how they have healed themselves of almost every illness imaginable. And also they look really young. I’m starting myself to try and eat a lot more raw as it makes such a massive difference and really is another level. I would be interested to know your view on this… Read more »