What is a Plant Based Diet and how YOU can achieve it today!

What is a plant based diet? In essence, eating plant based is what it says on the tin – it’s eating plants; or anything else that is not derived from animals or fish, and it’s really not quite as boring and bland as it sounds – honestly. And in this post I hope will show you how simple it can be for YOU to achieve this lifestyle today no matter what place you are starting from, or how much you know about food.

When most people hear the terms vegan or plant based they often have visions of grass on a plate, but this is so very far from the truth that it’s almost funny. Eating a highly plant based diet, when done correctly with attention to your macronutrients and a good exercise plan, is actually the ultimate healthy lifestyle that can take you to a place of vibrant health, vitality and healing in a relatively short space of time.

What is a Complete Amino Acid Profile on a Plant Based Diet?

Firstly, if you take into consideration the fact that plant foods include not just vegetables, but also 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 bigger picture emerging, and a lot more ingredients to work with than you may have originally thought.

The Plant Based Eating Explosion!

This past year has seen the sharpest EVER rise of veganism and plant based eating which I think is down to a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, we are all becoming more aware of our environment and global warming, and the over consumption of animal products and farming methods have played a role in that.
  • Secondly, we are also becoming much more aware of the impact food has on our health and we want to feel and look our best.
  • Thirdly, many people are lactose intolerant or may get other issues arising from too much dairy, so therefore are looking for substitutes to their normal products.

almonds and almond milk

It’s never been an easier, or more convenient time to go plant based than right now, and fortunately most supermarkets are getting on board in a big way with the plant based movement. You will find most shops, restaurants and cafes are now offering all sorts of substitutes for animal products, and are serving many varieties of nut milks, cheeses and meat substitutes (though I’m not a big fan of soy based meat substitutes for the long term, they are fine whilst you are breaking yourself in).

Plant Based Diet Benefits:-

colourful vegetables

First I need to convince you of the reasons why (and I believe there are many) you should even bother to make the change to this lifestyle in the first place, the future of our environment being just one of the benefits on a very long list. But for YOU personally, the health benefits of a plant based diet when done correctly, can be simply astounding, and this has most definitely been my experience in the 2 years on my own plant based journey.

I say ‘when done correctly’ because this is a major key point, and will make all the difference between getting you to that place of health and vitality that I know you want to be at, instead of just eeking by.

Here are some of the amazing reasons to change to this awesome lifestyle in case you still need convincing. Remember, you will only get thee benefits if you are truly eating lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds; plus food combining correctly (which is much easier than it sounds, and you will get the hang of it fast).

  • MUCH more energy (this one will blow your mind!).
  • You will find it easier to get physically fit.
  • Lower inflammation in general.
  • Clearer skin.
  • Glowing complexion
  • Weight loss – specifically belly fat.
  • Reduction in cellulite.
  • Higher immunity and less sickness (i.e. bugs, colds and flu)

Where to Begin – Cut out the Junk!

ring donut

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; plus deep-fried foods, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colours, and other food chemicals will need to be eliminated as much as possible too.

Doing this will kick start the detoxification process and also flood your system with life giving nutrients, allowing it to clear out the toxins more effectively and begin healing itself. Putting your body into a state of homeostasis is the ultimate path to healing both mentally and physically, and you can actually do this through diet and exercise.

Healing the body AND mind:-

woman eating at table

For me personally, changing to a plant based lifestyle helped change my whole life more than any other diet (and believe me I have tried many), not just in body, but in 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. Boring, I know, but there’s no point in going all in and then falling off the horse very quickly.

It is proven that if you try to make too many changes at once then you are way more likely to fail; though for some all or nothing types this approach may actually work better but, I personally think it best not to take on too much all at once. Either way, I will give you the strategies that I used for incorporating these changes as easily as possible, and that worked for me.

Alkaline Foods

stethoscope and raw vegetables

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 that can promote disease. It stands to reason that cutting out these acidic foods as much as possible, and adding in plant foods instead, will help to keep your body in more of a state of balance, thus reducing your chances of certain diseases.

To help this process along even more, you should also add more antioxidant rich superfoods to your diet, as these will not only boost your immune system, but will also give you a beautiful glowing complexion that everybody will comment on – to which you can tell them exactly how you have achieved it through the eating of delicious and nutritious plant foods. Oh the satisfaction!

TOP 12 ALKALINE FOODS

half lemon

  1. Sea vegetables
  2. Dark green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, spring greens, rocket, swiss chard (the darker the colour the better).
  3. Himalayan pink salt (in moderation).
  4. Broccoli
  5. Sprouted beans
  6. Avocado
  7. Beetroot
  8. Garlic
  9. Lemon
  10. Tomatoes
  11. All raw foods
  12. Superfood Green Powders – absolutely essential for energy, glowing skin, and a super strong immune system.

TOP 10 ACID FORMING FOODS

teaspoon white sugar

  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 healthier in the long term.

basket of eggs

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 should 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 these days, due mainly to the fact that I really notice the difference in how I feel if I start to eat eggs and dairy again – and it’s not good. I have tried and tested it a few times and they just make me feel congested and foggy headed, which is something that I never even noticed before eating plant based full time. I put this down to my body having an inflammatory response to them that I never noticed before, OR I am just no longer used to them.

Benefits I have personally noticed since eating a whole plant diet:-

  • 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
  • Thicker more lustrous hair.

One of the things that stands out clear as day when you read this list, is that 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 have developed any serious diseases yet, but I was more than likely on the way. And the way I felt after changing my diet shows you exactly what the plant based lifestyle, when done correctly, can do for you. I’m not saying we will all get the same benefits as we are all different, but you will get benefits.

Plant Based Vs Vegan – What’s the difference?

THE VEGAN LIFESTYLE:

bunny rabbit

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

This is all noble and for a good cause of course, I’m definitely not saying it’s not, but I won’t go further into the animal welfare side of things for the simple reason this is a plant based lifestyle website, and on it I will be focusing more about the actual health benefits of plant foods.

It’s worth noting that as veganism is not predominantly about health, not all vegans are necessarily healthy and there are many vegan junk foods out there – I know a few myself. Just think fries, trans fats and SUGAR for starters – ALL these are still vegan, and plant based for that mater!

THE PLANT BASED LIFESTYLE:

cartoon vegetables

On the other hand, plant based eating is more predominantly about health (or you may decide to 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 making such huge lifestyle changes.

How to ‘BE’ around others

There will of course be times when it will be hard, especially when you’re around other people who may not necessarily understand why you are going to what they call ‘extremes’ with your eating, 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 entirely up to you to decide what you put into it, and that’s just your god given right – they are on their journey and you are on yours.

You will 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 obviously great – refer them to this website :-). But, being the change you wish to see in the world is a lot more powerful and effective than just preaching it. I get these kind of positive comments a lot now, and I’m more than happy to help of course.

How to Eat A Plant Based Diet Correctly:-

COMPLETE AMINO ACIDS

complete plant based meal plate

Combining the right foods for a complete amino acid profile is crucial on a plant based diet, as animal products are already complete proteins, whereas many plant products aren’t. This is why its important you understand how to put a complete meal together to cover ALL your dietary needs – don’t be alarmed, 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 stay much more stable by the proper understanding of correct food combining to be sure you are getting the correct amounts of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and nutrients throughout the day. It’s important for you to follow though and read that ink as it will be a vital part of your understanding of putting a nutritionally complete meal together. 

Plant based protein Powders:-

superfood green smoothie

Sometimes a good protein powder supplement can be a godsend when you are on a vegan or plant based diet. Why? Because it is actually quite hard to meet your protein needs (but not impossible with vigilance) on a plant based diet, especially if you are doing a lot of exercise or training. I found this out the hard way in the beginning and actually lost some muscle mass at first, even though I was doing weight bearing exercise. So to be sure, I now take a protein shake most days, or even add a scoop to my morning porridge if I have done a workout the day before.

Another good reason to take extra protein supplements is if you’re trying to burn fat and/or build muscle. Protein not only builds muscle (which actually burns more calories than fat even in its resting state), but it also keeps you full and stops you craving the refined carbohydrates that are so devastating to a weight loss diet.

Just remember, not all protein powders are the same: Some have added sugars, fillers, and other nasty stuff to be watchful for, so be mindful to choose something that will work for you and fits in with your lifestyle and needs. Here I have done an in-depth review of the best all natural plant based protein powders for you to to check out before you go down the protein supplement path.

LOW GI FOODS

vegetable noodle stir-fry

Low GI foods (which is short for glycemic index, and is the rate in which the sugars in a particular food hit the bloodstream) are best for keeping blood sugar stable, and they can be found in the complex carbohydrates that are in 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 which has had its fibers removed. 

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 it is in the case of nuts and seeds). These combinations will keep you sated and full, with a slow release of energy over many hours.

High GI eating will cause A sugar spike!

junk foods

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 may eventually bring with it problems of its own including type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome to name just a few. Low GI foods are an ESSENTIAL part of your healthy plant based diet, and should be eaten at every meal to keep you satiated and to slow down sugar release.

Thank you for visiting zestforever today; I hope you have come away with a much clearer understanding of the amazing benefits of a plant based diet, and I also hope I have given you the incentive to want to try this healthful, planet friendly way of eating for yourself. If you have any questions I am as always, happy help, so go ahead and post below! Thank you

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Stefanie Taylor
Plant based eating is set to EXPLODE in 2019; not just for health reasons, but also to help keep our beautiful planet thriving. Having lived this healthful lifestyle for over 2 years, I can honestly say I feel pretty awesome for it and now feel the need to share the path to ultimate health with others.

That's why zestforever was born, to share my experiences, trials and errors, how I overcame them, and how to turn to this lifestyle in such a way that you will thrive too!

Good nutrition has helped me throughout my life, and in fact, got me through some pretty rough times. I have lived, breathed, studied, and tried and tested healthy foods, superfoods and diets for as long I can remember, but nothing has come close to giving me the health buzz that plant based eating has.

To expand my knowledge I have also studied and worked as a Sports Nutritional Advisor, and have also done courses in Nutritional Therapy and Clinical Weight Loss - all of which can tie in with the plant based diet. I am an avid exerciser and understand the plant based nutritional needs required for sports.

This website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical diseases or illnesses. It's merely meant as a way of showing you how to boost your health through the eating of more nutritious plant foods in place of junk foods.

I am grateful for your support, and I hope that the tips and guides you find here will help to guide you on your own plant based journey.

32 thoughts on “What is a Plant Based Diet and how YOU can achieve it today!”

  1. 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 maple syrup. Mmm I don’t think I’ll ever be able to cut that out! lol

    • 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

  2. 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 used to get up and leave the table if there was meat on it, making everyone feel awkward and bad, thankfully she has matured a bit now), so when I became vegan my family and friends all thought I would be like that so I made an absolute point not to be. We are all free to make our own food choices and I always try to remain unbiased with all the information I give out.

      • 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!

  3. 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 sharing.

    • 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 of light exercise sessions in a week, then move forward from there. Write a list of the different things you can change and try to do one a week. Please read my post on how to do this as you may find it helpful How To Eat Clean – 10 Easy Steps

  4. 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!

  5. 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, that was the thing I always struggled with at first. It’s always easy to do meat free breakfasts and lunches, but come dinner time you feel you want the comfort of a ‘proper’ meal. Or what you believe to be a ‘proper’ meal. It took me a while to be able to have a vegan dinner and actually feel satisfied afterwards, but i do now 100%, it was just a matter of changing old thinking patterns and habits.

      I eat lots of yummy vegan dinners now such as veggie fried rice with edamame beans for protein, coconut and chickpea curry, lots of budda bowls (see internet, millions on there), homemade mixed bean chili, quorn sausage and veg casserole, cashew nut stir fries, homemade oven chips/sweet potato chips with beans and peas. There are lots of choices, just make sure you are getting your proteins. Check here for more information Best Plant Based Protein Foods List. If you google vegan dinners you will also find lots of ideas.

  6. 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! I think people need to listen to their bodies more and heed the cravings (like many pregnant women). We all have different needs and the trick is to work out your own personal diet.

    I must admit I still get times when I feel my body “needs” meat but I know that is more than likely habit. I hope one day to be meat free but I don’t think “full vegan” will happen any time soon.

    Loved the section on inflammation too. This is a topic that is more important than many people realise.

    • 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 I know exactly what you mean. I must of tried in earnest about 5 times to go fully plant based (like I am now) and every time the thing that I always craved, way after the dairy and sugar cravings had gone was meat. It was such a deep seated thing, but at the time I believed it was because my body needed it, and so I kept giving in to it after about a month in.

      Then something extraordinary happened on my 6th attempt, something just clicked into place, I could feel it, and I just didn’t get one single craving, and have never had a meat craving since. I have been meat free for 10 months now, and I know deep down that I will never go back. So I guess something eventually just changed in me, like a light switch, and I realised that it was all just deep seated conditioning that was giving me the cravings, and eventually they decided to give up the ghost. Now I honestly feel better than I ever have in my life and would never go back.

      Anyway sorry for long answer, but thought it was worth sharing as for me it was just a case of persistence – and your’e right, there is just not enough information out there about how deadly too much inflammation is, but slowly people are understanding now we have all this information at our fingertips, which is great!

      • 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.

  7. 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 able to produce much DHA and EPA from those sources) and that is why plant based dieters must take Algae oil to get DHA and EPA…. do you have any experience with it? Do you know some high quality algae oil brands to suggest?

    Thanks,
    Melissa

    • 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 my findings on that.

      I also take B12 supplements and L-Carnitine and Lycine which are amino acids, but I mainly take these as I am doing some hard training at the moment for the Elite Fitness Bikini Body competition (LOL I know!). Just need a challenge to lose the last of the weight I want to lose. I also take lots of green powders and superfoods supplements and they definitely make a huge difference to energy etc.

      The interesting thing is, in the raw vegan community, they swear they do not ever take any supplements of any kind as the body just finds its own balance when you take things to that level. But I don’t have the experience of this to say whether that is true or not.

      I think the best thing to do is go by how you feel, if you feel good and full of energy then your body is in balance, if not then something could be missing. I work in a herbal shop where we have access to the newest information about supplements so I will definitely find out more about these plant omegas and get back to you.

  8. 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 able to stop and get tired, which is actually good, because you get more quality time with family and friends. A huge plus for me.

    Have you read about the links between depression/anxiety and sugar and flour? There is lots of research. I am currently experimenting on that. You mentioned brain fog and that has gone since you started to make healthier food choices. I strongly believe that these are closely linked.

    Have a great day,
    Oscar

    • 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 I am doing what I do now and eating like I do now. I changed my diet 17 years ago after searching for a way to cure my depression and it was the only thing that worked. Good diet AND exercise. i emphasize exercise because it is vital to relive depression, especially weight bearing exercise. And yes there is 100% a huge link between refined sugars/carbohydrates and anxiety and depression. I only ever eat wholegrain carbs (well at least 90% of the time is enough).

      Depression is a subject close to my heart that I have defeated, and if I could give you 3 main tips that really work to alleviate it it would be 1. Always eat wholegrains i.e. bread,pasta, flours and rice, 2. Exercise, preferably in the fresh air, and 3. Take high strength omega 3 fish oils (about 3000mg a day) Not vegan I know, but one thing that I won’t give up. Hope this helps you and take care.

  9. 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 source. You just have to feel the difference and you will not have difficulties to sticking 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.

  10. 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 ago, and have never looked back.

    Thank you for being so thorough in this article. What do you suggest for more protein and energy combining?

    In peace and gratitude, ariel.

    • 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 and whether you’ve experimented yourself with a raw diet?

      And yes, I love raw juices, they make you feel so alive instantly!

      For more protein, I recommend eating more nuts (the highest protein ones are peanuts, almonds and cashews). Chickpeas are also one of the highest protein pulses. And if you still need more protein then I recommend a protein powder such as help.

      I also take some extra amino acid supplements such as Lycine and L Carnitine which help top you up also.

  11. Seriously thinking about going on a plant-based diet after my long water fast. Thanks for taking the time to post this informative article.

    • Hi there Wilona, that’s really great and I hope that all goes well for you. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you like if you need any advice as I know how hard it can be at first getting things right, especially with meal planning etc. In fact, I do have a week meal plan that I have worked out to have all the nutrients and protein needed to stay healthy and feel goods. It may be helpful in getting you into a routine and understanding of how to put a plant based meal together.Please check it out

  12. I will start a plant based diet and I know that you mentioned protein powder but sometimes vegan protein shakes makes me sick. Do you know why is this happening?

    • Hi Furkan, that’s great you’re starting a plant based diet plan but I’m not sure why vegan protein shakes are making you sick. That really unfortunate as you shouldn’t rely on just whey protein, it’s good to mix it up.

      You haven’t really given me much information on your actual symptoms for me to be able to help you. If it’s bloating that you are having problems with then you may just need to wean yourself onto them by mixing in with your normal protein and building it up slowly; or maybe you should just try something different. Maybe you have just unfortunately used something that your body can’t tolerate and you should try something else.

      There are many different protein powders to choose from including pea, hemp, brown rice, pumpkin, sunflower, quinoa, potato – that’s just a few, they are making protein powder out of so many different foods now that the plant based eating trend is going crazy, so don’t give up, just take the time to find something that works for you.

      Please check out this post and you will see I mean about choice. You could even go for one with added probiotics and digestive enzymes which may help you to digest them better.

  13. This is such a great article – I love that you explain a plant based diet and how it works and that just being plant-based doesn’t automatically make a diet healthy! What are your thoughts on adapting plant-based diets for kids?

    • Hi Amy, what a great question! Yes, you definitely could adapt it for kids as long as you are extra careful they get everything that growing kids need in regards to calcium and protein. They could eat lots of smooth nut butters, lentils and pulses, and hemp milk is a great source of calcium for them. I think sometimes the battle with kids is getting them to eat enough veggies, and green in particular as these are a huge part of a healthy plant based diet. If your kids love all this stuff then I’d say go for it.

      You may be interested in this post about plant based calcium foods which is great for both kids and adults

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