It’s no surprise – eating plant-based is on the rise. Research stating the physical, mental, and environmental benefits of such a diet has taken the world by storm seeing many make the switch completely, or even just focus on incorporating more plant foods into their eating regime.
So…lettuce suss out all the fuss about plant-powered eating, shall we?
Plant-based versus vegan
Firstly, let’s clear up some common confusion. Plant-based eating and veganism are not the same thing. BASED is the key word here. A plant-based diet consists of predominantly whole, plant foods, which are minimally processed. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, wholegrains, legumes and seeds. However, does not restrict one to the confines of absolutely no animal products ever (cause… cheese is my holy grail?). Plant-based eating allows the autonomy to find what works for you, whether it includes small-moderate amounts of animal products, or none at all.
Benefits galore…fact or fiction?
It’s true, the so-called health benefits you’ve probably heard about, are no word of a lie.
- Decreased risk of disease (great news)
Eating more foods from plant-sources can lower your risk of developing some of the big bad chronic diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. When eaten in excess, the saturated fats in meats can contribute to heart issues, and, conversely, plant foods can act as a preventative due to their anti-inflammatory properties (ramp up those veggies!).
- Supports a healthy weight (again, we love this)
To put it plainly, eating mainly plants removes many of the foods that lead to weight gain. When followed intuitively, a plant-based diet can nourish the body’s cells and in turn improve health outcomes. Vegetables and whole grains are relatively low on the glycaemic index – meaning they are digested slower. The high fibre content of fruits, vegetables and whole grains keep your fuller for longer (and full of the good stuff!).
- Optimizes mental wellbeing (that pesky, temperamental thing eh)
Plant-based eating is associated with improved moods and overall mental health outcomes – yes please. Nutrients found in plant-foods support a healthy gut-microbiome, which is associated with improved mental health. Further, whole food, plant-based diets are linked to decreased depression and anxiety, as they provide the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your brain needs to function adequality.
- Boosts immunity…big time!
The essential nutrients ONLY found in plant foods are pivotal for ensuring the body’s immune system can function at its best, and fight of free radicals that cause illness.
So HOW can you incorporate more plant foods into your diet?
I’m glad you asked! It’s easier than you think.
- Replace some meat with lentils, tofu or beans!Try lentils in spaghetti instead of mince, or tofu in a curry/stir-fry. Even chuck a tin of beans through a salad!
- Instead of your usual highly processed snacks, reach for some unsalted nuts, roasted chickpeas or veggie sticks!
- Go vego at least 2 nights per weekwith meals built around beans, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Make plants the star of the dish! Chuck that meat/cheese on your plate by all means, but ensure it is a small element of the meal!
- Incorporate veggies whenever you can – chuck some kale in your smoothies, diced veggies in your mince, wilted spinach in almost everything?!
- Include wholegrains for brekkie – opt foroats, buckwheat or barley with fruit and nuts – unmatched fuel for your day!
Now that you’re totally SOLD on eating more plants, check out this delicious, protein-packed and fibre filled Tofu Rice Bowl, and thank us later!
Easier, Healthier Tofu Rice Bowl Recipe
- 400g firm tofu
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 cup edamame beans
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
- ½ small red onion, diced
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 4 sheets seaweed, chopped
- Japanese mayo to garnish
- Sesame seeds to garnish
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tbsp ground chilli
- Pinch salt and pepper
- Pat the tofu dry and cut into 1cm x 1cm cubes.
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Coat the tofu in the marinade and stand for at least 15 minutes.
- Air-fry on 200 degrees C for 7 minutes or until golden – open the basket and shake it half way through – no oil required. OR
- Pan-fry with olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Build bowl starting with rice on the bottom. Add seaweed, onion, edamame, avocado, carrot and then tofu on the top. Portion ingredients evenly between 4 bowls.
- Garnish with Japanese mayo and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
YUM! If you give this recipe a crack be sure to tag DCE on socials @deliciously_clean_eats.