Being a vegetarian or a vegan seems to be becoming a trend for many. As we scroll through our newsfeeds, we are constantly being bombarded by vegetarian/vegan food videos. But, is becoming a vegetarian/vegan beneficial to your health?
When you think of a vegetarian/vegan diet, think outside the box, and don’t limit your imagination to vegetables only. A healthy balanced vegetarian/vegan diet should include different plant foods, including grains, beans, pulses, seeds, nuts, and of course fruits and vegetables. Always try to balance your plate in a way that ½ of your plate is vegetable, ¼ of your plate is grain, ¼ of your plate is a protein-rich source.
A vegetarian/vegan diet, which can also be known as a plant-based diet, can bring you tremendous health benefits if done properly:
- Evidences have suggested that a plant-based diet can help manage chronic conditions that many of us are living with, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood lipids and cardiovascular diseases.
- A typical plant-based diet staples include vegetables, fruits, whole grains legumes and nuts and all shown to have protective effects against chronic disease. These foods are usually rich in dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and E, and lower in saturated fat, and cholesterol.
- Weight loss can also be a side effect of switching to a plant-based diet. This is because people who adopt a vegetarian/vegan diet tend to be more aware of what they are consuming. They also tend to avoid processed food or products high in sugar, salt and calories.
However, a plant-based diet is naturally low in calcium, vitamin D, Iron, vitamin B12, and omega 3 fatty acid. But, it is possible to avoid these nutrient inadequacy through healthy food choices, and possibly supplements. Talk to our nutrition team for healthy food choices ideas, and receive an assessment on whether you are at risk for any nutrient inadequacy.
A final take home message!
A plant based diet is not a diet, but a lifestyle. The main goal is to minimize processed foods, added sugar and animal products, while maximizing nutrient-dense plant foods.
Some people may not be used to the diet high in fiber initially. Therefore, it is recommended to start slow, and build up gradually. Start by doing a meatless monday – while it might seem like a small amount, it adds up! Finally, go check out our vegetarian/vegan program and contact us to see if this program is for you!
Lee, V., McKay, T., & Ardern, C. (2015). Awareness and Perception of Plant-Based Diets for the Treatment and Management of Type 2 Diabetes in a Community Education Clinic: A Pilot Study. Journal Of Nutrition And Metabolism, 2015, 1-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/236234
Tuso, P. (2015). A Plant-Based Diet, Atherogenesis, and Coronary Artery Disease Prevention. Permj, 62-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.7812/tpp/14-036
Le, L. & Sabaté, J. (2014). Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts. Nutrients, 6(6), 2131-2147. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu6062131
Tuso, P. (2015). A Plant-Based Diet, Atherogenesis, and Coronary Artery Disease Prevention. The Permanente Journal, 62-67. doi:10.7812/tpp/14-036