Plant Based 101

If you’re starting the New Year aiming to be healthier over the next 12 months and beyond, your diet is likely one of the things you’re looking at.

For many, a plant-based diet comes to mind. And if it makes sense for your needs, it can also potentially deliver some serious benefits.

What is a plant-based diet?

There are a LOT of different definitions of plant-based floating around out there. Ask one person and they’ll tell you plant-based is the same as being vegan. Ask another, and they’ll say that it’s about focusing on minimally processed foods that are mostly from plants. We say - they can both be right.

At its simplest, it’s a diet based on eating plants.

If you choose to follow a plant-based diet, some go-to’s you’ll want to add to your grocery list are nutrient-dense foods like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

You’ll also be phasing out animal-based products like meat, fish, eggs and dairy. But if you’re just getting started, it doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘all or nothing.’

Many people gradually make this change, which can make eating plant-based more attainable & maintainable. Some eventually go entirely plant-based, while others might occasionally eat fish or eggs. It's about finding what works for you.

When researching, you might also come across the term a "plant-based whole foods diet." A whole foods diet means eating foods in their unprocessed form as much as possible. This often also includes avoiding or minimizing refined or processed ingredients like oils and sugar when you can.

The idea is that you're eating foods that are as nutrient-dense as possible. Even the most nutritious foods can lose a massive amount of their natural goodness when overly-processed.

Why do people choose a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet lets you adjust and grow to find what works best for you. Which makes sense since we all have different reasons for going plant-based – maybe it’s your health, for the environment, or even for the animals. And in the process, you can have a positive impact on all those things and more.

A few other common reasons to make the switch can include:

  • Feeling Good - Switching to a plant-based diet can potentially help improve digestion, weight management, reduce inflammation, improve skin health and more.
  • Being Proactive - There’s an increasingly strong link between plant-based diets and reducing the risk of illness and diseases like heart disease.
  • Living Sustainably - A more plant-based diet can have a positive impact on reducing your environmental footprint, especially when it comes to swapping out meat & dairy.

Getting started with a plant-based diet

Here are some tips that can help with adopting a more plant-based diet - whether your goal is to go entirely plant-based or you simply want to move towards living a healthier lifestyle.

1. Don’t pressure yourself to go “all in”

You don’t need to go 100% plant-based from day one. But if this is what you want to do, then great!

The bottom line is that most of us would benefit from eating more fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods as a part of a more balanced diet. So even if you don't completely give up meat or dairy right from the start, swapping out even some of it in your diet for more plant-based foods can help kick-start those benefits.

Try starting with meat-free Mondays and adding more plant-based meals into your week at your own pace.

2. Better Breakfasts = Better Mornings

The most important meal of the day. Especially to help avoid getting to lunchtime craving something that’ll leave you feeling less-than-great!

You can introduce plant-based foods to every element of your breakfast:

  • Try swapping the dairy milk in your cereal for Plant-Based Milk
  • Skip the meat, and try a tofu scramble packed with your favorite veggies
  • Mix up a batch of overnight oats or chia pudding made with your favorite Plant Milk & yogurt for an easy make-ahead option
  • Add a Plant-Based Coffee Creamer instead of a dairy creamer to your morning cup of coffee or try frothing up a velvety latte

3. Eat the rainbow

This is how to eat more vegetables 101, and it's sound advice. It's also a great way to encourage children to eat plant-based meals by making food fun. How many different colors can you get on your plate?

4. All About Moderation

One of the keys to making the change to a healthy plant-based lifestyle a lasting one? Not having to feel like you’re sacrificing your favorite foods, or even treats, just because you’re eating more plant-based.

It’s all about finding the right swaps so you can still enjoy the things you love, made with simple and nutritious ingredients that your body will love, too. Or when there isn’t another option, still being able to indulge from time to time while finding balance in the rest of your day.

Will I be healthier eating a plant-based diet?

Not necessarily, but the good news is that you have the power to make sure the answer is a resounding “yes!”.

This is the kicker when it comes to changing your diet. It's easy to assume you're being healthier by reducing your meat and dairy intake, for example. But just because something says it is "plant-based" or "vegan" doesn't automatically mean it's healthier.

For example when it comes to making changes like swapping to Plant-Based Milk from dairy, you need to get comfortable with reading ingredient lists & nutrition labels. You'd be amazed at how many unnecessary ingredients like thickeners, gums and additives can be in Plant Milks and other products.

Check out the amazing plant-based recipes you can make with your Elmhurst Plant Milk

A simple swap that’ll never leave you feeling like you’re missing out is upgrading to Elmhurst plant milks. We start with the simplest ingredients, and with our unique HyrdoRelease™ method we’re able to give you up to 4X more nuts & whole grains in every glass compared to other plant milks.

Not only do you get more nutritional goodness in every sip, you can also enjoy & cook with them just like dairy milk. They’re perfect for using in your favorite recipes as you embrace a more plant-based lifestyle.

Looking for inspiration to help make your plant-based journey a tasty one? Our recipes section is loaded with ideas for plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan meals, snacks, and drinks.

With no hidden ingredients or added junk in your Elmhurst, you can go plant-based and enjoy all the benefits without compromising. Good luck!