HOW DOES A BALANCED VEGAN PLANT-BASED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Transitioning from one type of diet to a whole-food plant-based vegan diet is not an easy process and it can be stressful. After all, you are transitioning to the unknown, it doesn't matter how much you read about going vegan, you will make mistakes. You have to experience extremes to find the middle ground. That's why you hear about some losing weight while others gain weight until they realise what lead to this and adjust their dietary intake. I came up with 5 things to consider to create a healthy balanced vegan diet.
Planning makes it a hell of a lot easier. It makes you more relaxed around the meal times, yet you can make space for some soul food (=food that is comforting and usually has emotional association attached to it). Planning is also great for helping you with budgeting your food bill, so a balanced diet is another way to achieve a balanced bank account. We all know that, yet inconveniently forget about it.
2. Less processed – more wholesome food
I’m quite a purist when it comes to food – the shorter the production process - the better - the more likely the food will be in its natural state. So, making it a priority to use wholesome food ingredients while planning vegetarian diet gives less room for nutrient lacking food choices. Legumes, grains, plant proteins, nuts and seeds, some dairy products and eggs are some of the main wholesome choices.
3. Veggies and fruits
There is a reason why it’s not ‘fruits and veggies’. Although natural, fruits are high in sugar whereas majority of veg are mostly fibre and water. Yet both of these food groups are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. 5-A-DAY is not the mantra anymore and has been replaced by 10-A-DAY.
Sadly, majority of people in the UK do not even reach the recommended 5 portions.
4. Hydration is key
Our cells are made of water and that's where major cellar processes take place if you remember your biology lessons at school. Drink water. Two ways to do it: 1) liquid H2O and 2) Foods high in water content. Cucumbers, lettuce, courgette or zucchini, radish, celery, tomatoes, to name a few, are over 90% water.
5. Moderation or abstinence?
A while ago I came across, this idea of some people being either moderators or abstainers. People who choose to have the ‘forbidden’ food in small quantities, in this case nutrient lacking processed vegetarian foods, are moderators. Whereas the abstainers, do better when the temptation is out of sight. Basically, this gives hope to those of us who don’t do well when the temptation is around. If balance means abstinence for you – that’s okay. If the thought of having a little bit of that something you think ‘you shouldn’t have’ doesn’t throw you off the track– that’s okay too.