Staying Sustainable through a Plant-Based Diet
April showers bring May flowers, and by flowers that includes plants too! Did you know that by adopting a Plant-Based diet, you are adopting a sustainable practice to help save the Earth? Not only does April celebrate National Earth Day, it is also National Sustainability Month, which means finding new and innovative ways to increase sustainability.
Daily living provides so many different opportunities to be sustainable to help the Earth out! We can all be more sustainable with small actions on a daily basis starting today.
So, What exactly does a Plant-Based Diet mean?
Plant-Based is an approach that focuses primarily on plants. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. Following a plant-based way of eating means to compose your meals/snacks in a plant-centric way. What it does NOT mean is to be restrictive against eating animal products, such as meat or dairy. Rather the goal of it is to choose predominantly natural, whole foods in proportion to other sources and to be more mindful about including plant foods. It’s always black and white — the way we eat does not need a label, and following a plant-based way of eating helps us understand and get into that grey area. We can eat both veggies and animal products.
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet include:
- Necessary amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health and nutrition
- High in fiber and phytonutrients
- Decrease risk of chronic disease, such heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and obesity
- Lowers inflammation and cholesterol levels
- Environmentally sustainable
5 Ways to Get More Plant-Based:
- Fill up on the veggies. Fill half your plant with leafy greens and colorful vegetables. Include a variety of colors. Enjoy as a side salad, sauteed, or as a snack with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.
- Fuel with healthy fats. Use good-for-you unsaturated fats such as olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados. Fats provide a satiety factor, which will keep you fuller for longer.
- Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night a week. Dedicate one day to eating plant-centric, such as Meatless Mondays or Plant Fueling Fridays. Create meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Try bean tacos, quinoa buddha bowls, lentil stews, or search for more recipe inspiration.
- Freshen up with fruits. Include fresh or frozen fruit to your breakfast. Add to oatmeal, porridge, whole grain cereal, chia seed pudding, on top of toast, or coconut yogurt. Add some nuts / nut butter or seeds along for full satisfaction!
- Sweeten it up with fruit dessert. End your meal with a ripe, juicy fruit salad or handheld piece of fruit to curb your craving. Try peaches, grapes, orange, apple sauce, melon, or banana with cinnamon or a drizzle of honey for a sweet bite after a meal.
What ways can you eat more plants? Let’s help the Earth out one plant-based bite at a time!