A plant-centric diet is undeniably healthy. Whether you are a self-proclaimed vegan, vegetarian, or plant-strong eater, you’re doing your body good by consuming more fruits and vegetables. With these plant-based diets, though, there are a few good tips to know so that you become strong like an ox. Below are some plant-based diet secrets to implement into your diet if you haven’t done so already. If we didn’t include one of your favorite dietary pointers, just add it in the comments below.
1. Eat More Kale (and Other Greens!)
There isn’t an “Eat More Kale” tee shirt just for kicks. Kale and greens alike are nutritional angels, delivering vegans from their protein deficiency sins (which we all know is a pressing issue). A hundred calories of kale has as much protein as a hundred calories of a ¼” fat, broiled Beef short loin; the kale is guaranteed to fill you up more than the meat, too. This green’s nutritional super powers do not stop there though! Kale has a phenomenal concentration of nutrients with vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids all balanced out in perfect harmony. Other greens are nutrient dense too and the more you eat, the better, but kale is the definite rock star of the green group; therefore, it’s a good idea to consider adding it to your next salad or soup. Not only is it meaty and earthy, but it’s also full of health benefits. Broil and serve up some scrumptious kale chips at your next party or to fix your afternoon slump.
2. Add Sea Vegetables Into Your Meals
Don’t underestimate these vegetables of the sea just because they look slimy when they entangle your legs on the beach! These vegetables do more than just hold the rice in your sushi; they supply your body with iodine and B vitamins and could reduce your breast cancer risk. Popular sea vegetables include, but are not limited to, kelp, nori, arame, kombu, hijiki, and sea palm. These vegetables contain as much as 47% protein and a plethora of vitamins from all over the alphabet, but that doesn’t mean you can skip out to the ocean and start gnawing on the nearest green thing you see that’s washed up on the beach. That’s nasty!
3. Embrace Probiotics
Tummy hurt after eating a boatload of root veggies and cruciferous vegetables? Take a probiotic! They are alive, but not in a freaky Frankenstein way! Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria or microflora in fermented foods and beverages, but they can be taken in supplement form. They are beneficial in that they aid digestion and nutrient absorption while contributing to proper immune function. They augment the role of the bacteria already found in the digestive tract, a good perk for plant eaters because of their high fiber intake. Additionally, these helpful organisms treat irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea with success.
4. Variety Is The Spice of Life (Really!)
Stop eating the same vegetable day after day! Broccoli won’t disappear if you don’t consume it for one day, I promise. Varying your plant-based diet is key to long term commitment and to your overall health because no single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs besides good old mom’s breast-milk. Don’t get into the habit of buying the same foods over and over again; instead, explore your local grocery store or grow your own food to ensure that you are fueling your body right. If you vary your daily food intake, you will maintain your immunity, weight, and avoid dietary diseases or illnesses. Serving your food in different ways also boosts variety, as cooking techniques alter the nutritional makeup of foods. For instance, cooking in a cast iron skillet adds a considerable amount of iron to the food you’re cooking. Instead of steaming everything you eat, take your root vegetables and cook them in a natural clay pot. With your extra roots, widdle them with a knife like a block of wood, and repurpose them as gifts because nothing says “Happy Holidays” quite like a hand-carved spud of Abraham Lincoln (just kidding).
5. Beans, not Beef (Mock or the Real Thing)!
The magical fruit (really a vegetable) becomes your best friend when you jump into a plant-based lifestyle! Plus, think of all the money you’ll save on whoopee cushions from Spencer’s Gifts. Beans provide an abundance of nutrients that douse you with the pixie dust you need to fly to Neverland or to an isolated corner to relieve yourself. From folate to fiber, beans have your back: they are high in protein potassium, iron, and magnesium. Meat will step aside in their wake, for the mighty beans contain no cholesterol and are low in fat. Forget the liver on your plate and the Chianti in your glass, eat the fava beans instead!
Image Source: cookbookman17/Flickr
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