|Posted on August 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM|
People choose to eat a plant-based diet for a variety reasons. Some people choose it for health reasons and others because of religious or animal rights beliefs. Whatever the case, there is more to eating a plant-based diet than “just not eating meat”. When it comes to fat loss and maintaining ideal weight, vegetarians can run into problems if they don’t consume enough protein, fruits and vegetables. Sound strange that a vegetarian may not consume enough veggies? It’s not that strange. I have known individuals who consider themselves vegetarians, but they mostly consume refined starchy carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pastas, etc). While, technically, they are eating a plant-based diet, refined and starchy carbohydratesare not an ideal food choice to make up the majority of one’s diet. I refer to individuals who follow this eating plan as starchatarians.
A good plant-based diet should include vegetables and/or fruit, healthy fats and protein with every meal. If you include some animal products in your diet such as eggs, dairy (if you tolerate dairy well) or even fish, then you’re getting complete proteins. If you are strictly vegan, getting complete proteins is more challenging but completely do able. Complete protein plant-based foods include soybeans, quinoa, hemp seed and buckwheat. There are other sources of protein such as nuts and seeds that can be combined to form a complete protein, too, and they don’t have to be eaten together, just during the same day. Also, protein powders are a great way to supplement your protein needs. Choose from hemp or pea proteins.
The bottom line is that if you follow a plant-based diet and you want to lose fat and keep muscle, the key is to ensure that you are a true vegetarian or vegan and not a starchatarian. Increase the amount of protein foods, healthy fats and fruits and vegetables (especially the green leafy ones!) and decrease the amount of grains and sugary carbohydrates you eat. And when available, always choose organic and the least processed foods possible!
Nutrition is personal and the key is finding an eating plan that works for you and your body.
If you would like help putting together a nutritional plan to meet your fitness goals, please check out the services I offer or contact me with any questions you may have. I can design a training and nutrition program tailored specifically for YOU!