How to Start Eating a Plant-Based Diet

by | Dec 13, 2019 | General

Do you want my #1 tip to make 2020 the year you finally lose weight and get healthy?

Imagine if you felt vibrant energy upon waking up each morning, had driven focus to execute each to-do list item throughout your day, and your energy continued into an evening where you mastered your routines of self-care and task completion.

Year after year, you’ve resolved to shed the excess pounds, eat clean, get into a habit of exercising, and spend more time doing what matters most to you…but by the year’s end, you realize the only habit you’ve stuck to is your annual New Year’s resolution.

As an Integrative Functional Medicine Doctor, I know my patients all share the desire to have more energy, be at a healthy weight and feel their best. And I know you want this too.

You don’t have to make abrupt and overwhelming changes to transform your life. In fact, research has shown crash diets habitually do not produce lasting results. The reality is you eat for reasons other than for daily nutrition-regardless of your weight. Whether it is external cues such as seeing others eat, eating to cope with stress or boredom, or the confusion surrounding what to eat…I understand making healthy choices and change can be hard.

You need a functional change that you will enjoy having as a part of your lifestyle. And if you surround yourself with motivational resources such as my blog and supportive relationships-you will further the success of your health goals.

So, what is my #1 tip?

Simply devote yourself to a plant-based diet that, over time, will elevate you to increased energy, stable weight, and better health.

Being plant-based does not mean you have to give up meat, it just means that your choice of foods come primarily from plants and that you avoid processed ingredients. Foods in a plant-based diet are: Vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, oils, beans, legumes and whole grains.

Why Go Plant-Based?
1. Because research shows that being plant-based lowers your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive diseases, colon and breast cancers, and can help lower body weight and reduce total and LDL cholesterol.

-Plant-based foods have phytonutrients with antioxidant and ant inflammatory properties. They help boost and repair cells and their functions, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase blood circulation.

Plants are rich in soluble fiber which slows down absorption of cholesterol and reduces the amount your liver produces. Studies have shown that eating plant-based can boost your metabolism, helping you with weight loss.

2. Because plant-based diets produce lower counts of certain harmful gut flora and promote more diverse and stable floras.

-Fibers found exclusively in plants increase amounts of beneficial flora which provide anti-pathogenic and anti-inflammatory effects as well as cardiovascular protection. High fiber encourages growth of flora that create short-chain fatty acids.

Studies show gut flora can influence human health, behavior, and certain neurological disorders. Eating plants increases the flora associated with lower levels of the stress hormone-cortisol, which can help with hormone imbalance.

3. Because a balanced gut microbiome is related to healthy aging.

-The health of your microbiome predicts the outcome of your health. As mentioned earlier, plants help to boost beneficial flora which help nourish and restore cellular function-supporting youthful appearing skin.

When you eat a healthy plant-based diet high in antioxidants and limit your intake of animal proteins, you inhibit mTOR (a cell regulating enzyme) from speeding up the rate of unhealthy cellular growth.

4. Because eating less meat can help you to eat fewer calories and fat.

-Meats are high in energy and fat content, with studies showing that those who eat meat regularly have a higher risk for obesity.

The meat industry also accounts for the largest impact on our environmental degradation, including greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use.

5. Because plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals for optimal health, and offer high amounts of phytonutrients and fiber.

– Your individual nutritional needs will vary based on factors such as body size, medical conditions and activity level.

TIPS FOR EATING MORE PLANT-BASED

1. Try ‘Meatless Monday’ and progress to a few meatless dinners throughout your week. Plan meals that have your favorite entrees that are meatless or where you can substitute plant-based proteins such as beans, legumes, tempeh, tofu, or mushrooms.

2. If you’re not into cooking, get inspired by checking out local restaurants that feature meatless options.

3. If meat is a part of your meal, try to choose lean cuts and avoid over-sized portions. A serving should be no more than 85 grams, or approximately the size of a deck of cards.

4. Buy mostly unpackaged foods and avoid processed foods. If the label has ingredients you don’t recognize or that you can’t pronounce…put it back!

5. Think of food as your fuel. Just as you wouldn’t fuel a gas car with diesel, don’t try to fuel your body with foods devoid of nutrients. Pay attention to food quality, and when possible, look for locally-sourced, seasonal, organic foods.

By following a healthy plant-based lifestyle, you can start to lose weight naturally, lower your cortisol, feel less hormone imbalance, and feel energized by foods that strengthen your body’s functions.

If you haven't tried my elimination diet yet, what are you waiting for? Find out which foods best work with your body by clicking HERE.

***BONUS Plant-Based cookie recipe!***

Butternut Squash Christmas Cookies

These cookies are full of nutritional ingredients and feature seasonal butternut squash. They are soft in texture, and high in Omega-3's, beta-carotene and fiber.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups pureed butternut squash

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup EVOO

1 large egg

1 tspn vanilla extract

2.5 cups almond flour

1 tspn cinnamon

1 tspn baking powder

½ tspn baking soda

½ tspn salt

½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds

½ cup cranberries

Instructions:

1. Preheat over to 275 degrees F.

2. Mix together squash, sugar, vanilla, egg and oil. In another bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, b. powder, b. soda and salt.

3. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir in nuts and cranberries.

4. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets, giving them space to expand as they bake.

5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottom. Use a spatula to move cookies onto a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

For more information on Functional Medicine visit my website at KiranGrewalMD.com and follow us on Instagram & Facebook for daily health tips, information and inspiration.

To Your Health,

Kiran Grewal MD

"My goal is to share my knowledge with the world. I believe in delivering valuable and ethical content that changes the lives of my patients." -Kiran Grewal MD