Moving to a whole plant-based diet should not be about getting that beach body as much as it is about finally living an ethical life free from illness, fatigue, tiredness, etc. I do believe that including regular plant-based meals to your regular diet is a holistic approach to better health.
If losing some extra weight is part of your healthy weight loss & fitness journey goals, I’m here to tell you that eating plants is an amazing idea. If feeling more energised and ALIVE is part of your healthy fitness goals, plant-based dieting is the way to go. Whatever your reasons for following this lifestyle are, there are multiple ways you can expect to benefit from this decision.
DISCLAIMER: A plant-based diet is a diet that focuses around foods derived from plant sources; such as vegetables, pulses, legumes, grains, fruits, nuts etc. Plant-based diets are similar to vegan diets, where no animal product is consumed at all. However, plant-based eating means consuming more plant-derived foods and cutting back on animal products, but in some cases not entirely. A vegan diet is strictly against animal products. I must disclaim that even though this is the foundation of my current diet, occasionally I do still consume foods that derive from dairy, which are mainly snacks such as chocolate or biscuits.
I am not an expert by any means; but I am here to share with you my best advice as I have transitioned to this lifestyle. Here are 5 changes that happened to my body after transitioning to a plant-based diet:
1- I reached my healthy weight loss goals
It’s unsurprising that plant-based foods are packed with nutrients which are naturally lower in calories and fats in comparison to animal-based foods. A well balanced plant-based diet moves away from super processed foods that contribute to unhealthy weight gain, such as saturated fats and refined sugar.
There are multiple scientific studies that mention the growing in popularity of plant-based diets due to its proved health benefits in compartision to omnivorous diets. A plant-based diet can protect against chronic diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Further research proves that people on a plant-based diet usually present a lower body mass index (BMI).
Plant-based whole foods may be better suited to keeping you trim and leaner than traditional diets. However, do make sure that you are keeping an eye on your macros and micro nutrients to ensure you get everything!
Before I became plant-based, I dropped 20 KG (44 Ibs) in 6 months. I was very happy with that weight, until I decided to follow a plant-based diet and my body changed drastically! I got leaner and in only 4 months I dropped 10 Kg (22 Ibs).
2- I feel less bloated
There are multiple studies that show that people who follow a plant-based diet benefit from good gut health thanks to the increase fiber intake found in whole plant-based foods.
I personally find that I digest almost every meal I’ve consumed within the hour. Also, when I eat more than usually I go back to normal very quick. I’m actually hardly ever bloated!
I must add that when you adapt to a plant-based diet, at first you may actually feel a bit bloated or even gassy. When you follow this diet, you are likely to be eating more fiber than before, and your body is adjusting to these new changes.
Fiber is a key component to a well-balanced diet. It is a carbohydrate that keeps our digestive system healthy. It also helps us feel fuller for longer, can improve blood sugar levels and help prevent some diseases such as diabetes or bowel cancer.
TIP: Do make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. I know this is something you are tired of hearing but fiber works best when it absorbs water.
3-I have more energy
I feel more energised than I ever did. In fact, I started waking up at 5/6 A.M. and hitting the gym straight after adapting to a plant-based diet. I no longer take naps, and most mornings I actually wake up before my alarm.
Food is fuel regardless of what diet you follow. Calling yourself plant-based doesn’t automatically make you healthy. However, different studies prove that when reducing meat consumption, our bodies don’t have to use as much energy to digest our food.
When following a plant-based diet do make sure that you are eating enough calories! Again, keep track of your macros (carbs, fats and proteins) and make sure your body is properly nourished.
4- I constantly try new dishes and new foods
New foods mean new ways of cooking. If you’re not familiar with pulses, legumes or tofu, it may take you a few times until you feel you’ve got it. A plant-based diet is not just about fruits and vegetables! As you adapt to this new lifestyle, your taste buds will “reset” and adapt to these kind of foods.
Make sure you’re not replacing meat with highly processed meat substitutes such as “vegan junk food”. Going plant-based is much easier these days. There are PLENTY of solutions and ideas online and in supermarkets: Youtube videos, books, supplements, etc.
5- I eat more
I have already mentioned in this article that whole plant-based foods are generally lower in calories than animal products. I do feel like I eat A LOT more now. I don’t stop myself from sweet cravings.
Make sure you eat a variety of plant-based proteins throughout the day so you get all the amino acids you need. Choose foods that are higher in protein to feel of fullness (tofu, Tempe, etc). Plant-based protein foods are generally lower in calories and other nutrients that our bodies need! These type of foods will also help you feel more satiated and less hungry.
Remember that you should ultimately follow the diet that is best for you and is sustainable for your lifestyle. Before committing to this diet (or any other diet) I suggest you speak to a professional first (I visited my regular doctor). Also remember that people adapt differently to diets, and what worked for me might not work for you. On a different note, if you decide to go ahead with this diet, the availability of plant-based food in the market means you can do it much easier than before.
Many thanks for reading!
You can follow me on Instagram to see more of my transformation and progress! @Sunkissedaby @thegypsysoulofficial
Are you ready for 2020? What are your fitness goals? Tell me tell me!
© Rabab Mahir, 2019, for The Gypsy Soul: A Guide To Taking Care of Yourself