THE PLANT-BASED DIET
The Ultimate Guide (2020)
This is a complete guide to your Plant-Based Diet in 2020.
If you’ve been craving information on whole foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes – this definitive diet guide will curb your appetite.
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What is A Plant-Based Diet
Wholesome, fresh fruit, plentiful grains, and starches, lean protein sources – how can a plant-based diet plan not be the right choice for your life?
If you’ve already heard of a plant-based diet you might be asking yourself…
“If I can’t eat meat what will you eat all day”?
“How will I get my protein”?
“Will I be unable to workout due to low energy”?
“Do people who follow a plant-based diet only eat leaves”?
Diet plans can be a little confusing, and a plant-based diet plan is no different.
In this guide, we are going to break down everything you need to know about a plant-based diet so that you can make a smart choice for your physical health and mental wellbeing. Think of this as a complete plant-based diet plan for beginners – let’s build your plan.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is not only eating leaves. People who follow a plant-based diet are not weak and fragile.
On the contrary, modern bodybuilders, power athletes, endurance runners and athletes of all kinds have switched to a plant-based diet plan to improve their performance.
Could a plant-based diet be your best choice when it comes to weight loss, muscle mass and overall health and wellness?
To start, we must understand what a plant-based diet is.
On a very basic level, a plant-based diet is a diet that is as unprocessed as possible (foods that were naturally grown), is high in fiber and contains no animal products.
As we see it, the following are the most important elements of a plant-based diet.
1. High in Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and Vegetables should be a staple in all diets, but this is even more abundant in a plant-based diet. Fruit and vegetables should be about 50% of your intake of total calories.
These little beans and peas are your savor when it comes to protein and minerals. Popular examples of legumes are chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and edamame. Legumes should be about 25% of your plate.
3. Whole Grains
Grains, especially whole-grains like amaranth, buckwheat, oatmeal, and quinoa are essential elements to your diet plan. They will not only provide you with an abundance of fiber but will also supply complex carbohydrates, a good amino acid spectrum, and high mineral levels.
Whole grains should be about 25% of your plate.
Before we move into chapter 2, how to eat plant-based you might be wondering about the 3 most common myths you have heard regarding a plant-based diet. Let’s get these out in the air right now.
Myth 1: Not Enough Protein
The most common myth tells the story that you can’t get enough protein eating plants. This simply isnt true. In fact, the FDA recommendation for protein is exceeded by most plant-based dieters.
See this research article for more information regarding plant-based protein.
Myth 2: Vegetarians and Vegans are Weak and Fragile
There are many factors that go into developing body mass and muscle mass. Weight training, complete and wholesome food, genetics – the idea that someone who turns plant-based will shrivel up and weaken is not scientifically sound.
Those who consume the correct amount of calories and an adequate amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats will maintain body weight and build muscle mass through physical training.
Myth 3: You Can’t Get What You Need
In other words – people think you will become deficient. As discussed in chapter 5, there are consideration to take into account for a plant-based diet but the pros far outweigh the cons. The short answer is no, you will not become deficient and you can get everything you need.
Now that we have those out of the way let’s move into chapter 2 of this ultimate guide. How can you eat plant-based? Let’s find out.
How to Eat Plant-Based
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of each chapter, it is important to understand how to maximize your health through a plant-based diet.
Let’s talk about food.
How to Eat Plant-Based
“What foods can you eat on a plant-based diet”?
This is perhaps the most common question we get. Put very simply, a person who follows a plant-based diet should try to hit these three targets:
Target #1: Whole-Food Approach
Whole-foods are foods that are as unprocessed as possible. For example; instead of choosing white rice, someone who is plant-based may use cauliflower rice or unpolished brown rice.
In this way, the food retains much of its original nutrient values and does not lose its quality or effectiveness in health promotion.
Target #2: No Animal Products
No meat, no dairy, no eggs and try your best to avoid animal by-products like whey, casein or other cheese additives.
Avoiding these products will help to flush unnatural bacteria out of your body, improving your gut health and overall wellbeing.
Target #3: Consume Foods High in Fibre
Foods that are high in fiber are usually foods that are unprocessed and as natural as possible. Develop a habit of checking the nutrient label at your grocery store and choose the foods that have the most fiber in them.
High Fibre Shopping Checklist
Brown grains/whole grains (buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth)
Broccoli, and many other cruciferous vegetables
Fruit such as berries and apples
PRO TIP: Fiber helps to make you feel full and can improve weight loss while lowering inflammation in the body.
Why Go Plant-Based?
It is extremely easy to buy foods that make you “feel good”. Fast foods have a real knack for filling you up and giving you a sense of “wow, that was good” but we all know these foods are unhealthy and unsustainable for our body.
Choosing to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and healthy macronutrients will ensure longevity, happiness, and strength. Here are some of the most important plant-based diet benefits:
Reason 1 – Reduced Inflammation
A largely forgotten aspect of any diet plan, inflammation is crucial for your health and energy. Inflammation comes from the foods we eat, and typically foods like meat and dairy have very high inflammation markers – meaning they make you feel swollen and unhealthy.
Consuming foods like fruit, vegetables, and legumes (especially with the right spices) will ensure that you reduce the inflammation markers in your body and can lead to improved energy, faster recovery from workouts and better moods.
Reason 2 – Lower Onset of Chronic Disease
Everyone wants to look great and this means that sometimes we forget about what effect a diet could have on our body – even if we are losing weight.
Rest assured, a plant-based diet is one of the only types of diet that has been shown to improve quality of life while you are losing weight.
Want to read more about the effects of a Plant-Based diet on Physical and Mental Health? Check out this link.
A plant-based diet benefits:
Lower chances of cancer
Improve blood pressure
Control of diabetes
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
Aid in erectile dysfunction
Dozens of research articles for nearly four decades have shown time and time again that a diet that is high in fruit, vegetables and whole foods can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease (heart disease).
If you have pre-existing heart problems or heart disease runs in the family you will want to continue reading to find out how you can lower your cardiovascular risk through wholesome foods!
Forgotten Benefit: Plant-Based Diet And Asthma
Your first reaction might be to think – there’s no way eating more fruit and vegetables will help with asthma, but it’s true! A predominantly plant-based diet has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to combat and heal the body.
Research has shown that a diet higher in fruit and vegetables (compared to a western-style diet) improves asthma conditions and can actually help to control the symptoms.
A diet plan on a plant-based diet is more simple than you might think. The idea is to eat as many whole-foods as possible.
Some would even say that on this diet you do not need to count calories and instead should eat as much as you want and ensure they are all full of fiber.
A simple plant-based diet plan follows these 5 rules.
Rule #1: Eat Berries
Berries provide antioxidants and phytonutrients which can help to reduce inflammation and aid in weight loss.
Rule #2: Cut Dairy
Dairy is an animal product and needs to be removed from your diet but don’t worry, plant-based milk products are delicious!
Go to your local grocery store and try oat milk, soy milk, rice milk, peanut milk, coconut milk, almond milk – experiment and enjoy.
Rule #3: Eat Fresh When You Can
All the food you eat should be as fresh as possible. Sometimes choosing a frozen product is convenient, saves time and can be cost-effective, most agree that the best weight loss results will come with fresh, unprocessed foods.
Rule #4: Greens Daily
Cruciferous Vegetables are a must for anyone who is looking to go plant-based. Vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts – these are the foods that improve energy levels and provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
Rule #5: Drink Plenty of Water
Water not only hydrates the body but it also helps to flush toxins and improve the digestive system. Try to drink 3-4 liters of water daily.
PS: Don’t worry about the 10 trips to the washroom – this is normal and is completely healthy.
Although the idea of a plant-based diet may seem foreign to some, the idea of a vegetarian diet has been a staple for many cultures.
Due to an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and legumes globally – many cultures have created unique foods like curry, stir fry noodles, burritos and other staple foods to enrich the body.
When it comes to finding foods that will feel your soul without packing on the pounds – a plant-based diet has you covered.
Most Popular Plant-Based Diet Recipe: Coconut Chickpea and Squash Curry
Warming for the soul, plentiful in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats – sometimes a simple curry recipe cannot be beaten.
1 can of cooked chickpeas
1 large butternut squash
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp Garam masala
3 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
1 tbsp of diced ginger
1 tbsp of turmeric
3 tomatoes (or 2 tbsp tomato paste)
Pinch of salt
1. Bring vegetable oil to medium heat in a large saucepan and place garlic, onion, and ginger in a pan to fry. Add 1-tsp of garam masala while everything is frying.
2. Roast butternut squash in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Lightly spiced with garam masala, pepper, and salt.
3. Add roasted squash, rinsed chickpeas, coconut milk, and tomatoes into the saucepan. Bring to a low boil and add 2 tbsp of garam masala and 1tbsp of turmeric.
4. Leave on simmer for 25-35 minutes for a fast and easy chickpea curry to warm the soul and fill the belly.
Fast & Easy: Quick-fix Burrito Bowl
Easy to make with cheap ingredients, a burrito bowl is everything you want and need with a plant-based diet recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
100g cooked rice/quinoa (preferably brown)
1 diced tomato
1 can black beans
1 can of corn
1. Empty your canned ingredients into a strainer and strain well.
2. Cook your rice/quinoa in a rice cooker
3. Add a bed of spinach at the bottom of a large bowl
4. Combine ingredients into a large bowl and stir
5. Carefully slice the avocado into strips and place on top of a burrito bowl
6. Spice with garlic pepper and cilantro – enjoy.
3-Day Plant-Based Meal Guide
A plant-based meal guide does not have to be complex. Most healthy foods are simple and easy to make. Below we have provided a simple 3-day plant-based meal guide for you to follow.
Breakfast: Blueberry, Banana, Flax and Hemp seed Morning Oats with Coffee (no cream or sugar).
Lunch: Burrito Bowl (see recipe in our recipe section).
Dinner: Whole Grain Pasta e Fagioli (pasta with beans & greens in red sauce)
Snack: Clif Bar, Grapes and Apples
Breakfast: Tofu Scramble with Vegetables, mushrooms and toasted pumpkin seeds (my personal favourite plant-based diet breakfast).
Lunch: Chickpea spread on Rye with Tomato, spinach, and onion.
Dinner: Raw Fruit & Vegetable Feast (eat 4-6 handfuls of diced fruit and vegetables) with a peanut butter dip
Snack: Leftover fruit and vegetables with hummus dip
Breakfast: Fruit Platter with Sprouted Grain Toast and Black Coffee
Lunch: Sweet Potato and Squash Vegetables Roast with Brown Rice and Lentils
Dinner: Coconut Chickpea and Squash Curry (Recipe found in recipe section above).
Considerations for a Plant-Based Meal Guide
This meal guide follows the traditional 3-meals per day approach with snacks included. When eating a plant-based diet you must consider that most of the food you will be eating will be lower in calories and higher in fiber.
This means you will feel full without eating as many calories (when compared to other diets).
This is great for weight loss… But not so great for weight gain. If you are trying to put on muscle mass take the meals shown above and nearly double the serving sizes. It might feel like you are eating a lot of food but the total calories will be lower than other meat-based diets.
Starring at mouth-watering recipes and meal plans are the easy part – but how do you actually make the switch to a plant-based diet. This process will take time, but with our tips from industry professionals you have the best shot at success!
How to Make The Switch
It’s time to make the switch – but how do you do it?
We know the rules and targets you should try and accomplish, so let’s talk about how you can make the most of your health by making the switch.
Making the Switch
Making the change can be a difficult move, but in the modern world, it has never been easier.
10 years ago, you would have been the weird friend who is ordering a salad at the restaurant (even though this is a smart choice) but in today’s society, there are hundreds of plant-based options.
Plant-Based vs Vegan
A plant-based dieter is a person who sources the majority of their calories from foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
Not only does a vegan choose to avoid animal products like meat, eggs, milk, and cheese but someone vegan will take the plant-based diet one step further by not wearing clothes created from animal products, or using any product that puts an animal in harm (this includes cleaning and makeup products which can be tested on animals).
For more information on a Vegan diet – check out this article.
Large companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are bringing meatless products to the market that are near-impossible to distinguish from real meat – without any of the negative downsides of traditional high-fat, high cholesterol meat products.
Thinking about making the change to a plant-based diet? Here are 5 simple steps you can take to get you off on the right foot.
Step 1: Test out Meatless Mondays
Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays – there is a theme for every day and every day can be plant-based.
Step 2: Plant-Based for a Week
Commit to going plant-based for one week. Watch your digestion improve and energy levels go through the roof.
Step 3: Fill Fridge with new, Vibrant Foods
The best way to make a change is to grab foods that give you a sense of satiety. Buy colorful, vibrant foods and fill your fridge.
PRO TIP: This is a great technique for anyone who has limited will power since you will be forced to eat what you purchased or the food will spoil and you will have wasted money.
Step 4: Power up Your Protein Intake – Plant-Based Meats
The biggest hurdle for most people comes with getting enough “protein”. Rest assured you can get enough protein by eating whole grains and legumes every day but some new dieters may want to try the plant-based meats.
PRO TIP: The FDA recommendation for protein intake is 50g/day. This means that 1 cup of chickpeas (200g) is 80% of your daily intake of protein (for the average adult consuming 2000 calories a day).
Step 5: Make the Change
When it’s all said and done the “experiment” should turn into a lifestyle. A lifestyle of eating fresh, unprocessed foods that are wholesome and vibrant for your body.
This process is not set in stone. Some of you may feel compelled to cut meat and animal products and try plant-based tomorrow. If this is your choice to be resolute and confident that you made the right decision and continue to Chapter 7: Pros and Cons of a Plant-Based Diet.
Pros and Cons of a Plant-Based Diet
You want to make the switch, but you are also not sure if it is the right move for you.
We completely understand – and truthfully, you should know the important benefits and the potential downsides of this diet.
Let’s dive in.
Pros and Cons of Plant-Based Eating
Some people may have heard of the health benefits of a plant-based diet – but did you know that by eating plant-based you are also saving animal lives and doing your part to help the environment?
Surprising Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
Energy comes from the foods we eat. The more effective our metabolism the more effective our body will become at producing energy throughout the day. Consuming fruit is a staple part of the diet will ensure that your energy levels are sustainably high.
Gut flora is a term used to describe the living organisms inside your gut. Healthy gut flora comes as bacteria that aid in digestion and can even have an effect on your mental capacity.
Eating foods that are unprocessed like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains have positive effects on gut flora and aid in digestion.
This goes hand-in-hand with blood flow and energy levels. The more effective your body is when it is circulating blood through the arteries the more effective your recovery, energy and overall health will be. Foods that are low in inflammatory markers help to improve overall circulation – and these just happen to be plant-based foods.
Lower Onset of Chronic Disease
Diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure – all of these common diseases have a similar cure in the world of naturopathy (the study of natural medicines) and that is a plant-based diet plan.
Research shows that a plant-based diet is the only diet that can effectively “reverse” coronary artery disease – aka, heart disease.
On top of all the proven health benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet plan, weight loss is also the main benefit. Research conducted during the famous “China Study” showed that those who consumed more plant-based foods not only had a lower risk of developing the disease, but they were also thinner and closer to the normal ranges for body mass index.
PRO TIP: To effectively lose weight you must ensure that the total amount of calories taken in (consumed through food) is less than the total calories put out (energy expended during the day).
A Plant-based diet contains highly nutritious food that is low in total calories – a perfect formula for weight loss.
No diet is perfect, and there are some considerations you should know before starting a plant-based diet.
Problems with a Plant-Based Diet
B12 is an energy vitamin that helps to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and functioning correctly. A deficiency in B12 could lead to a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia which can lead to fatigue.
How can you get B12?
Most people should be taking a B12 supplement. Due to modern farming practices, much of the B12 has been stripped from the ground.
Some experts believe that supplementing B12 is the best way to ensure you do not become deficient – even on a traditional North American Diet.
B12 can also be found in algae/seaweed, some mushrooms, tempeh (a fermented soy product) and fortified foods.
Iron is an important element to your health and wellness because it helps your body to create hemoglobin – a protein molecule that carries oxygen from the lungs to working muscle.
Those that are low in Iron are called “Anemic” and this is very common.
Many people who are iron deficient experience fatigue and weakness. This can be due to the lack of oxygen being carried to the muscle.
How can you get enough Iron?
The first step is to eat iron-rich foods like soy, legumes and some nuts/seeds.
Pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and some grains are all a good source of iron.
Next, try to consume foods that improve iron absorption.
Vitamin C containing foods like oranges, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts have been shown to improve the absorption of iron. Try creating a meal with both legumes and green vegetables to ensure you are meeting your iron needs.
This isn’t a huge issue, but it is certainly something to consider. Although restaurants are getting better at providing plant-based alternatives, you will need to make changes to the way you order food when you are at a restaurant (and your friends will have to get used to your new eating habits).
Your best bet will be to stick to the salads. They are the most healthy foods on the menu and when combined with legumes or grains they can be quite filling.
Plant-Based Nutrients – Adequate or Superior?
Considerations should be taken into account but anyone following a plant-based diet plan will get all the required nutrients that the body needs to thrive.
Research has shown time and time again that a plant-based diet could be the most effective style of eating for overall health and well-being.
Where Do You Get Your Protein?
Much of the protein intake should come from legumes and whole grains. Fruit and vegetables are very healthy sources of carbohydrates and vitamins but you will need to eat legumes like beans, lentils and split peas to meet your daily protein levels (this tip is especially important for workout junkies).
TOP TIP: The average exerciser who weighs 175 pounds (80kg) needs to consume approximately 1g/kg of body weight to meet their protein requirements. This is similar to eating 4 cups of cooked chickpeas.
Consideration: Collagen, a peptide-protein serves as the main component for connective tissue in most mammals (including humans). A plant-based diet that is low in total amino acid yield could be low in total collagen.
In this case, collagen supplementation can improve skin health, joint mobility can prevent bone loss, and in some cases could even improve muscle mass.
What About Carbohydrates?
Fruit, vegetables and whole grains contain most of the carbohydrates you will need to consume in a day. Generally speaking, those that follow a whole-food, plant-based diet do not count their carbohydrate intake.
Where Can I Get my Healthy Fats?
Meat and dairy products are where most people consume their fats – but this is an unhealthy way to get your calories. Those that follow a plant-based diet will need to experiment with a variety of fatty foods like nuts/seeds, avocado, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
What About Omega Fatty Acids?
Consuming hemp seeds and flax seeds will provide you with a healthy volume of fat while also supplying a near-perfect omega 3-6 ratio.
Flaxseed can easily be added to your favorite oatmeal or protein shake and hemp seeds are a perfect salad or curry topper.
Should You be Concerned about Vitamins & Minerals?
Definitely not. Assuming you are eating a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds and legumes you will be consuming a vast array of vitamins and minerals.
Whole food plant-based meal plans are filled with vitamins and minerals!
Is there any way you can improve this diet? What about supplements? What about blending my food into a juice? Let’s take some time to advance your diet with our perfected plant-based approach!
Adhering and Advancing
Adhering and Advancing Your Plant-Based Diet
Just as no person is perfect when they are on a diet, no specific diet is perfect – but a plant-based approach comes pretty close. The question is – how do you stick to this diet and are there any ways you can advance or improve this diet?
Tips for Sticking to Your Plant-Based Diet
1. Be Positive
If you walk into this diet with the perspective that you are going to miss the foods you once enjoyed you may not find success. Instead, be positive and enthusiastic about trying new foods.
2. Think Big
This isn’t a diet that is just about weight loss. Plant-based diets have been shown to improve overall health by lowering your risk for chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many more.
3. Find New Restaurants
Almost every neighborhood has a vegan place popping up these days. Heck, we were in Toronto in December and noticed that there are “Plant-Based Butchers” now.
4. Talk to Friends
Talking to your friends and family could be the best way to keep you at this. You’d be surprised that most people have a lack of knowledge on the subject of plant-based foods. Talk to friends and see if they want to make the switch with you.
Be sure to use this comprehensive guide as a resource for them!
5. Track Progress
Sometimes a simple daily log of energy levels, morning weight and 1-10 scale measuring how you feel can help to keep you motivated and engaged.
6. Blend Your Food
Blending food (fruits and vegetables) is a great way to ensure you are getting a lot of calories in a very short eating window. It is much easier to drink your calories from carrots rather than eating them.
7. Big Bowls are Where It’s At
You’re not always going to cook elaborate meals. Big buddha bowls, as they are commonly referred to, are giant bowls with a grain base, protein, loads of vegetables and a sauce to finish.
Tasty, hearty, wholesome and completely nutritious.
8. Stock Up
Always have food ready. Whether this means you are meal prepping a week out or you always have easy-to-cook ready meals, having a stockpile of food will help to ensure you don’t deviate too much from your plan.
9. Be Ready for Cheat Meals
It is not the end of the world if every week or so you feel like indulging in a small candy bar. Just like tip #2 – you must think big. Look at the overall picture.
Sure, that candy bar might not help, but if it helps you keep your sanity then it’s all good.
10. Protein, Carbs, Fats – In this Order
Most protein sources on a plant-based diet will also contain a healthy amount of carbohydrates. For example; chickpeas, a popular plant protein source, are about 50% carbohydrates.
Brown rice, a popular grain contains about 15g of protein (dry) per cup, compared to about 5g for white rice. Prioritize your macronutrients by eating foods that have higher protein content.
Can You Improve a Plant-Based Diet?
Many people may be unsure about a plant-based diet due to the restrictions it places on animal-based products. We think best to answer this question from two perspectives.
Perspective #1 – Flexible Approach
Being somewhat lenient in your approach to a plant-based diet could improve the overall outcomes of total nutrient intake. It is known that unless you are eating flax and hemp seeds, some plant-based dieters may be low in omega fatty acids.
In this case, you could be smart to include wild-caught fish and in some cases, chicken into your diet.
The Williams sisters are famous for calling their diet the “cheagan” diet because in some cases they may include chicken and fish to help with overall protein quality and omega fatty acids.
Perspective #2 – Strict Approach
In this scenario, we are going to assume that you are eating a diet that is very complete. You are keen on your protein, you try to consume most of your carbohydrates from whole foods like fruits and vegetables and you are limiting your fat intake to nuts/seeds with some oil.
In this case, the most effective way to improve a plant-based diet would be to consume fortified foods and supplements. Some fortified foods like plant-based milk and nutritional yeast are great ways to ensure you are getting the necessary calories.
Supplements can also be very effective tools (when used correctly) at ensuring you are meeting daily nutritional requirements. Some of the popular supplements for a plant-based diet include:
Although you can acquire vitamin D through sun exposure, getting enough in the winter (especially in North America) can be difficult. Mushrooms can be an adequate source of Vitamin D but it is an easier and smarter choice to pair your nutrition with a Vitamin D supplement.
Omega Fatty Acids
These essential nutrients can be found in a variety of plant foods like seaweed, flaxseed, and hemp seeds but some plant-based dieters may choose to pair their food intake with a supplement to ensure adequate intake.
B12 This energy vitamin can help to promote healthy blood. B12 helps with the process to make red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout the body. Low levels of B12 have been attributed to fatigue.
Most fortified foods like nutritional yeast and fortified milk/cereal contain adequate B12 concentrations.
Essential Shopping List
10 Items for Your Plant-Based Shopping food list
Every diet guide has food that you need to be eating to live healthy and strong. On a plant-based diet, there are some very important foods that you should be eating.
Here is our list of the 10 most important plant-based diet foods that should be on your shopping list to lose weight, build muscle and improve your overall well being.
Full of nutrients, easy to eat and have been shown to lower muscle fatigue – perfect for those that workout.
PRO TIP: Beets provide dietary nitrate. This helps to vasodilate the veins (open them up) and promote faster recovery. Beets can be consumed before and after a workout.
2. Sweet Potato
Perfect for cooking in a variety of ways, sweet potatoes are a must-eat food. Sweet potatoes contain a good level of beta-carotene, a nutrient that helps promote a healthy immune system, Vitamin C, and they are rich in the muscle-building amino acid L-Leucine.
Lots of protein, good mineral amounts and easy to cook – chickpeas are your best and most versatile food when eating plant-based.
Due to its active ingredient curcumin, this spice has been shown to reduce inflammation and aid in digestion.
A staple food in any diet, tomatoes are great for limiting inflammation and controlling blood pressure.
Soybean has been shown to lower cholesterol and is a wholesome protein source.
Decadent snacks with antioxidants that enrich your blood and improve energy. Try blending them into a smoothie for a healthy drink to have after a meal.
Rich in protein, fiber, and minerals, this grain is ancient and powerful.
No diet is complete without the king of grains.
Boring? Maybe, but bananas are a great source of potassium which can aid in muscle metabolism, water, and electrolyte balance and can even help lower blood pressure.
Bananas are also low in calories and can help sustain weight loss.
Although this plant-based diet food list has some healthy, wholesome foods – can you build muscle and achieve a bodybuilding status on this diet?
In chapter 7, we move away from the specific foods and talk more about diet results and bodybuilding.
Diet Results and Bodybuilding
Amazing Health to Behold
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Weight Loss on A Plant-Based Diet
Most people who are looking to make a dietary change are doing so because they want to lose weight – not to worry, a plant-based diet plan helps with weight loss significantly.
How does a Plant-based diet plan help with weight loss?
A diet that is mainly whole-food and plant-based in its approach will always have the upper hand when it comes to weight loss. This is because a plant-based diet has significant advantages when it comes to metabolism and total caloric intake.
Plant-based diet plans have lower calories (the foods are high in nutrients but low in calories) which aids in keeping your body in a caloric deficit
The high amount of fiber in plant-based foods will help you to feel more full for longer, assisting you in controlling your food intake and overall calories throughout the day.
Net-Carb intake is a fancy way of saying how many “true” carbohydrates your body digests in a meal. Fiber helps to offset this number by making some of the carbohydrates indigestible.
For example: If you consume a slice of bread with 10g of carbs and 3g of fiber your body will only absorb 7g of carbs.
Fiber is indigestible and lowers your net carb intake which can assist in weight loss or weight maintenance.
Plant-based foods are naturally Anti-inflammatory due to their phytonutrient and antioxidant abilities.
There is a reason why most plant foods are considered “superfoods”!
Short-Term Weight Loss
Those who commit to a plant-based diet plan can expect to see results within the first few weeks. The high levels of fiber in the diet and low levels of cholesterol help to clean the arteries and the gut – making way for a faster metabolic rate.
When this is combined with a structured exercise program the results will speak for themselves.
Long-Term Weight Loss
Is the weight-loss sustainable over time? Research shows that those who are on a plant-based diet lost weight but also kept the weight off for longer than those on a traditional diet.
The ever-famous China study also demonstrated that those who followed a predominantly plant-based diet lived longer with a healthier body mass index – which suggests that weight loss is sustainable long term.
Plant-Based Diet and Bodybuilding
Can you put on muscle while following a diet that contains no meat and no animal products? Certainly, you can, and a lot of professional athletes are making the switch and finding great success.
From NBA basketball players to professional bodybuilders, the plant-based wave is hitting the world with purpose.
Bodybuilding on a plant-based diet is no different from bodybuilding on any other diet. You may want to slightly increase your overall caloric intake, buff your plant-based diet protein and carb intake and decrease your fat intake.
Increasing your plant-based diet protein and carbohydrate intake will help your body to recover faster from challenging workouts!
Considering trying a plant-based meal plan? Check out these renowned athletes that all follow a plant-based, vegan lifestyle.
King of the vegan bodybuilding community, Nimai has been vegetarian his entire life and changed to a vegan diet in 2012. He runs an online platform called www.veganfitness.com and promotes a lifestyle that is plant-based and wholesome.
A world-renowned bodybuilder who competed with Arnold Schwarzenegger and long-time vegan health advocate, Jim Morris is over 70 years old and looks like he is in the best shape of his life.
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Both Venus and Serena Williams compete at a very high level in professional tennis and have commended a plant-based diet as having a significant impact on improving recovery and helping to sustain difficult workouts.
Bonus: Popular Plant-Based Celebrities
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You know him as the buff, funny guy in every Hollywood movie, but did you know that he recently switched his diet to be plant-based? In an interview, Mark said that he feels healthier and better after switching to a plant-based diet.
Read more about Mark Wahlberg and his plant-based diet here.
The popular talk show host from Regis and Kelly, now American superstar actress, Kelly Ripe follows a 99% plant-based high alkaline diet! She attributes her health and vitality to make the switch and apart from some wild-caught fish she is completely plant-based and loving it.
Read more about Kelly Ripa and her plant-based diet here.
Check out “The Game Changers”
Still not sure that you can bodybuild on a plant-based diet? Perhaps it’s time you check out the ever-famous documentary by Professional Martial Arts Trainer Jimmy Wilks, The Game Changers.
Can you build muscle on a plant-based diet?
Yes, yes you can.
Can you lose weight on a plant-based diet?
Yes, weight loss is fast and easy!
Now that you know that weight loss and bodybuilding is possible on a plant based diet there is only one more thing to do – provide you with the most important key takeaways to kick-start your new diet!
Summary & Key Takeaways
Is The Plant-Based Diet Right for You?
What is a Plant-Based diet?
A plant-based diet is a diet that removes animal products like meat, eggs, dairy and cheese products and substitutes them for plant-based food sources like grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruit.
Whole-foods like lentils, brown rice, green vegetables, and fruit are a staple in a plant-based diet and help to provide essential nutrients needed for energy, vitality and overall well being.
Why Go Plant-Based?
Decades of research have pointed to a plant-based diet as one of the most effective long-term weight loss and overall health diets. A plant-based diet provides foods that are high in fiber, high in nutrients (like vitamins and minerals) but low in overall calories.
Many people that make the switch to a plant-based diet experience weight loss and improvements in overall energy.
Many people may take a look at the plant-based diet and say that it is too restrictive. Many people might also believe that they will not be able to eat the foods that they have enjoyed all their lives.
How to Go Plant-Based
Making the change to go plant-based is easier than you may think. Although you will need to experiment with new foods, you will find a variety of cultures (especially those in the eastern world) who eat foods that can be prepared to be delicious and completely plant-based.
You should consult your physician before making any significant dietary changes, but you may also find helpful online Naturopaths, Nutritionists, and dieticians who can guide you through these relatively uncharted waters.
A plant-based diet can help to improve your overall wellbeing by enriching your health through whole-foods rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and high fiber.
A plant-based diet has been shown to lower the onset of chronic disease and promote longevity
Bodybuilding and sports performance can be effectively managed on a plant-based diet many athletes are making the switch and thriving with a predominantly whole-food plant-based approach
Plant-based recipes are delicious, easy to cook and very nutritious!
A plant-based diet could be your best shot at sustainable, long term weight loss, health, and improvements in fitness.
A plant-based diet is wholesome, nutritious and offers a wide spectrum of foods from various cultures, cuisines – and, all of it is super healthy for you.
Of course, not everyone is meant to be following a plant-based diet. Let’s finish off this detailed guide by providing you with a simple checklist. If you hit all the markers, it could be time to try a plant-based diet plan.
Do you wake up tired or fatigued – coffee sprung and looking for new food?
A plant-based diet plan has been shown to drastically improve energy and sleep.
Have you tried all the diets and nothing seems to help you lose weight?
A plant-based diet has very little caloric restrictions – due to the high fiber and abundance of nutrients with low caloric levels you will feel like you are eating more food without the calories!
Trying to build muscle without consuming an entire chicken every day?
Using plant-based protein alternatives like soybean and legumes can help to lower cholesterol, improve blood lipids and provide adequate protein intake.
Simply want a change in your diet and lifestyle?
A new and fresh experience is waiting just around the corner from you. Go to your local grocery store or farmers market and grab new fruit and vegetables that you may have never tried. Enjoy the changes and health advantages that a whole-food plant-based diet plan has for you.
What do you eat for breakfast on a plant-based diet?
Oats, barley, beans, soy products. You should always try to consume complex carbohydrates like fruit and whole grains for breakfast as they will fill you with fiber and wholesome nutrition.
Can you eat eggs on a plant-based diet?
It is important to understand that your diet is unique to you. Although a plant-based diet will exclude all animal products, including eggs, some people may want to consume eggs – these people are classified as ovo-vegetarians (they follow a vegetarian diet with eggs).
What’s the difference between plant-based diet vs vegan?
From a dietary perspective there is no difference. Both follow a plant-based approach, but vegans will take it one step further and avoid animal products in shampoo, creme, shoes, clothing etc. Vegans try to avoid anything that can bring harm to animals.
Comments or questions? Be sure to leave us a line below. We’d love to talk more about this fascinating lifestyle and all its benefits.
PDF version contains all of the content and resources found in the web-based guide.