With the mounting interest in plant-based diets or eating, women, just like others have become curious about it. Especially, pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant are learning more about plant-based diets. Due to the benefits, it’s not unusual that it is gaining so much importance and attention.
But there are many questions that come to our mind when we say plant-based diets. Why it has become the talk of the town and why a large number of people are switching to this type of diet? Or is a plant-based and vegan diet the same thing. If these questions are bothering you, you have just landed on the right spot. Continue on to get the answers.
What Are We Talking About?
First thing first, what is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is the one in which we basically focus on eating more amount of plant or plant-derived food. We can consider plant-based as an umbrella term under which a lot of diets fall.
Generally, you emphasize more vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, etc. and limit the use of animal products. For example, a Mediterranean diet is also a plant-based diet since it emphasizes on more plant-based foods than animals. Just like that both vegetarian and vegan are also plant-based diets with minor differences, so don’t get confused. It varies from diet to diet how many restrictions you want in the diet.
Plant-based diets contain the following dos and don’ts:
Say No or Limit these:
- Dairy products such as cheese or milk
- Poultry and meat such as beef, pork, or chicken
- No Processed meats, like hotdogs or sausages
- Refined grains like white bread, rice, or pasta
Can drink and Eat:
- Coffee, Tea (such as black, lavender, ginger or green)
- Beans, Lentils
- Fruits (such as apple, orange, grapes, and grapefruit)
- Seeds and seeds (such as flaxseed, almond, peanut)
- Whole grains (such as farro, whole-wheat bread, brown rice)
- Vegetables (including collard greens, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, and kale)
Types of Plant-Based Diets
There are many types of plant-based diets. You can choose what you like the best, just like an ice cream flavor. It’s up to you what works best for you or what is more appealing to you.
• Vegans strictly avoid anything from animals such as eggs dairy, meat, and even honey.
• Ovo-vegetarians allow themselves to eat eggs and entirely avoid anything derived from animals such as dairy, meat, etc.
• Lacto-ovo vegetarians can eat eggs and dairy food. But they restrict themselves from eating seafood, meat or poultry.
• Lacto-vegetarians are allowed to eat dairy foods but exclude poultry, meat, seafood, and eggs.
• Flexitarians also called semi-vegetarians that allow themselves to occasionally eat poultry or meat.
• Pescatarians are vegetarians that limit animal products but can eat fish or/and shellfish (This is what I am — approximately 3 years now)
Why Start Plant-Based Diets:
There are a variety of reasons why women are choosing a plant-based diet such as a lot of health benefits that these diets offer. They switch to this type of diet because of their concern about the environment, animal treatment, weight loss, social pressure, or simply the taste.
Another important reason why people especially women are going crazy over these diets is that these diets and their effects are well researched. The results are backed by scientific evidence. They have become aware of the health benefits these diets provide. One of the major sources of this awareness is the documentaries such as Forks over Knives (2011) or Conspiracy (2014).
If you follow diets that are balanced and well planned they offer healthy life for people of all ages such as pregnant women or children.
Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
There is so much goodness to share, it’s very hard to choose where to start from. Eating healthy food is very important to maintain optimal health for women who are endlessly balancing never-ending chores. Good eating habits and choices make our mind and body very active and reduce the risk of developing many diseases such as manage heart disease, diabetes, weight, cancer, etc.
Mentioned below are the benefits of plant-based diets for women.
Controls blood sugar
High Blood sugar levels affect egg health, hormones, and ovulation. Processed food makes your blood sugar levels to rise instantly. Eating a plant-based diet is very effective in controlling these levels and maintain good reproductive health. Amazing plant fat and protein slowly break down and so a gradual slower increase in blood sugar results.
Manage ovulatory infertility
Plant-based diets can be very helpful in managing ovulatory infertility. Scientists are of the view that ovulatory infertility can be reduced by 50% by eating one serving of peas or beans instead of animal food. So, if you are trying to conceive try these inexpensive beans and peas along with other plant foods.
Plant proteins are loaded with folate and iron, that are very important for various stages of women life such as pregnancy, postpartum, or fertility.
Prolonged inflammation is very bad for our health, especially for the reproductive system. A plant-based diet helps by providing plenty of anti-inflammatory compounds to dampen inflammation. Fruits, vegetables such as tomatoes, olives, strawberries, and oranges are enriched with such anti-inflammatory compounds.
Source of prebiotics
Prebiotics are essential for good gut health as they increase the number of good bacteria, and boost the immune system. You can use foods such as garlic, onion, asparagus, banana, and chicory root since they are packed with prebiotics.
As compared to non-vegetarian diets, plant-based diets can help in lowering the chances of developing heart disease. Research has proved that green leafy veggies, fruits are very effective in reversing and preventing heart diseases.
Reduce the risk of endometriosis or fibroids
No food can fully treat fibroids or endometriosis. Research indicates that veggies and can help to reduce the risk of fibroids and can also protect you from endometriosis. Fiber-rich plant foods can be very effective in managing the symptom of fibroids and endometriosis such as constipation.
Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s
Saturated fat and Trans fat and saturated fats in meat and dairy can increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other mental issues. The plant-based diet is rich in vitamins, folate, and antioxidants that may give protection from this disease.
How do I Start?
This transition is only possible when you have made up your mind to follow the diet. If your mind is not at ease and you are forcing yourself, then it would not give any results. Whatever is your driving force write it down and keep it close to your heart?
We know that it is very difficult to leave the steak or omelet all at once. The best approach is to start with small changes in diet. You can gradually add more veggies in your diet and cut off meat products. If you overturn your diet in one day, it is very likely that you would not be able to stick to it.
Each week implement a few changes. For example, you can use dairy-free milk instead of cow’s milk. Or you can choose one meal a day or even one day in the week on which you would not eat any animal product. Just keep your mind positive and focus on the bright side of using the plant-based diet.
Be ready to eat a lot of food especially, if your diet contained more processed and animal foods. Since veggies and fruits are not loaded with dense calories you have to eat a lot of them. Also, you should always have some snacks or food prepared for you so that you don’t have to eat any animal-derived food present at home.
Carefully planned plant-based eating or diet can help women live a healthy life at every stage. Make sure to add whole foods to make your diet sustainable and balanced. Ladies before doing anything it is very good to first consult your physician. And if he gives a thumbs up, wait no more, and embrace the goodness of plants.
Stay healthy, stay happy 🙂