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The Plant Based Diet - Part One

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Let’s talk VEGGIES!

Defining Plant-Based Eating:

Vegetarians do not eat meat, but consume dairy-based products. This is generally the largest group of plant-based eaters. Vegetarianism is technically broken into these categories;

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: consume eggs and dairy products.

Lacto-vegetarians: consume dairy products, but not eggs.

Ovo-vegetarians: consume eggs, but not dairy.

Vegans: do not eat meat or dairy. Vegan lifestyles are stricter and do not include products produced from living creatures such as honey or gelatin. Veganism is considered a lifestyle, while vegetarianism is viewed more as a diet.

Pescatarians: do not eat meat, but consume fish.

Fruitarians: consume raw fruits, seeds and nuts, but no vegetables, grains or animal products.

Plant-based eating is the elimination of meat and/or animal-based products. This popular alternative lifestyle has taken over the world and plants have become the primary fuel for many individuals.

Why Do People Choose Plant-based Diets?

People choose a vegetarian diet for many reasons. Some people dislike the taste of meat, for some people, eating vegetarian is a way to be healthier or to avoid hormones used in animal foods. For others, it has more to do with cultural and religious practices or ethical reasons; animal rights (a desire not to harm animals) and environmental concerns.

If you’re considering a vegetarian diet, you’ll want to consider what type of vegetarian you’ll be. Once you’ve decided which foods you’ll avoid, you’ll also want to come up with a plan to ensure that you’re able to get all the nutrients your body needs. With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy balanced veggie diet you can get all the nutrients you body needs. If you do not plan your diet properly you will miss out on essential nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12

What is plant based protein?

Here are some sources of high-quality plant-based proteins:

  • Beans and legumes

  • Dark, leafy greens

  • Hemp seeds

  • Nut or soy milk

  • Nut butters

  • Nuts & seeds

  • Quinoa and millet

  • Sprouted bean breads

  • Tofu, seitan and tempeh

Plant Protein Examples:

Source Serving Size Protein (grams)

Tempeh 1cup 31g

Buckwheat 1cup 23g

Seitan 3 ounces 21g

Tofu 1 cup 20g

These plant based protein sources can be easily incorporated into any meals. For example, quinoa and buckwheat can be served instead of potatoes or rice, they are also a healthy alternative to a protein-packed breakfast cereal. Beans and lentils are great protein additions to toss in chili, soups and salads. Other plant-based proteins such as tempeh, seitan and tofu can be cooked (broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed) similar to meat and enjoyed a number of ways.

Plant-Based Macronutrient Tips:

Plant-based eaters consume a higher amount of carbohydrates than their meat-eating counterparts. Individuals focused on losing weight; benefit from eating more fruit and plant sources for carbohydrates. The suggested protein intake is 0.4 - 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. Athletes typically require more protein per day and should aim for the higher end of that scale to ensure adequate intake and muscle recovery.

Ideally, each meal should be a balance of fat, carbohydrate and protein.

Examples include:

  • Bean and rice casseroles or salads

  • Fruit smoothie blended with coconut milk (optional protein powder)

  • Legume soups

  • Oatmeal made with rolled oats and plant/nut milk, and topped with berries and nuts

  • Salads topped with olive oil and lemon; hummus and pita

  • Tofu, rice and vegetable stir-fry

While macronutrient ranges vary according to physical activity levels, general guidelines have been established:

  • Carbohydrates: 50-65%

  • Fat: 20-35%

  • Protein: 10-35%

Choose whole foods. It can be easy to rely on foods that have been heavily processed to mimic meat- or dairy-based foods. Try to make healthier choices and avoid processed foods whenever possible. For example, a bean-based chip is a better choice than regular potato chips.

“Quality nutrition comes from sources closest to nature”.

Tips to sneak more veggies into your day

1. Add fruit and veggies to breakfast

2. Blend veggies into your smoothies

3. Make wraps with lettuce

4. Meal prep your veggies ahead of time

5. Think greens over grains!

6. Play around with different cooking methods

7. Partake in “Meatless Monday”

8. Puree your veggies

9. Spruce up your sandwich

10. Trade in veggie strands instead of pasta

11. Try a new recipe each week

Watch for part 2 in this series the week of March 21st as we explore the benefits of a Plant Based Diet.

Sarah Schenx – ACADEMY Coach


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